Magical Realism from the Point of View of an Oppressive Misogynist Culture

IN THE HARD LAND OF MONTERREY there lived a pretty young girl named Ana de la Cocina. In her family’s hut by the edge of the pueblo, Ana slaved day in and day out to provide food for the men of her family while putting herself through night school.

One day, however, Ana came home from the School of the Night with joy in her heart. “I have gotten my BA in economics!” she yelped, bothering the men with her high-pitched voice as they watched soccer and drank. “Now I can find employment in the city!” The men in the room were bothered by this, but did not pay too much heed, for indeed, she had fewer ribs than they.

And lo, the next morning, as Ana stepped out of the house ready to travel to the city, she saw that an enormous ceiling of glass had enveloped the house. Ana tried and tried and studied and studied, but the ceiling of glass was far stronger than her puny feminine arms. “What is the matter? There is nothing here!” yelled the men as they walked back and forth through it. “I think I will become a securities analyst at JP Morgan,” declared Miguel, who had never completed high school, as he strolled through the invisible barrier on a road paved with gold. And upon hearing this Ana cried and moaned, and the men asked her if it was that time of the month, and Ana looked down and was ashamed, for a raging river of menses had flowed forth from her dress, and there was sand in it too, yes, a veritable dune of sand, and Ana sat on her dune of sand and wept.

But little did she know that all was well, for as she cried a brave man came forth and pointed at the red mountain, and yes, all the grains of sand became babies, babies to feed and clothe and raise. And Ana took her babies and walked on bare feet into the kitchen, and cooked a meal for the brave man to eat on his way out the door, for she was a floozy and they were probably not his babies anyway. And all was well, as her experience had taught the women of the pueblo that school makes babies, and the men laughed, and never made that mistake again.

IT WAS IN the four hundredth year of the humble village that a vicious drought fell. Men and oxen alike toiled to coax food from the barren earth, while the women predictably sat around their huts and gained weight. One such woman was Tita, the timid young bride of the swarthy Federico Sanchez.

Tita’s garden was the most barren of all land in the little village. Still, she tended to it with care and love every day, hoping to bring forth a bounty of grains and banana trees. Then one day, something fantastical happened: her husband beat the living shit out of her.

Frustrated by his desperate situation, Federico Sanchez attacked the village’s complex socioeconomic caste system the only way a South American man knows how: by having a go at his wife for ten, twenty minutes at a time. He beat her with reeds, shoots, oxwhips, tree branches, and even a First Aid kit, the overwhelming irony of which was transmuted into a blunt object, which he then picked up and used to beat her some more.

After being disciplined by her husband, Tita crawled out to her garden and began to cry a river of tears into the ground. The power of her beautiful and long-suffering tears caused the ground to come alive with all manner of fruit and vegetable: mangos, papayas, banana trees, even a rubber plant. Such respite from a life of suffering!

Yes, Federico had finally gotten a break. His fruits were the envy of all the village, and as long as he continued to beat his wife, his stomach would be empty no longer. He told all the men of the village about the secret of the tears, and soon, no one in the village was want for food. Except for fat chicks.

Later that year, the village switched to an entirely tear-based economy, and all was once again well.