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The Invention Of The World Essay

1103 words - 5 pages

In The Invention of the World, Jack Hodgins invites us to consider an alternative dystopia in which fantasy and reality converge to create sense and constance in an otherwise chaotic existence. Unleashing an arsenal of characters in two parallel worlds, Hodgins attempts to uncover the mysteries of people, and he delves into the paradoxical genre of magic realism, a term coined by Franz Roh in 1925, to achieve this. Focussing on characterization, The Invention of the World offers sufficient surrealism to provide fictional entertainment, whilst cleverly grounding his mythical tale in a relatable reality inspired by history and realism. Specifically, Hodgins offers a lens into the lives of a ...view middle of the document...

The subject of Becker’s research, Donal Keneally, conforms to the genre of magic realism a little more conventionally. Tales of an Irish giant fathered by a “monstrous black bull with eyes that shone like red lanterns and a scrotum that hung like a sack of turnips...” (71), a man seemingly able to duplicate himself, “for Keneally with his usual capacity for not only learning all there was to teach, but also going on from there to every possible logical extreme, immediately turned himself into a pair of twins” (83), and a man apparently capable of pulling God out of his pocket and destroying Him, “For his last proof, he told them, he would command God to kill himself” (99), Becker’s narration of the tale presents a deviously magical character that flirts with comedic satire before being rescued into the hyperbolic genre of magic realism. Just as Becker fails, albeit on a lesser scale, Keneally’s reliance on the manipulation of others and the external pursuit of happiness driven by pride and an unyielding quest for almost Orwellian power, decays and degenerates to a point where he, ironically, symbolically, literally, and metaphorically, is left to dig his own grave.

In contrast to Keneally, and to a lesser extent Becker, Maggie Kyle and Wade Powers present a more successful journey towards contentment. Shrouded in chaos, Maggie has architected a life of discomfort. Triangulated by the dysfunctional characters around her, the chaotic aesthetic of her furniture, “Visitors were shocked by the chaos now, they backed out again thinking they’d stumbled into a storage room she would rather have kept hidden from them. But only if they didn’t know Maggie Kyle. She liked it that way, especially the confusion of mismatched auction-sale furniture and the random styles of collected things” (43), and a home saturated in mystery, myth and, once again, chaos, Maggie, paradoxically, discovers comfort in disorder. Perhaps her subconscious gravitates towards commotion to elevate her identity, synthetically appeasing a fragility born from a turbulent upbringing. Proving insufficient to ease her soul, Maggie seeks constance at a retreat, “If I was rich, or American, I guess I’d be hauling myself off to a psychiatrist, or jumping into a pool full of naked people. Or if I was European I could go...

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