Magic Realism in Haroun and the Sea of Stories Short Summary

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What is Magic Realism? The definition for magic realism can be explained as fantasy combined with realism: a style of art or literature that depicts fantastic or mythological subjects in a realistic manner. “Magic realism–the capacity to enrich our idea of what is ‘real’ by incorporating all dimensions of the imagination, particularly as expressed in magic, myth and religion. ” (Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia)

Examples of Magic Realism Invisible Tap Rashid tells Haroun where he receives the source of his stories—the Invisible Tap—installed by a Water Genie. I drink the warm story waters and I feel full of steam. It comes out of an invisible Tap installed by one of the Water Genies”(Rashid,17)

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The magic realism here is the tap itself appearing to be a normal or real object, but actually it dispenses Story Waters, where Rashid receives stories that made him the infamous “Ocean of Notions”.

Twilight Strip and Chattergy’s Wall Iff the Water Genie and Butt the Hoopoe explain to Haroun the location of the Twilight Strip “As a result the Land of Gup is bathed in endless Sunshine, while over in Chup it’s always the middle of the night. In between the two lies the Twilight Strip, in which the Guppees long ago constructed an unbreakable (and also invisible) Wall of Force. ”(Butt the Hoopoe, 80)

The Twilight Strip is what separates the darkness—from the land of Chup—from the endless light— from the land of Gup. The magic realism shown is that Chattergy’s Wall and the Twilight Strip are both barriers, but cannot be seen because they are invisible, like the equator for example. The Ocean of the Stream of Story [pic]Haroun is depressed about his father losing his subscription of Story Water, and his mother leaving.

Iff the Water Genie tells Haroun about the Ocean of the Stream of Story, and the Ocean’s magic begins to cheer him up. ” He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity…”( Rushdie, 71-72).

This is a good example of magic realism. The Ocean itself is a real thing, and actually exists, but instead of regular water you would find in an ocean, there are thousands of multi-coloured currents. Not only are the colourful currents of the Streams of Story dazzling to the eye, but they serve another purpose —each coloured strand represented and contained a single story. Moody Lake Within the story, the dull Lake wasn’t as dull as it sounded.

The people are around or on the lake at the time; their emotions would have affect on what the weather conditions would be. Haroun makes a remark on realizing it was very close to a story that his father, Rashid Khalifa would tell on his voyages. The Moody Lake. “It’s not in the least Dull, this lake, exclaimed Haroun. ‘ In fact, it’s positively temperamental! (Haroun, 47)  Haroun immediately realizes this theory every time Mr. Buttoo on the Arabian Nights Plus One was to go in outrage the weather would change.

A strong aspect in the story that showed Magic Realism was the shadows. During the capture of Mudra, Mudra explains that Khattum-Shud, ruler of the Chupwalas can be in two places at once. Haroun and his gang lean that the shadow can be detached from a person allowing the shadow to have a mind of his own and freely do what it wants. “He goes about in the darkness, entirely shadowless, and his shadow goes wherever it wishes”. Haroun, 133)

This gave a strong shock on knowing this because taking the normal shadow can now be customized to be another being. Hoopoe One of the first characters showed during the journey to Gup City showed different magical aspects, Hoopoe. Hoopoe was basically a giant bird used as a transportation vehicle for Haroun and Iff, the water genie to get to their destination. Haroun soon learns that this magical being accelerates at a rapid speed that no bird can ever do and soon finds out that this bird is a machine. “But, but, but, you have entrusted your life to me. Then am I not worthy of a little of your respect? Machines also have their sense of Self-esteem”. (Hoopoe, 66)

Hoopoe reveals that he is a machine. The magical realism to Hoopoe is that although his outer appearance as a bird shows nothing of him being a machine, later on the story he gets his brain removed and placed back in.  “The surface of Kahani appeared- as far as Haroun’s eyes could see- to be entirely liquid. And what water it was! It shone with colours everywhere, colours in a brilliant riot, colours such as Haroun could never have imagined. And it was evidently a warm ocean; Haroun could see steam rising off it, steam that glowed in the sunlight. He caught his breath. ” (Rushdie 68).

Kahani is a great example of magic realism. The moon itself we know exists and it is a true thing, but what we are given in Haroun and The Sea of Stories has lots of magic. Almost the whole moon is covered in water. This water is “Story Water” it’s colourful and if you don’t know why this is magic well, on our real moon, there is no water at all nothing lives on it like the people that live on Kahani. Even more reason this moon is magic is that it moves so fast people on earth can’t see it; meanwhile ours takes 24 hrs to orbit around Earth.

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Magic Realism in Haroun and the Sea of Stories Short Summary. (2018, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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