An Instance of Magical realism


I appreciated the way “Flight paths” unfolded in this sort of series of “chapters”–but I also appreciated that the chapters were not as simply organized by different or alternating perspectives–in the end, the perspectives collided, quite literally, and out of this spark was a sort of bizarre synthesis (a cross between dreamlike and earthly state in the last chapter). At first, I thought the story was about one immigrant, since the first two chapters were about one person. The two progressed regarding both narratorial “outlook,” as the first chapter was encompassed by a majority of yellow brightness across the screen as well as positively-sentimented text. There was an eerie sort of quality to the beginning, however, with the sort of “chiller” or exotic type-face matched with an eerie, deep/dark music playing in the background. The second chapter turned darker both in color and music; the figures got more morphed/muddled, perhaps speaking to the muddled moral obligation the immigrant was having to do–again, this sort of forebodence. Next, the perspective changed suddenly (as if a completely different story) with more realistic images with a mostly white/black background. The type-face was “American” or plain, and the words spoke to daily occurrences/ideas of a woman (I think) going to the grocery store to buy food.

Then, in the “dark mass” chapter, we see the sky that brings them together (a human relation between the two very different texts)…  At first, I didn’t know that the voices were alternating, but I found it very effective and alluring. The Paths Crossing chapter to me was interesting because I thought it visually combined the aesthetic qualities from both perspectives: the car was realistic in shape/form but it was still somewhat cartoonish. The end was perplexing (looking more “video-game-esque” which was appropriate since a new character Jack was meeting Yucab for the first time). There were video-game explosions/pop-ups that read to me like an instant messaging board, speaking to their communication. It ended making me feel bizarre (like a shadowed man always would)… We are left unknowing if they are in the “real world” in Harriet’s house with her son, or if they are in some other existence after the crash. Or perhaps they are in Jack’s world of videogames (with the textured patches of earth as the background, reminiscent of army/battle videogames).

It reminds me of a sort of technological take on magical realism (mostly everything is true, but there is some fantastical quality that is treated as “normal” in the world they are working in.”

This piece was definitely one that made you feel something: the juxtaposition of both the exotic and the normal (the foreign and the american) and the fantastical and the real. I’m still not sure if there is some sort of “message” to take away from this. Prof. Bianco said this is an “immigration narrative,” which intrigues me because perhaps the eeriness I felt from the foreign chapters is saying something about the way we view the foreign… I was more “comfortable” with the Harriet Driving chapter because the images were ones that I have seen before (the ground-level cityscape) as well as the “normalized” font and daily-life narrative (I have heard a woman jokingly complain about having to go to the grocery store to buy food for her children). The two realities (because they both are equally “real” or useful, if the rhizome has taught us nothing else) came were physically juxtaposed on the screen yet merged in one narrative that strangely could have been taken as either perspective’s speech. I think it was technically Harriet’s speech, but we could impose it on Yucab’s narrative since it was side-by-side. There was a certain drama and direness that countered the woman’s frivolous daily task (thesis and antithesis) that collided physically in the scene with the crumpled car. Out of this spawned the last chapter (a sort of synthesis that was like nothing else before it).


~ by khughes80 on March 4, 2013.

One Response to “An Instance of Magical realism”

  1. This post works to describe two aspects of Flight Paths: the mechanics it employs, and the reactions they elicit. Kelsey’s primary focus is on the use of visual themes used in Flight Paths. She describes various themes as “chiller” or “video-game-esque” and how the collision of different themes evoked a sense of confusion and disorientation. This confusion is most evident and explored in the post’s final paragraph, where Kelsey contrasts the relatability of the Harriet Driving chapter to others.

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