Elements of fantasy literature

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Elements of fantasy literature

  1. 1. Elements of Fantasy Literature
  2. 2. Plot• Plot is almost always a natural serial sequence.• It is simple, predictable, and often patterned on – the schedule of birth, growth, and death, – the seasonal cycle, – on the hero’s journey of separation, quest, and reconciliation/salvation.
  3. 3. Plot, Cont.• The action is often ritualized or stylized,• the character’s actions often based on traditional roles and archetypes rather than on personal motivation – (i.e. the heroine always falls in love with the prince, despite disguises, deceptions and distortions.)
  4. 4. Setting • Usually set in primitively natural surroundings. • Medieval nature is usually magicalized rather than scientifically explained, and is often emblematic and symbolic rather than literal. • Technology and architecture are also usually primitive, at about the level of the blacksmith.
  5. 5. Setting, cont.• Although magic works, it is not random, and there are usually elaborate rules to govern the use of magic but no explanations for why magic works.
  6. 6. Characters• Usually a few human beings are surrounded by proto-people or para-people who represent transformations of basic human traits: – wizards, – witches, – elves, – fairies, – gnomes, – dwarves, – goblins, – trolls, – sprites, – angels and devils, etc.
  7. 7. Characters, cont. • Often these creatures are psychic types such as villains, or ugly stepmothers; • or emblems such as a dragon who represents the ultimate challenge. • Mythological creatures are a clue the writing may be fantasy, as are any creatures that could not live or be as they are shown based on the best knowledge that scientists possess.
  8. 8. Style/Mood/Tone• The style is often “folk” or “oral”, – using simple vocabulary, – lots of repetition, – not much simile or metaphor, since the setting itself tends to supply the metaphor; • for example, “mountain” equals a tremendous challenge.
  9. 9. Style/Mood/Tone • In “sword and sorcery” fantasy, the simple style is replaced by a baroque, ornate, bombastically stylized diction which is often deliberately archaic. • The story in either case may be studded with proverbs, formulaic wisdom and clichés.
  10. 10. Theme• Fantasy tends to • The stories lead to concentrate on the statements about psychological character human beings’ of archetypal truths and encounters with their experiences: inner selves. – birth, growth, wisdom, • Fantasy tends to be pain, love, fear, sin, guilt, used easily as religious beauty, discipline, good or spiritual reading. and evil, sacrifice and death

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