Reality and Fantasy in British Children’s Fantasy Fiction: Protagonists at the Cross Roads

  • Mehmet Galip Zorba Akdeniz University
Keywords: English literature, fantasy literature, children’s fantasy fiction, secondary worlds

Abstract

Fantasy fiction is often discussed as a dichotomous entity rolling between hard reality and mere imagination. In such a shallow conceptualization, the former represents the reader’s world while the latter serves as a reflection of imagination. These two may seem contradictory, yet many researchers acknowledge that fantasy needs reality in order to depart from it, suggesting a reciprocal and codependent relationship. Hence, although many fantasy books are initially set in the real world, protagonists travel to secondary worlds so that the fantastic aspect starts evolving. Keeping this reciprocal relationship in mind, this study analyzes the initial settings and entrances of the secondary worlds in British children’s fantasy fiction, namely by reading, L. Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It is seen that, the initial settings in the works studied are situated either in the real world or in a place in which a realistic setting is dominant. The results of this study show that the protagonists, except for Harry Potter, often find darkness and danger in the secondary worlds. Thus, it can be inferred that Harry is an exceptional protagonist as he finds sunshine and excitement when he first enters his secondary world, making him a unique character among the others.  

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Boyer, R. H., & Zahorski, K. J. (1978). The fantastic imagination: An anthology of high fantasy. USA: Avon Publishing.
Campbell, J. (2004). The hero with a thousand faces. USA: Princeton University Press.
Carroll, L. (2010). Alice’s adventures in wonderland. USA: Simon & Schuster.
Chance, J. (2001). Tolkien’s art: A mythology for England. Kentucky, USA: University Press of Kentucky.
Clute, J., & Grant, J. (1997). The encyclopedia of fantasy. USA: St. Martin's Griffin.
Gamble, N., & Yates, S. (2002). Exploring children's literature. UK: Sage Publishing.
Harvey, G. (2003). The origins of Middle-earth for dummies. New Jersey 2003.
Herring, S. (2010). Supplementary materials. In C. B. Johnson (Ed.).Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (pp. 269-314) USA: Simon & Schuster.
Huck, C. S., Hepler, S., & Hickman, J. (1993). Children’s literature in the elementary school. Ohio, OH: Brown & Benchmark Publishing.
Hume, K. (1984). Fantasy and mimesis: Responses to reality in Western literature. USA: Routledge.
Hunt, P. (2001). Children’s literature. UK: Blackwell.
Hunt, P., & Lenz, M. (2001). Alternative worlds in fantasy fiction. London: Continuum.
Jackson, R. (1981). Fantasy: The literature of subversion. NY: Routledge.
Levy, M., & Mendlesohn. (2016). Children’s fantasy literature: An introduction. UK: Cambridge University Press.
Manlove, C. (1999). The fantasy literature of England. UK: Palgrave.
Manlove, C. (2003). From Alice to Harry Potter: Children’s fantasy in England. UK: Cybereditions
Mendlesohn, F. (2008). Rhetorics of fantasy. USA: Wesleyan University Press.
Pearce, J. (1998). Tolkien: Men and myth. London: Ignatius Press.
Rabkin, E. (1976). The fantastic in literature. USA: Princeton University Press.
Rowling, K. K. (1998). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. USA: Scholastic Press.
Short, K., Lynch-Brown, C., & Tomlinson, C. M. (2014). Essentials of children’s literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Stableford, B. (2009). The A to Z of fantasy literature. USA: The Scarecrow Press.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (2003). The hobbit. UK: Harper Collins.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (2005). The lord of the rings. UK: Harper Collins.
Westman, K. E. (2002). Specters of Thatcherism: Contemporary British culture in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In J. L. Mickenberg & L. Vallone (Eds.). The Oxford’s handbook of children’s literature (pp.93-112). USA: Oxford University Press.
Zipes, J. (2015). The Oxford companion to fairy tales. UK: Oxford University Press.
Published
2019-06-30
How to Cite
Zorba, M. G. (2019). Reality and Fantasy in British Children’s Fantasy Fiction: Protagonists at the Cross Roads. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 7(12), 70-77. Retrieved from http://nalans.com/index.php/nalans/article/view/146
Section
Articles