Fantasy literature has been defined as a “story based on and controlled by overt violation of what is accepted as the norm or possibility a narrative that transform a condition that is contrary to the fact into fact itself” (Jackson 14). This kind of literature represents the unreal as the new real, and puts to question people’s accepted truths on reality. Jackson also adds that fantasy literature is “concerned with describing the desire in its excessive forms as well as in its various transformations or pervasions” (10).
Therefore, this kind of literature tends to engage and test the reader’s ideas of the real world by indulging him deeper into the unreal and unnatural world. The aim of this paper is to define real fantasy and explain its six basic elements. In Fantasy literature, the most consistent creation is a highly valuable object, which in most cases is a place that offers safety to the hero. The appearance and significance of this object is usually blown out of proportions. Stevens in his 1918 narrative Friend Island explains this mysterious island called Anita that had a human heart. Anita was so priceless and valuable to the sea woman, who had come to posses it so dearly (para 56). This mysterious lady island had human feeling such that when Nelson cussed it, she responded by “throwing snakes and lava” at them, which according to the see woman was expression of human feelings (para 57, 58). In Ballard’s Drowned Giant, the drowned giant is the priceless object as the local finds several uses for it including making fertilizer (7).
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Fantasy narrative authors also create a hero, a person who posses the right characters to accomplish heroic acts has to travel great distances to locate the prized possession. This hero has to be a person with the right characteristics, such as the sea woman and the young English student (Stevens para 2; McDonald para 23). These two fantasy characters possess extraordinary strength and characters to fight unnatural odds, and come out victors. It is characters that must make long journeys to find that priceless object.
In most of the cases, the location of the prized objects is not known but its seekers have the hope and courage to go after it until they finally find it. Fish, in his narrative Bleeding Jungle portrays such a character in Atl, (17). Atl overcomes unimaginable odds. Unlike his father Ollin, the tribe’s chief, he survives plague and because of that his dying father hands him the leadership of the tribes, asking him to deliver it to the promise land where there are no marauding white men (16). To reveal the real hero in fantasy stores, the characters are put through a series of impossibly challenging situations, to eliminate the weak ones.
Some characters survive these great odds and emerge as the heroes. A good example is the sea woman who survives a great storm and a volatile volcanic island to reach to safety (Stevens para 13, 23). The sea woman, who is of extreme abilities stronger even than men, emerges the hero, as she is the one who saves Nelson when Anita blew up (para 60). Fish creates a hero in Atl, and not his father Ollin. Atl is among the few people to overcome the plague and as a result his sick father initiates and hands him the leadership of the tribe (9). He mobilizes the tribe three thousandth movement to safety (17). The acquisition of this object is never easy and is always protected by a powerful force. The hero must firsts overcome the objects’ guardian, sometimes through a helper.
For example, Bradley’s Year of the Big Thaw is about an alien ship the crashes into Mr. Emmett’s back yard, killing a couple, and ironically their child survive (para 28). The couple’s child, the only survivor, is trapped into this burning ship and Mr. Emmet has to help the hero by brining him to his wife for nursing (para 40).
Ironically, the hero upon being helped does not benefit the helper. This is exemplified by the young boy who runs away leaving his helper lying helplessly (Stevens para 29) In conclusion, high fantasy literature is about the unnatural seeming natural. It presents perverted reality to the reader. Most of these stories are gory and scaring as they involve insurmountable suffering for the hero. The hero has to overcome great and unimaginable odds to reach to the prized destination. This destination could be either the search of an important object or a far distant place where they find safety. for heroes to reach to their prized object they have to overcome a the objects guardian protector, a powerful force.
This is done through a helper nut the irony of it is that the heroes acts do not benefit the helper. This shows that these heroes are ungrateful and selfish as they only mind about themselves.
Ballard John. The Drowned Giant.
1962. 29 January, 2011.http://crabdog.org/books/books/Ballard,%20J%20G%20- %20Drowned%20Giant.pdf Bradley, Zimmer. Year of the Big Thaw. 2009.
29 January, 2011.http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28650/28650-h/28650-h.htm Fish, Charlie. Bleeding Jungle. 1980. 29 January, 2011.
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/BleJun.shtml I Jackson, Rosemary. Fantasy, the literature of subversion. New York: Methuen & Co.
, 1981. Print. MacDonald, George. The Gray Wolf. 1980.
29 January, 2011.http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/14140 Stevens, Francis. Friend Island: All-Story Weekly .
1981. 29 January, 2011.http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/frndisld.htm