Meaning of In media res

What is In media res:

In media res It is a Latin phrase that literally translates "in the middle of the matter." As such, it is a literary technique in which the narration begins in the middle of the events, that is, in full action, in the middle of the story.

We owe the conceptualization of this type of narrative approach to Horacio, a Latin writer who, in his Poetic ars, used the term in media res to refer to the moment when Homer begins to tell the story of the siege of Troy, in the Iliad.

In this sense, it is a type of narrative approach that implies, then, that the elements that are linked to form the plot of the story are brought through the technique of retrospections or flashbacks, through which we learn about the origins and reasons of the characters and the central conflict of the story.

Classic examples of literary beginnings in media res are the aforementioned of the Iliad, as well as those of the Odyssey, also from Homer, and the Aeneid, from Virgilio himself.

Likewise, a closer example in time would be One hundred years of loneliness, a novel by Gabriel García Márquez, at the beginning of which the beginning in media res and hindsight to the origins of history:

“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía had to remember that remote afternoon when his father took him to see the ice. Macondo was then a village of twenty houses of mud and cañabrava built on the bank of a river with clear and diaphanous waters that rushed down a bed of polished stones, white and huge as prehistoric eggs ”.

Thus, this novel, which begins in the middle of the events, when Aureliano Buendía already holds the rank of colonel and is about to be shot, immediately jumps to an image of the past, from which the origin of the town and the Buendía family.

Filmically, this type of narrative strategy can also be seen in Star wars or Star Warsby American filmmaker George Lucas.

Ab ovo, in media res and in extreme res

Ab ovo, in media res and in extreme res they are literary techniques for approaching a narrative. The first, ab ovo, means that the story begins from the very origin of events.

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