n Latin American Report - Old age in the selected stories of Marquez and Mungoshi : 'age, with his stealing steps hath clawed me in his clutch'




This article attempts an exploration of the creative strategies employed by Garcia Marquez and Charles Mungoshi in depicting how some individual ageing characters (in some selected short stories) construct meaning in their lives. This is an article about content of style, dwelling (sometimes) very deliberately and largely on how the manner of writing contributes to the production of certain specific meanings. In old age, these selected characters of Marquez and Mungoshi seem at first defeated by time, their bodies wasted and their spirits resigned to certain death and as the grave digger sings in Hamlet (5.1.73-4): 'But age with his stealing steps Hath clawed me in his clutch And hath shipped me into the land As if I had never been such.'

Sometimes there is fear and anxiety that characterise the anticipated coming of hardships imposed by ageing. However, as they variably come to terms with their circumstances, these elderly characters in Marquez and Mungoshi reveal an existence of certain internal resources which they have been scarcely aware of or unable to use before. We must not lose sight of what Laura L. Carstensen and Linda P. Fried (2012: 01) observe in that since time immemorial, elders have almost always featured in religious texts, mythology and lore where they have been portrayed as prophets, saints, tribal leaders and healers, providing cultural continuity, wisdom and concern for the common good. It is argued here that these two veteran short story writers (from Columbia and Zimbabwe, respectively,) handle and employ the short story with a creative deftness in bringing out how it sometimes feels to be old in a world that scarcely notices the challenges of ageing. The old characters explored here are specifically from Marquez's and from the collection called and Mungoshi's from the collection called .


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