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“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”

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Presentation on theme: "“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2 Objectives For what literary style is Gabriel Garcia Marquez famous?
What does the title character in the story represent? How does Esteban transform the village?

3 Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Considered one of Columbia’s foremost writers Began his writing career as a journalist and published his first two novels in 1961 He was friends with Fidel Castro and founded the Colombian branch of Castro’s new agency He was known for writing works that angered his government He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982

4 Magic Realismrealism A literary movement in which strange things exist in an otherwise normal world- and no one treats them as strange. A literary style in which unusual or magical happenings are related to the reader as though they were ordinary. It is NOT science fiction or fantasy Pat Murphy states, “In science fiction, if everyone is walking around with a talking monkey on his head, you need an explanation for it. In magic realism, everyone acts as if the monkeys have always been there.”

5 Plot Children find a dead body of a drowned man washed up on the beach of their isolated, tiny seaside community. The corpse begins to change the world of the villagers. They name the corpse Esteban after the first Christian martyr. The villagers prepare an elaborate funeral for him and then put him back in the water. Before they put him back, they choose the best villagers to serve as family- his mother, father, and other relatives The village learns important lessons from Esteban

6 Irony Marquez narrates the story in a matter-of-fact way- it encourages us to take it seriously The strange is treated as normal, but there is also a strong undertone of irony- a sense that the story’s events are a bit absurd Even though he is an ordinary dead man, the villagers treat him as extraordinary.

7 Themes The irony of the unidentified corpse becoming something like a god draws our attention to the story’s main themes- Mankind’s deep desire to believe in something greater, and our impressive capacity for faith. Humans are so eager to believe in and to make sense of things that they can find meaning in the nameless corpse.

8 Symbolism Esteban- a symbol of the god or gods of any religion
He has the power to transform the lives of the people in the village He unites the village He gives them meaning and a sense of purpose

9 Allusion The religious allusion that a drowned man is like a god or saint Sir Walter Raleigh- would have been exotic to the villagers Homer’s Odyssey- a rumored sailor “has himself tied to the mainmast, remembering ancient fables about sirens” Heightens the irony- he is merely an unknown dead person, yet the villagers worship him

10 Setting Not a definite time- although hints at the 16th or 17th century, possibly on the coast of Chile It is also possible, especially given the story’s magic realism, that the setting is actually more modern- a backwater village lost in time and in no particular place

11 Parable This story is meant to be a parable- a short instructive story that illustrates a lesson Parables often teach simple morals This story expresses more complicated truths about our world

12 Truth is Subjective Truth is in the mind of the believer
Esteban is dead, so the people are free to decide who he was They decide he was saintly Since he is unknown, the villagers get to decide who he was- it unites them and gives the purpose At the end, Esteban’s story becomes and accepted truth

13 Meaning Can Transform the World
People need meaning in their lives as much as plants need water The villagers live on the edge of a desert, which is a symbol for the lack of meaning in their lives They live a life of simple survival, without ambition During Esteban’s funeral, they realize how empty their lives have been The people beautify their village so much so that it becomes famous

14 Conclusion Gabriel García Marquez is a Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novel and short story writer who is considered a leading writer of magical realism. “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” is a parable about humankind’s need for meaning and belief, and the ability of ideas to transform the world. One of the story’s major themes is that truth is subjective. It does not matter if Esteban really was a sincere and noble man as the people believe—or even if he is actually beautiful—because their faith in him, their truth, is what matters.

15 Esteban is a symbol of the god or gods of any religion, and also of any compelling belief that
has the power to transform society. The transformation in the story is caused by a coincidence—the body washing up on the shore—a reminder that the world changes in unpredictable ways.

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