BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Date of Submission



Irum Iqbal Hussain, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences


Nudrat Kamal, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Magical realism shows much potential for portraying a variety of worldviews in the same plane of reality, as well as for conveying the felt experience of extreme situations. Both these features are dominant in grief experiences; grief is understood differently in various cultures, and it is ineffable. However, secondary literature exploring the link between magical realism and grief is limited. This research conducts a critical analysis of Asleep (2000), Moonlight Shadow (2006), and The Book of Form and Emptiness (2021), using Wendy B. Faris’s theories of magical realism. All primary texts are written by Japanese writers, and thus, Japanese beliefs about mourning have also been used in the analysis. According to the analysis, magical realism holds much potential for portrayal of singular and private grief, due to three main reasons. Firstly, the irreducible elements in magical realism give pain its ‘object’ and thus, convey its felt experience. Secondly, magical realism is conducive to the inclusion of spirits, especially those not interpreted as hallucinations, but as legitimate entities in the real-world. This opens up the genre to other cultural explanations of the spirit and the afterlife. Thirdly, magical realism connects characters to cosmic forces, which have a healing impact, and thus, provides fertile ground for exploring narratives of healing in grief.



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