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