In many literary works, the mundane tasks of one’s everyday life often provide an author with blank pages, which these tasks shall be recorded. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story, “Dialogue With A Mirror”, uses this technique as a basis for his narrative, which chronologically follows the main character through his morning routine. In Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative, Manfred Jahn explains the levels of communication in a narrative in the following diagram:
(Manfred Jahn N2.3.1)
From this chart, we learn that the author reaches out to his or her reader through the messages conveyed in his or her narrative. Often times, the narrator, created by the author, will voice opinions, thoughts, or ideas to a specific audience, whether it be an imaginative one or direct addressee. The narrator, then reveals a character’s or characters’ personal thoughts, ideas, emotions, or actions in a direct relation to another character. Jahn further stresses that a character is not “a real-life person but only a “paper being” (Barthes 1975 [1966]), a being created by an author and existing only within a fictional text, either on the level of action or on the level of fictional mediation” (Jahn N2.3.4). Although Garcia Marquez’s text would follow these parameters, he creates a narrator who accounts the story of such a relatable character that readers cannot help but remember a time that they too had struggled to get out of bed or perhaps spent a few seconds making faces at their own reflection. The narration follows the routine of a man who struggles to get through his morning routine and get to work on time, while also trying to recall a word to describe Mabel’s store. As the story comes to an end, the narrator discloses a final moment of relatable everyday triumph, in which the man pauses to celebrate his daily achievement of assessing that “Mabel’s store is a Pandora’s Box” (Garcia Marquez 49).

The People Of Paper by Salvador Plascencia is a narrative told through several distinct points of view, all of which are homodiegetic narrators, with the exception of a heterodiegetic narrator who narrates the prologue. Manfred Jahn explains a homodiegetic narrative as “the story is told by a (homodiegetic) narrator who is also one of story’s acting characters” and a heterodiegetic narrative as “the story is told by a (heterodiegetic) narrator who is not present as a character in the story” (Jahn N1.10). In essence, the homodiegetic narrator is present during the events of the narrative and is also an active participant in them. A heterodiegetic narrator, however, is not present during the events of the narrative but instead only recounts the events in respect to characters who are actively present during the events. The first narrator is Saturn, who is often referred to by other characters, and exhibits a few heterodiegetic traits but is also a homodiegetic narrator. Although Saturn is an external force that can possibly be an enigma, it is often the target of other characters’ angst, rage, and fury. Saturn, though not completely present often narrates what situation a character or characters are currently in. Similarly, these characters embodies characters of homodiegetic narrators. For example, several characters including Little Merced, Merced del Papel, and Froggy often narrate their own experiences. Often times, since such characters narrate their own experiences, readers are able to get a better understanding of who these characters are and how they are able to articulate the same events according to their own individual perceptions.

Magical realism can be thought of as narratives or other works which though they are derived from reality, have magical or supernatural elements. Narratives, which are based in the real world, but also where the impossible is practical can also be thought of as magical realism. With this in mind, one is able to relate this idea to Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper. There are several distinct matters that make this narrative magical realism. For instance, the character of Merced del Papel is made entirely of paper. Little Merced describes her encounter with Merced del Papel, where she:

 “sat down next to a woman who was made of paper. She said nothing was left of her people, except for her and her creator. And she had left him passed out in an old factory with thousands of paper cuts on his hands”. (Salvador Plascencia 25)

Despite this Merced del Papel’s existence being unreasonable in a real world, in this context, it is perfectly acceptable. Like Merced del Papel, the role of Saturn is also evidence of magical realism. Saturn, which often serves as a homodiegetic narrator, is an entity that often establishes the framework and setting for the next scene of the text. Since there is no evidence of Saturn being a human or even made of paper, it is possible that Saturn is an external force. Even if perceived as a phantom, Saturn is frequently the target of numerous characters’ rage, anger, and bitterness that they’d otherwise channel towards a physical being.

In both of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short stories, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” and “The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother, Garcia Marquez uses the idea of “the noise” to convey two distinct ideas. In “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”, it is revealed that the man with wings couldn’t sleep because “the noise of the stars disturbed him” (Garcia Marquez 220). In this instance, the narrator reveals that an unlikely characteristic of the otherwise silent stars was the reason that the man with wings did not sleep. To other characters and spectators, this idea might have seemed absurd, but it was the reality of the man with wings. Similarly, in “The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother”, Erendira’s grandmother says:

“‘Take advantage of tomorrow to wash the living room rug too,’ she told Erendira. ‘It hasn’t seen the sun since the days of all the noise’” (Garcia Marquez 287).


Although this instance may just be a reference to the days of Erendira’s parents, it is possible that Erendira’s grandmother knows the story of the man with wings. Since it was normal for her to recount stories while she often slept, it is possible that this instance was a slip up into her conscious reality.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “There Are No Thieves In This Town” uses dialogism or “the effect created when a text contains a diversity of authorial, narratorial, and characterial voices creating significant contrasts and tensions” (Jahn N3.1.9) in order to provide readers with two distinct characters. The heterodiegetic narrator, not actively present during the events of the narrative, provides a distinct description of the two main characters, Damaso and his wife, Ana. Damaso, having just stolen a set of billiard balls from the community pool hall shows no regret or remorse for his actions or even when others are arrested on the pretense for having committed his crime. On the contrary, Ana frequently voices her guilt and regrets and often tries to convince Damaso to return the balls. From this narrator, readers are able to gain an adequate understanding of who these characters are. Prompted by the conscience of guilt of his wife, Ana, and perhaps even some regrets of his own, Damaso finally reluctantly attempts to return the stolen billiard balls. In the final scene of the narrative, Roque, the owner of the pool hall, catches Damaso and sinisterly declares:

“‘There were two hundred pesos,’ he said. ‘And now they’re going to take them out of your hide, not so much for being a thief as for being a fool’”. (Gabriel Garcia Marquez 147)

Despite revealing the true nature of both Damaso and Ana’s personalities, Roque’s true nature was not exposed until the final scene. Seeing the robbery as an opportunity to make a profit, Roque had claimed that an additional two hundred pesos had been stolen. The narrator, who hadn’t exposed Roque as such a sinister character, had created a narrative delay, or a veil of suspense in unraveling the events of Damaso’s downfall.

The narrative of “Dialogue With A Mirror” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez follows a distinct timeline. The narrator and character of the man follow the same time line. Manfred Jahn explains that in a literary work, time can function as the discourse-NOW which is “the current point in time in discourse time” (Jahn N5.1.1) which follows the narrator’s present time, or the story-NOW, which is “the current point in time in story time” (Jahn N5.1.1) which is time as presently experienced by the character. In Garcia Marquez’s “Dialogue With A Mirror” time uniformly connects the narrator, character, and the reader. Readers are expected to consistently follow the events as presented by the narrator which occur in real time. When the man first checks the clock, it is eight twelve. From this point, readers follow the narrator’s depiction of the man as he reluctantly begins his routine of taking a shower and getting ready for a morning shave. At the next indication of time, five minutes has passed, which is the amount of time that readers are expected to read the passage. Even if readers are capable of reading the text at a faster or slower pace, they are expected to follow the narration and experience time as the narrator reveals that the character is experiencing.

The narrative of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Dialogue With A Mirror” takes on that of a free indirect discourse. Manfred Jahn explains this to be a “ representation of a character’s words (‘free indirect speech’) or verbalized thoughts (‘free indirect thought’) which is (a) ‘indirect’ in the sense that pronouns and tenses of the quoted discourse are aligned with the pronoun/tense structure of the current narrative situation, and (b) ‘free’ to the extent that the discourse quoted appears in the form of a non-subordinate clause” (Jahn N8.6). In essence, this type of narrative reveals the character’s or characters’ direct thoughts and emotions in respect to the direct event or situation they are in. In “Dialogue With A Mirror”, the mundane events of the protagonist’s morning routine are disclosed in this free indirect discourse. For example, Garcia Marquez writes:

“I will certainly be late. He ran the tips of his fingers over his cheek. The harsh skin, sown with stumps, passed the feeling of the hard hairs through his digital antennae”. (Gabriel Garcia Marquez 43)

The narrative, which is primarily told via a heterodiegetic narrator, ebbs into that of the homodiegetic narrator, the character that is actively present in the story, and vice versa.
As the narrative smoothly and easily transitions between the two distinct voices,  the reader
becomes enthralled into the narrative, anticipating which voice, if any, will overpower the other or perhaps deviate from the narrative completely.

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, “Eyes of a Blue Dog”, the unnamed narrator has a complicated relationship with a woman that he can only meet in his dreams. The narrative is told through the unnamed narrator’s psychonarration, which Manfred Jahn explains in Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative as being “textual representation of a character’s conscious or unconscious mental states and processes, mainly by using forms of ‘narrative report of discourse’ or ‘narrated perception’” (Jahn N8.11). The narrator in this case explains what he perceives to be his conscious environment, or the environment that he is aware of, and the situation he is in as real as it appears to be to him. The nameless narrator describes his latest encounter with the woman as the two are observing each other in the room, this scenario becoming what the narrator believes to be his own reality. It is only until the end of the narrative that readers learn from the woman that their entire encounter has been a dream, one which the narrator won’t remember at all since he is “the only man who doesn’t remember anything of what he’s dreamed after he wakes up” (Garcia Marquez 57). She explains that this isn’t the first time, nor will it be his last, that he has forgotten and will forget what happens between the two in his dream. Though he is able to remember her while he dreams, he makes empty promises to remember her after he awakes. His efforts, though he will forget them, can be expressed in Scary Kids Scaring Kids’s track, The Deep End, in which the vocalist sings, “[s]he only comes to me in my dreams, so sleep becomes routine” (Scary Kids Scaring Kids 36-7).

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, Nabo: The Black Man Who Made The Angels Wait, presents readers with a narrative told from a distinct perspective. As Manfred Jahn explains, “all novels project a narrative voice, some more distinct, some less, some to a greater, some to a lesser degree. Because a text can project a narrative voice we will also refer to the text as a narrative discourse” (Jahn N1.3). The narrative voice, which recounts the details of the narrative, is that of several characters, probably the owners of the stable and estate in the story. While at first readers are inclined to believe that the narrative is told from the point of view of a heterodiegetic narrator, one who is not actively present during the course of the events of the narrative, it is later revealed that the narrative is told from the perspective of the homodiegetic narrators, those who were in fact present during the events of the narrative. These narrators, who either share a voice or whose voices are projected through that of a single elected narrator, reveal that Nabo has been reliving the day after he had suffered an injury to his head from a horse for over ten years now.

In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, “Nabo: The Black Man Who Made The Angels Wait”, Nabo suffers a head injury from a horse, which causes him to deviate from the time line of reality. As a result, he begins to experience the day that he wakes up from first being hit in the head over and over again. Stuck in his own time line, Nabo becomes fixated on experiences from that day and from the days prior to that. He then alienates those around him, who finally resolve to lock him away. In his confined space, Nabo is visited by the phantom of a saxophone player that he used to watch and listen to in the town square. The saxophone player, who may or may not epitomize the role of an angel, becomes an indication of how much time has passed since Nabo had began living outside of the timeline of reality and in his own realm, where the repetition of time occurs. The saxophone player explains that a few days had passed, then two years, then finally that Nabo had “been saying that for centuries and in the meantime we’ve been waiting for you in the choir” (Marquez 79). In this instance, it is possible that perhaps the choir could be symbolic of the Hallelujah choir, which would indicate a connection to a higher spirituality, or even that time has come to revolve around Nabo.