A couple of things really interest me about Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World. The use of imagery was striking, most likely because of the fact that none of the works up until this point have used it to this extent. Additionally, the fact that I was in the process of writing an essay about Rousseau at the same time that I was reading this essay made me realize some of the differences between unpacking a work of non-fiction and a work of fiction. I found myself trying to decipher and find some sort of symbolic order to the nature imagery in the text, while simultaneously reflecting on my own efforts to do so. The clip I posted about Kafka in my last blog post is mostly at the root of that: acknowledging one’s analytic tendencies as a function of cultural is not something I had ever thought of before. I mean, there is evidently some difference between Carpentier’s form of storytelling and what we might consider European fiction.
Towards the end of the novel it became clear to me that there was a case to be made for a reading of Carpentier’s imagery as deliberately distinct when different perspectives/worldviews are in focus. The way imagery is used when Pauline Bonaparte first sees the Plaine du Nord is drastically different from the imagery at the beginning of the novel when Macandal is central.
Beyond just the imagery though, how much should one try to make sense of magic and the fantastical? Should a reader try to make sense of that which is outside of the realm of reality and sense?