I’ll take a McOndo meal, supresized

Posted by: | April 17, 2010 | Comments Off on I’ll take a McOndo meal, supresized

What the hell is this? I thought this was a course devoted to magical realism, the so-called “definitive” form of the Latin American novel. Clearly I was mistaken, as McOndo forgot the magical part of the order. It’s ok though, the literary chow is still satisfying, I won’t yell at them for airballing my order.

McOndo’s flavour is distinctly realist, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not hard to picture yourself actually experiencing the events and situations presented in the novel. Really, the stories told in McOndo could happen to anyone, anywhere and there’s absolutely no sense of disconnect, or difference between Latin American and North American society. Do I like that fact? Sort of.

I understand that McOndo is a movement that was born as a somewhat “frustrated” response to the type casting of Latin American authors after the Boom. The idea of being pigeon holed into a certain genre or writing style simply based on your geographic heritage is absolutely absurd. Latin America is a fascinating place with a rich cultural heritage. The rise of magical realism helped to illustrate that fact and bolster interest in Latin America, its countries and its cultures. However, magical realism is exactly that, it’s a magical morphing of reality, a way of exoticizing the reality of life in Latin America. In that sense, magical realism created a strong sense of disconnect for readers, and created an unrealistic image of Latin America. In the end, I feel as though the works collected in McOndo close the gap that was created by the rise of magical realism and illustrates that the vast majority of societal issues shared by every person in the world. As such, in terms of societal issues, there is no significant disconnect between Latin America, and the rest of the world (North Korean might be an exception).

That being said, however, I didn’t particularly enjoy McOndo after spending an entire term being tantalized by magical realism. As I read, I constantly felt like I was being cheated, like something was missing. There just wasn’t enough magic in my relationship with McOndo for me to form the save kind of love affair I did with Cien años or El reino. I want a divorce.

Cien años III

Posted by: | April 17, 2010 | Comments Off on Cien años III

Well, what a nice little twist of serendipity. I was almost certain that I should simply chalk the blog posts I failed to finish as missed opportunities. Thankfully, I now have the chance to give a piece of my mind some literature once again.

I’d be lying if I said my memory of the 3rd chunk of Cien años was perfect. The reality is, it feels like an eternity has passed since I read that section. However, now that I’ve had time to sit back and reflect on the book for a while, I get the unique opportunity to make some commentary on the third section of the book, and how I feel it ties into the overall scheme of the novel.

I could choose to focus on providing my thoughts and analysis of numerous distinct parts of the third reading, but I think it’s a more useful exercise to provide some of my personal commentary and insight on one component of reading that struck me as being particularly interesting. It is a well established fact that one of the most important components of Cien años is its cast of characters. The characters are integral to Cien años success as a novel, and their interweaving stories are the threads that weave the fabric of the novel. With that being said, I found that one character in particular was of interest in the third section of the novel — Ursula. Urusula is the matriarch of the Buendía family, and in many ways, is the glue that seems to keep the family from falling apart. She is selfless, and always puts the interests of the family members ahead of her own; she is also very solitary. When skimming through the third section of the novel again, I noticed a made a note on one of the pages that I found particularly interesting. Ursula is getting very old and going blind, and feels very lonely due to the “changes” that have taken place in the Buendia household. The note I made on on the page simply says “Ursula is 100 years of solitude.” The solitary and lonely lifetime that she has spent as a member of the Buendia family is the personification of the book’s title. Although Ursula is important in this respect, she is also symbolic of the passing of time, and it’s somewhat cyclical nature at times — one of the important pieces of commentary that I feel GGM tried to portray in his novel. I’m not going to pretend that this observation is some sort of profound realization that has never occurred to other readers of the novel.

Anyway, I’m going to stop rambling for now.


Posted by: | April 17, 2010 | Comments Off on Reflectionsitos

First I was afraid, I was petrified
I thought how could I ever read this much and I stay alive
But I spent so many nights looking up so many words
and I survived hey hey…

…I just finished analyzing that song for my ear training class so it is infiltrating everything I do at the moment.
What I liked most about 365 is that we covered the whole curve of the boom from Asturias to McOndo. I got to see how magical realism evolved form a seed to a flower to a ball and chain. It put L.A. literature on the map and then it became a tourist trap, a kind of theme park. I can see the frustration that writers outside of the genre must have felt and are still feeling today.
The book I enjoyed most was Leyendas de Guatemala. Asturias’ language was unlike anything I had previously encounterd. It drips with the sweet nectar of life. His descriptons of nature come close to what I’ve experience hiking and trail walking here on the west coast. Watching Avatar while reading the book made me think of how James Cameron could have very well read Leyendas and been influenced by its images and myths. In the same way that Cameron lacks authenticity when he tries to represent the experience of an indigenous people, Asturias too sacrifices accuracy for sensationalism, but the effects of both of their art is mesmerizing.
I struggled with Cien an~os de soledad. After a valient effort to read it in Spanish, I gave up and finished it in English. In my Spanish attempt, I got lost in the details and had a hard time extracting the themes and point of all the Buendia and Macondo drama. I look forward to reading it again in Spanish because the enchanted aura of the book is lost in the translation. What I liked especially about the book is how the theme of solitude manifests in different ways in each character (Aureliano Buendia especially, -It reminded me of the Vietnam war book “Johnny got his gun” in how the effects of PTSD numbed both protagonists). I appreciate the book for its scale and complexity, but as a book to read while balancing too many credits, it became a frustrating chore more than an enlightening glimpse at the hottest flash of the boom.

I like how we spent so much of class time doing group work. As well as getting to know the class more so than in other lecture-based classes, I felt like we were a large book club that met three times a week to figure out what the bleep was happening in these books. I enjoyed hearing how many different takes people had on the material. We can never know for sure what the author means in his/her work and I got a lot out of hearing the range of interpretations we all had.
I’m inspired to read more by the authors we covered. A little Marquez or Asturias on Spanish Banks will be happening this summer for sure.

Cien años en la eternidad

Posted by: | April 17, 2010 | Comments Off on Cien años en la eternidad

Por fin, después de semanas y semanas pasadas a posponer, llego a escribir mis últimas impresiones sobre la novela de Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Más que novela, Cien años de soledad, me pareció una tragedia, pero no una tragedia épica como las griegas.. me pareció una tragedia cotidiana, a pasar de todo lo mágico que hay, fue para mi una tragedia de vida común.

En un vórtice de incestos, de nombres repetidos, de invenciones inconcebibles, y mucho otro, Cien años de soledad nos devela la historia de Macondo, de su fundación hasta su fin. En la segunda mitad del libro la historia se hace más personal, o sea, desarrolla más a los personajes así que el lector pueda conocerlos un poco mejor y sentirse parte de esta grande familia.
Las invenciones de los gitanos me dan a impresión de ser el contacto con el resto del mundo, que pero no es el mundo que conocemos nosotros lectores. Al principio pensé que Macondo era un lugar fuera del común en un mundo “normal”; leyendo más y más mi idea cambió casi completamente. O sea, Macondo es sin duda un lugar especial, pero está en un mundo también especial.. Es verdad que llega la burocracia y el gobierno y las reglas y todas estas cosas que nos recuerdan el mundo en que vivemos aquí, fuera del libro, pero es siempre de este mundo que llegan los gitanos con sus invenciónes. Entonces quizás Macondo es parte de un mundo que es todo un poco particular, como lo es Sudamérica.
Los nombres repetidos, para contestar al comentario de Jon a mi último blog, dan la idea de la historia que se repite, de un círculo del cual no se puede escapar. Muchos personajes tienen el mismo nombre por que por tradición a un niño se le pone el nombre del papá o del abuelo, estos personajes, al pasar del tiempo, tienen experiencias similares también. Del contacto con los gitanos, al amor incestuoso, de la intención a defender y preservar Macondo, a la gana de explorar lo que hay fuera de Macondo.. Todos tienen algo en commún.
Los continuos incestos a través de los cuales la población de Macondo sobrevive y crece me recuerdan mucho la religión católica. Si como dice la Biblia, el genero humano empezó con Adán y Eva, todos somos frutos de incestos originalmente, y entonces tenimos todos la suerte de nacer sin cola de cerdo. Siendo Macondo un pueblo no muy grande pero sí muy aislado, es claro que a cierto punto de la historia, todos van a ser parte de alguna manera de la misma familia. La guerra civil y el genocidio tampoco ayudan: menos gente hay, más grande la posibilidad de tener relaciones incestuosas.
El final del libro me surprendió un poco, aunque no tanto como probablemente esperaba hacer. Mi prima reacción fue pensar en mi libro favorito de cuando era niña: La historia interminable de Micheal Ende. Aureliano Segundo leía su propia historia, llegando al final solo unos segundos antes de la realidad, así como Bastián leía de Fantasia y de sí mismo quien leía La historia interminable. Estos tipos de cuentos me dan la impresión de eternidad; de ahí el título de este post. Hay un final cerrado, que pero también es abierto. Quiero decir, hay alguien quien lee un libro, dentro del libro que estamos leyendo, así que nos confunde, a veces no distinguimos la realidad del libro y quizás de la nuestra realidad. Claro que el libro Cien años de soledad tenía que terminar, para ser fiel a su título, y después de cien años de historia de Macondo se acaba el libro, se mueren todos, cien años son pasados y Macondo ya no está.

Ultimos Pensamientos

Posted by: | April 16, 2010 | Comments Off on Ultimos Pensamientos

No puedo creer que otro semestre ya ha terminado….Me disfrutaba mucho en esta clase y fue realmente “chill”- un elemento que faltan todas de mis otras clases!! Buenooooo…algunos pensamientos:

Hemos leído tantos libros sobre el realismo mágico y ahora puedo decir que tengo una mejor entendimiento de este género. Antes de este curso, siempre pensaba que el realismo mágico es solamente un estilo de escritura que es más divertir para el lector. Pero ahora entiendo que el realismo mágico es un género muy distinto que tiene un poder significativo en transmitir información sobre un país y su gente.

Otra cosa que aprendí es el arte de analizar libros que partenecen a este género ! Yo se que esto da una impresión “Cheesy” pero es la verdad! Después de leer las leyendas de Guatemala, pensaba que analizar este estilo es muy difícil, pero después de tantas discusiones en la clase me sentí mucho más fácil. Así entonces, como hicimos más lecturas cada semana, me sentí más acostumbrados a este estilo y también conseguí una mejor comprensión del mensaje de cada obra.

Mi libro favorito entre todos fue El reino de este mundo. En mi opinión esta obra contiene mucho contenido político que me hizo pensar en los libros de historia que he leido. El estilo de narración en si misma me fascinaba porque transmite más claramente, los pensamientos de los caracteres en comparación con otras obras. Como ejemplo, hemos dicho en clase que el esclavo tiene sus propios pensamientos pero sabe también los pensamientos de su amo. De esta manera, como lector me sentí mucho más inmerso en el cuento. [Puede ser también que El reino es el libro más corto!] Me hubiera gustado pasar más tiempo en analizar los aspectos políticos de este libro y cómo la ideología que representa, todavía existe en muchas sociedades de este mundo. Pero entiendo que no podemas pasar mucho tiempo para analizar una sola obra.

Un momento muy interesante para mi fue cuando alguien por el nombre de “wikichasqui” me acuso de vandalismo sobre el proyecto de wikipedia!!! Pero despues de hacer el trabajo tengo una nueva apreciacion por Wikipedia por lo general! Fue divertido hacer las discusiones sobre la pagina con gente de paises diferentes y hacer el trabajo con un grupo.

En general, esta clase fue muy informativa sobre el sujeto y tambien muy divertida … Estoy realmente feliz de haber tomado este curso 🙂

Gracias y Adiooooos

“i can’t get my comments function working on this, if you are so inclined please email them to…”

Posted by: | April 16, 2010 | Comments Off on “i can’t get my comments function working on this, if you are so inclined please email them to…”

“i can’t get my comments function working on this, if you are so inclined please email them to josephine.mitchell@gmail.com and I can post them on the blog. sorry bout that.”


And the wrapping up…

Posted by: | April 16, 2010 | Comments Off on And the wrapping up…

I really enjoyed the structure of this course- the blogs, the wikipedia project, the reading list (that was pretty outstanding)- all fine holiday fun! But I still have to say, for the amount of stuff we went over or tried to go over, we needed way more time. We did NOT have enough time to read Cien Años for example and I still have so many questions about modern Latin American literature my head is spinning. And I know this complaint is perhaps more aimed at the structure of the university classes as a whole, but there was something about this specific class where I didn’t feel as satisfied with what I was learning as I have with other Literature classes within the Spanish department.

I feel like the course started out with a lot of ambition and a great lesson plan, (I was so excited the first day!) but in the end it just didn’t deliver for me. Organization kinda went awry for one. Why didn’t we discuss more of McOndo? Why we didn’t use the last week of classes to make up the two classes we missed during Cien Años is way beyond me?

Perhaps it was class time? That always felt rushed and I think us students had a lot more to say than we were given time for. That’s why we had the blogs I understand, but there’s something about face to face debate and direct discussion that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in second language (for the majority of us, second language) course.

Perhaps it’s that I’m really intrigued by the subject matter and any course confined to a semester would be too little for me? I can’t really say.

But my final conclusion for the course is that it started out with a lot of ambition and a good structure but in the end it just didn’t deliver for me. There just wasn’t the zeal in the class that I had expected from the syllabus.

Reading others’ complaints I realize I must seem really harsh by saying this. It’s true, compared to other Spanish courses I’ve taken in the department, this course wasn’t terrible, it was good actually, but I expected it to be awesome and it wasn’t that exactly. I also realize, as unreasonable as I know it is, what I really want out of Spanish courses at UBC is an another immersion experience. Or at least an experience where I can see how the world changes and opens up to me when I speak a different language. It makes me wonder, because I know the majority of Spanish majors learned their Spanish abroad, how many of us students allow their Spanish courses to be sub-par because they’re not in a Spanish speaking country? Is the department just there to keep us practicing or do we take these classes to really question and investigate the Spanish language, its literature and its culture? 

The Enemy Within

Posted by: | April 15, 2010 | Comments Off on The Enemy Within

Producer/Media Contact: Pam Bentley C: 778-386-1912 E: pjbentley63@yahoo.ca

a presentation of LIVE music and film:
a collaboration between
composer/performer Jeff Caron
and filmmaker Tara Flynn
at the UBC Recital Hall
April 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Admission is free

(Vancouver, BC) The Enemy Within is to be performed for the first time on April 17, 2010. The presentation at the UBC Recital Hall combines original music played live with the screening of a film specifically made to accompany that music.

Although this pairing harkens back to the time when silent film was accompanied by live musical accompaniment, its genesis reversed this process and began when Jeff Caron asked Tara Flynn, friend and 2009 graduate of the Capilano University documentary filmmaking program, to make a film to accompany his semester-end performance as a UBC music student. The 20-minute film explores the idea that any act of creativity, like those of Caron’s compositions, and Flynn’s filmmaking, forms connections between those involved and those who are watching.
Jeff Caron describes the five piece musical composition as a “gamut of styles ranging from contemporary classical to ambient-techno to pure hard rock. The emphasis is on texture and mood – supported by the use of extreme dynamics, irregular meter changes, and various small ensemble configurations from solo to trio, and beyond …”
Flynn’s film is rooted in her East Vancouver neighbourhood, with familiar locations, and the daily crow crossing as a motif. The protagonist, played by Daryle Delisle, attempts to use his music to connect with other city-dwellers who are seemingly unaware of him and everyone and everything around them. They anesthetize themselves against human contact with their technological gadgets in an urban landscape riddled with surveillance cameras. Our protagonist, startled by his own despairing and even violent reaction to this isolation, finds a way to communicate his love for music and the world even when he feels surrounded by security cameras and technological zombies.

Daryle Delisle, “The Nomadic Actor,” was in Vancouver from Ottawa and was presented was this opportunity to play the lead in The Enemy Within. “I am very fortunate to have been part of this East Vancouver family for a while, to create such a wonderful film to compliment such exciting music,” says Delisle.
The Enemy Within is conceptualized by Jeff Caron and Tara Flynn, written and produced by Pam Bentley and Tara Flynn, and directed and edited by Tara Flynn. Assistant Director is Warren Dean Fulton. Musicians Nando Polesel (drums) and Peter Serravalle (bass) join Jeff Caron (guitar) on stage.

Course Reflection

Posted by: | April 14, 2010 | Comments Off on Course Reflection

I’m glad I took this class because my other spanish literature class was hell. This class had interesting reading material and when we connected it with magical realism it gave the stories another way of analyzing them. I think in general we had enough time to read each of the books, except I felt that cien anos de soledad was rushed a bit. I wish we had more time to analyze other parts of the story for example, the role of women and sexuality would have been really interesting. The blogs helped alot because I could see what other students thoughts were and that helped me understand other points. Class discussions were great and I liked the board writing parts haha. Each class was different and not boring, thank god, unlike my other spanish lit class. Indirectly Jon had a the perfect way of forcing the students to read which I liked because if it weren’t for the blogs I would not have read anything. I really enjoyed Cien Anos de Soledad and am looking forward to writing my essay on it.


Posted by: | April 14, 2010 | Comments Off on McOndo

I thought these stories were really great because it is a perspective that in theory is said to reject the genre we have spent the whole term learning about “magical realism”. Having a glance at the other side creates a broader understanding and I find to be very insightful and helpful in having an open mind to what are the intents of the stories.

McOndo and its collection of stories is one that I think the modern world and my generation can relate to it much easier than the stories of Asturias, Carpentier and Garcia Marquez. Being born and raised in North America, the relationship between the United State and the Latin world in McOndo is not just something I try to understand,like in “el reino de este mundo” where I tried to put myself in that time and place. For the global relations in McOndo, I’m part of the modernized world and can view myself as a primary source. I think this aspect is perhaps the most important for me in understanding McOndo. I’m not so much an outsider. Cities play an important role. They are the central metropolises of the mass culture, the nucleus of the global interaction. Unlike the other stories with rural settings. McOndo imposes the urban setting at the the heart of culture and the technologies that identify the culture. Another element in the stories are of graphic sexual encounters. This for some reason reminded me of “Cien anos de soledad”, maybe because of all the sexual relations in the novel. Non the less I began looking at the similarities verses the differences between the two works. This might have been the opposite of what we were supposed to do but non the less. The violence and sex are themes not dismissed in McOndo nor however in Macondo. I began to view McOndo not quite as a rejection of Macondo…but perhaps a continuation. Which rejects the idea of Marquez, Latin America’s lack in progression. McOndo is part of the evolucion of Latin America. It is a switch from a culture highlighting magical realism to a culture where the magic is something understandable and tangible, not fanatical but something very real and very normal.

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