Magic Realism in Flowers: Karnad's Post-Modern World of Folkloric Fantasy
Shanlax International Journal of English
"Magic realism" is a recent literary technique that contains a latent amalgamation of fantastic or mythical elements into an otherwise realistically narrated fiction. The theme and subject of such a literary work are often imaginary, somewhat outlandish and fantastic and always reflect into a dream-like reverie. It further marks the miscellaneous use of myths, legends and fairy tales, and an expressionistic description of an arcane situation leading to the element of surprise or abrupt shock.
... or abrupt shock. In literary discourses, the term is primarily associated with the post-modern novel of the Americas. Girish Karnad's dramatic monologue, Flowers, however, bears all the elements of this literary phenomenon. This short play could also be labeled as a dramatized novel and is a simple tale of a priest caught in an agonized conflict between his devotion to God and his love for a courtesan. However, Karnad's creative genius turns this conflict into a scintillating portrayal of the sexual urge of a priest interspersed with his feelings of religious devotion and familial duties through the technique of magic realism and, in the process, questions god's authority in the postmodern world. The play is an attempt by Karnad for the first time in his playwriting career "to focus on male than a female desire." It presents an interesting picture of the bizarre human world full of magic and its realistic social impressions. The present article attempts to shed some light on this aspect of Karnad through the thematic exploration of the flowers.