August 7, 2020
Educational Portal of the Americas
 Printer Friendly Version  E-mail this Page  Rate this Page  Add this Page to My Favorites  Home Page 
New User? - Forgot your Password? - Registered User:     

Site Search

Collection: INTERAMER
Number: 70
Year: 2001
Author: Rhonda Dahl Buchanan, Editora
Title: El río de los sueños: Aproximaciones críticas a la obra de Ana María Shua


Animals in the stories “Puerta para salir del mundo” and “Una pluma de paloma”7 introduce magic, a second element of low fantasy. Not only do they provide the protagonists, both young boys, with the magical object, that object then will enable them to travel between their realilty and a magical one. “Una pluma de paloma” illustrates this more directly. During a dream, a pigeon thanks the protagonist, Gabriel, for having saved her life that afternoon in the park. In gratitude she leaves a magic feather, which he finds on the carpet. The feather does not produce the magic the child Gabriel desires, limited as it is to producing travel between childhood and adulthood, adulthood and childhood. This goes undiscovered until much later when the adult Gabriel escapes to the park to reflect upon his problems. With the same feather in his pocket he wishes to be a child again. The wish granted, he does not find himself in an idyllic past but in the difficult days of being eight years old with skinned knees, rejection by friends, jealous feelings toward a sister, a first love, hated baths, and dreaded multiplication tables. Knowing he has overcome all those problems, he returns—with the aid of the feather—to the adult state, confident he can solve the latest set of problems confronting him.

Cerezo, the stuffed dog in “La puerta para salir del mundo,” has a more complicated role. It is the object, a toy, which magically understands the feelings of a distraught child and comforts him—a normal personified role. At once the dog, having acquired the ability to speak a human tongue, promises an introduction to Señor Qwerty, who appears by stepping across the threshold of an instantly appearing door floating above Andrés’ bed. Suddenly the magical elements have multiplied. Besides the magical toy, there is a magical “person” and a magical world, magically accessed. The world, El Mundo Donde Todo es Verdad, is, by its very nature, known to few; yet Andrés may be able to access it if he can tell the truth for twenty-four hours. The protagonist has a task to perform, telling the truth. What follows is a series of incidents which earn for Andrés the animosity of friends, the shock of teachers and parents, and a bad grade in history. The incidents also provide him a valuable lesson on gradations of truth, reality versus fantasy, and thoughtless responses, such as saying,”Oh nothing!” to his mother’s “What are you doing?” By saying this, his passage to the World of Truth is closed; but in reality, a world of maturity has just been opened.

Many children and adults today take television for granted, not realizing they too pass visually through its magic door into the past and future, the real and the imaginary, fantasies and utopias. Television holds other viewers, as it holds Andrés, under its fictive powers. Unfortunately, when Andrés has the opportunity to take part in the filming of his favorite program, he realizes that what he saw at home had little to do with the actuality of painted sets, forced audience reactions, and the star’s self-centeredness. It was “solamente un gran truco en el que todo, absolutamente todo, era mentira” (12).

In both “Puerta para salir del mundo” and “Una pluma de paloma,” Shua has the protagonist reach very sophisticated conclusions: reality and Truth are practically unobtainable in real life; they are theoretical absolutes containing a bit of imagination and a great a deal of self-input. When all is said and done, the magic fades, and the viewers, the readers, and the protagonists of the stories are left to make their own determinations and resolve their own issues.