“The Pleas of the Desperate”: Collective Agency Versus Magical Realism in Ana Castillo’s So Far From God

Marta Caminero-Santangelo, University of Kansas
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring 2005), 81-103

This essay offers an alternative look at the combination of politics and magical realism in Ana Castillo’s So Far From God. The essay examines Castillo’s environmental themes and scenes without any magical realism as being central to the political tone of the work. Through this analysis, the article notes that Castillo’s novel is also concerned with threats to active resistance. The essay argues that these threats are marked by moments of magic and questions whether So Far From God fits into the category of magical realism at all. The link between a political agenda and magical realism should be given more notice in criticism of Castillo’s work, so that she is not viewed, like other Latino/a authors, as automatically writing magical realism simply because of her heritage. In fact, the article argues that Castillo is writing a magical realist parody; she is using magical realism to demonstrate the distinction between real-world problems and conditions, conditions that inspire collective agency, and the type of magical spontaneity that causes passivity in characters.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]