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International Writing in Schools Workshop 3: Magical Realism Stephen Morton

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1 International Writing in Schools Workshop 3: Magical Realism Stephen Morton

2 Aims and Objectives To briefly recap what to do on your first placement To look at two examples of magical realism in international writing by two major writers To write a short piece of imaginative writing in a magical realist style

3 What are you going to do on your first placement? Dress in an appropriate way. Bring your CRB form. Exchange contact details with the teacher (mobile and email address). Start by observing classroom management, lesson structure, student ability, behaviour management, etc. Reflect on this in your journals. Be polite and proactive: suggest ways that you can support the teacher (don’t present yourself as another problem); but remember they are in charge. Come with a draft outline plan of ideas for the coming weeks (including a combination of classroom support and learning activities), but be prepared to revise this. Negotiate what you’re going to do with the teacher and once you have agreed a programme of work, write up a schedule of what you’ve agreed and suggest that you can bring in more detailed lesson plans for future weeks.

4 What to look for during classroom observation How is the time managed? What kinds of activities are used? What kinds of resources are available? How does the teacher manage disruptive behaviour? (Notice phrases, positive reinforcement, body language, etc.)

5 Magic in Literature The light was so grey and weak at noon that when Pelayo was coming back to the house after throwing away the crabs, it was hard for him to see what it was that was moving and groaning in the rear of the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn’t get up, impeded by his enormous wings. (Marquez p. 203)

6 What is Magical Realism? A term introduced in the 1940s referring to narrative art that presents extraordinary occurrences as an ordinary part of everyday life, but has since become associated with the writing of Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Salman Rushdie. In the work of these writers, ordinary events are sometimes given extraordinary explanations.

7 Context of Gabriel Garcia Marquez Along with Alejo Carpentier (Cuba) and Salman Rushdie (India), Marquez is one of the leading writers of a style of imaginative writing known as magical realism ‘A Very Old Man’ set in a rural village in Columbia and concerns the responses of the villagers to the arrival of an angel An example of a magical realist narrative that blends elements of the ordinary with the extraordinary

8 Activity One Find four sentences that illustrate the following ideas: The location of the story, and what life is like in that location Elements of magic and the supernatural Significant details about the old man How the villagers treat the angel

9 How does the angel feel about the way the villagers treat him? How do we know? He awoke with a start, ranting in his hermetic language and with tears in his eyes, and he flapped his wings a couple of times, which brought on a whirlwind of chicken dung and lunar dust and a gale of panic that did not seem to be of this world. Although many thought that his reaction had been not one of rage but of pain, from then on they were careful not to annoy him, because the majority understood that his passivity was not that of a hero taking his ease but that of a cataclysm in repose.

10 Useful definitions Hermetic: protected from outside influences Cataclysm: a disaster or catastrophe

11 Creative Writing Activity Write a paragraph from the point of view of the old man; this paragraph should address how the old man feels about being an angel, about the way in which the villagers look at him and treat him, and what he thinks about this.

12 Salman Rushdie ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ ‘He’s got his head stuck in the air and his feet off the ground. What are all these stories? Life is not a storybook or a joke shop. All this fun will come to no good. What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?’ (Mr Sengupta in ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’)

13 Context of Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories Written after Rushdie has a death sentence placed on his head by the Ayotollah Khomeini in 1989 for the publication of The Satanic Verses, and Rushdie goes into hiding Concerned with Haroun’s attempt to release the oceans of the streams of story that have been blocked by Khattam Shud (a Hindi word meaning finished/ over and done with) Shows that storytelling has an important role to play in contesting abuses of power by corrupt authority figure, and to imagine alternative worlds to the existing one

14 Activity 2 Re-read the extract and identify 3 examples of the following: The political use of stories A magical explanation for a real-world event A P2C2E

15 Conclusion Write a long paragraph (maximum one page) about an ordinary event, but describe that event in an extraordinary or magical way. You may borrow images and words from the Marquez or Rushdie texts, but the ideas should be your own.

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