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Post colonial literature comes from Britain’s former colonies in Caribbean,
Africa and India. Many post colonial writers focus on common themes such as
independence, emigration, national identity, and so on. Thus the purpose of the
post colonial writers is to create awareness in the colonized minds that the
real freedom is yet to be achieved. The process of colonization affected every
aspect of indigenous life. The colonial powers have their trace on culture,
education, science, and technology etc which affected the identity of the
colonized. Western science, technology, and medicine completely changed the
existing knowledge systems of the natives.

During the period of European
imperialism following Columbus’s arrival in the New World, Colombia’s
indigenous tribes could offer little resistance to Spanish conquest. It
exploited the human and material resources of these areas, such as the large
concentration of silver and gold. For the most part, these tribes amalgamated
(intermarried and lived together in society) with their Spanish conquerors. These
long turmoil and disorders existed in Latin America gave rise to a literary
Latin boom from 1960 to 1967; the major works of the boom were published.  Gabriel García Márquez’s works have been often
been linked to the political scenario in his homeland in Colombia. Márquez’s
fiction centres on his concern with postcolonial histories and cultures are in chaoses
which are the result of corrupt governments.

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 “A Very Old Man with Enormous
Wings” is a short story written by him. It begins when with the angel being
found in the house of the main character, Pelayo. However
he was no ordinary Angel, according to the people around. It seems the
community already has a particular idea of what a conventional angel must look
but he does not fit into that category. He is described as being “dressed
like a rag picker” and his overall appearance is described in grotesque
manner. This description could be matched with the Natives of Columbia who were
oppressed under the Spanish government when Colombia was established as a
colony. When the European colonized other regions of the world, they
often described the natives in very animalistic and savage (as mentioned by
Joseph Conrad in “Heart of Darkness”). Looking
further, Angel is a symbol of the oppressed Colombians in many other ways as
well.

We can often see the characters struggle
to domesticate him. Which can be related to the white man’s burden. However, the
town itself, in the name of civilising the poor man by treated him badly and
brutally.

Father Gonzaga who is an
authoritative figure representing the Catholic Church. He is representative of
the religion which was imposed upon them. When the priest cannot establish a
rapport when speaking Latin to the old man, he asserts that the old man may
actually be a product of the devil.  The
power of English language as the language of the civilised and those who couldn’t
speak it weren’t even considered. We can see that the Father
feels it is his duty to help the old man, which is evident when Father Gonzaga
writes to the Vatican about the supposed angel, which can be
representative of the missionary zeal. Although a contrast to the Father is the
neighbor represents the traditional values and she is not willing to let it go. 
     

Another symbol can be
the chicken coop in side of which an apparent Angel is trapped until he gains
enough strength to leave. The Angel symbolizes the Colombian people while the
coop can perhaps represents how they were politically and economically
oppressed.

They also have a very the use of
magical realism in the story is a satiric technique to comment on what happens
when a nation, or in this case a town, welcomes the absurd. The story also
suggests that a past is ultimately necessary. But people don’t understand the
history of something unfamiliar to them; rather make their own history by
manipulation and speculation. This is similar to how the history is written. White
men enter another land and write their perspective and that is the way the
whole world views them. That history is often tainted with false images. For
example, no one waits for the old man to tell about himself rather spread
stories on their and not in a humanly way. The very old man is not given a name
to him for his identity, not taking his feeling into consideration but ascribe
names to him which are not very humanly. His unfamiliarity makes them uneasy. The
old man’s unfamiliarity also represents foreign entities approaching a
community, much like the leading powers in colonialism. Therefore, they have
multiple attempts to at least find a human quality in him is in order to
identify him. He is called ‘supernatural’ and ‘mythical’ which were terms often
associated with native folks.

“Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”
is another remarkable piece by Gabriel García Márquez’s which has elements of post
colonialism in them.  The beginning setting
is on a sea-shore, where the first children see the dark and slinky bulge approaching
through the sea which lets them to think it was an enemy ship. The colonizer
used the sea-routes to venture into other place, so it make sense to think it
is an enemy ship approaching which stresses the environment and the
vulnerability of the people that lived in the coastal part of Colombia faced.

The story throughout consists of many
speculations on the nature of the drowned man. At first, the villagers
contemplate possible histories and narratives for him. He is described as “he
the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever seen” which
is a typical description of white colonizer.

The drowned man would continue to be
an unknown entity with no attachment to a land, family, or past which is a
great concern for Márquez and the people of Latin America.

The people who lived before represent
the indigenous peoples. When the drowned man comes, they are complicit in
allowing him to change the way they live and furnish their homes, the homes
would incorporate the changes they implemented as a result of his visit. They
had to make accommodations for an unknown person.

The story ends with future passengers
being told to look in the direction of the village. This indicates that the
village will become a tourist spot and the people who lived before will not be
remembered; the only person remembered, in fact, will be the unknown man, which
makes the story a commentary on a disappearing story of the ingenious people
who lived there.

The stories show how at a time when
history is being revised and voices are being silenced. Although the old man
and the drowned man do not come as threats, they still threaten the established
communities, as the colonizer felt they had to be changed.  Through Márquez criticizes what happens when
people are indifferent to change while simultaneously expressing his thoughts
about power and the need to remember history and identities through their own
culture.

Marquez’s story ‘The Handsomest Man
Drowned in the World’ presents a bizarre incident which is accepted as true by
native cultures. Native cultures are quite often referred to as ‘feminine
spaces’. They are usually dominated by the culture is the Western with its
emphasis on rationality over Belief in superstitions, legends, myths are spoken
of the native culture which are knowledge of its own.

The
village was considered isolated before the handsome man came into the village.
Which was out of touch with the world. The
dead man who arrives in the village in Marquez’s ‘The Handsomest Man Drowned in
the World’, who does not even belong to the place, comes to change the present
conditions of the people. While it is forced change that is imposed on them, it
can be seen how the foreigner changes the entire village, creates chaos but at
the end changes the traditions of the land nevertheless, for the better or for
the worse.

Magic realism in Caribbean
literature is usually affected by the people’s struggle for political ideal. Magic
realism is often attributed to several factors, including the superstition of
Latin America’s indigenous populations. Garcia Marquez was influenced by his
maternal grandmother, a storyteller whose magical tales affected Garcia
Marquez’s style of writing. While magic and the supernatural are associated
with several native countries, it is often also dismissed by the occident
countries as they believe in logic and science. Marquez uses the same technique
to criticize and write back by using magic realism. They neither use the
magical events to showcase their culture nor do they use it to attack the
European attitude to life. The magical events exist because Latin American
culture exists. It is perhaps his way of conserving his culture, tradition and
history.

The aim of Garcia Marquez is to regain the lost identity. The
dilapidated history must be reconstructed. In
general, it seems that Garcia Marquez wants his readers, especially those who
are Columbian, to find a voice in the political chaos of the years since active
colonialism and create a new identity for Colombia and Latin America.

 

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