Argentine dictator and subsequent president Juan Peron came into power at the time that Cort´zar began his writing career. Furthermore, the 1940s were the beginning of a tumultuous and historic period in Argentine politics and economy. This same tumult may have been partially responsible for Cortazar’s decision to live abroad. To a certain extent, the uncertainty and anxiety of ‘‘House Taken Over’’ can be seen as a reflection of the political climate in which it was written. Peron began his military career at the age of twenty and was promoted to colonel in 1941. Two years later, he was instrumental in the military coup that overthrew then-president Ramo´n Castillo. Under the new regime, Peron became minister of war and then undersecretary of war. However, he gained the most power in his subsequent position as secretary of labor. In that post, Peron made great headway as a champion of the working class, making significant economic and labor reforms.
Peronmet his future second wife, Eva Duarte, in 1944. She was instrumental in furthering his political career. In fact, his popularity had become so immense that the military government feared his growing power and arrested him in 1945. However, demonstrations held on October 17 led to Peron’s release. He then married Eva on October 22. In 1946, Peron successfully ran for president. From then on, he and his wife campaigned to lessen the country’s debt, create aid programs for the poor, and establish better pay and conditions for workers. Although Peron undoubtedly improved the country, he was despotic in his methods; politicians who opposed him were removed from positions of power.
Peron was successfully reelected as president in 1952, but Eva died of cancer not long after. Her passing, coupled with Pero´n’s iron-fisted methods in an increasingly troubled economy, ultimately cost Peron his popularity and his power. He was deposed by military coup in 1955. Peron relocated to Spain, living in exile until 1973. That year, following yet another military coup in Argentina, he was once again elected president. However, Peron died the following year; he was replaced as president by his third wife, Isabel Martinez.
The literary style of magical realism is typically associated with Latin American writers of the twentieth century. The style is characterized by magical or supernatural elements subtly incorporated into an otherwise realistic plot. Other traits include a clash of cultures typical of postcolonial literature (literature written in countries formerly colonized by another) and an unquestioning or matter-of-fact authorial voice. The latter trait contributes to the credibility of the magical plot elements. The style was immensely popular, launching Latin American literature into the international spotlight. The tradition has since become much imitated, and it can be found in numerous works of literature, Latin American and otherwise. Magical realism emerged predominantly from the French surrealists and was at its strongest during the 1950s and 1960s. Those at the forefront of the movement were Carlos Fuentes, Corta´zar, and Gabriel Garcı´a Marquez. The style remained popular well into the 1980s; a later figurehead of the movement, for example, is Isabel Allende. Authors outside the Latin American tradition who are also considered magical realists are Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol, and Milan Kundera.
Sara Constantakis, Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 28 (2010) – Julio Cartazar – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.