Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Heroic Ethical Tale

I have been reading a critical piece titled Fantasy Literature for Children and Young Adults. It provides an interesting overview of the fantasy genre for young readers and the many purposes it serves its readership. The book addressed many of the issues adults seem to have with fantasy and letting their children read it. Honestly I have never understood the mentality of parents who deny their kids books not because of their content alone but because of their genre in general. Books are my business. I almost take it personally when I here someone bad mouthing a book out of ignorance. I can barely deal with parents who come in looking for Christian youth fiction, openly sneering at Harry Potter. Ya, okay I get your religious viewpoint, but don't bring your sneering face against my literature.
But the book dealth with parents who denied fantasy not only for religious reasons but because they felt it was escapist. Brillliantly the authors pointed out fantasy does not teach escapism but creates a broader sense of problem solving by opening the mind to more possibilities. Where realistic fiction tackles problem solving in a more limiting way, fantasy offers itself as a guide, not an answer book.
I like it.
One of the sub genres the book covered was of the Heroic Ethical Tale. This covers such stories as Alexander's Prydian Chronicles, Lewis's Narnia Stories, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson...basically some of my favorites. Which got me to thinking, I think the book I am currently working on will end up being a Heroic tale. I know I want Mina to set things right, I want her to save Felix, I want her to make peace with the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father. Maybe Mina will join the ranks of Eilowny and Hermione. I think the world needs more female heroes.

1 comment:

Karen Romano Young said...

I take your point about the hero story. There are only said to be about 7 basic plotlines in human story. I think Mina's strength is her...strength. She is grounded in today's contemporary world, and so far is visited by characters who are not FROM another world, but from some parallel, heretofore unseen version of this one. I sure wish you wouldn't send her into fairyland but keep her grounded here.

Another thing. To hell with Eilonwy and Hermione who follow boy kings around. Yes, they are delightful and powerful, but they are secondary. Forgive me, but I am very angry about Harry Potter, who I think is a largely passive character who seems to win against all logic, because of powers conferred upon him. I much prefer Taran, Luke Skywalker, and some others in the hero strand who work to strengthen their abilities and assume nothing beyond the potential they were born with -- which the rest of us share. It seems that Ron and Hermione are simply stuck with being secondary no matter how talented they are, how big their hearts, how hard they work, while Harry can't help coming out on top -- and that's a very British notion about birth and place in the hierarchy. I don't know why all of Hogwarts doesn't gang up on Harry and beat him up... Don't worry about me, I'll calm down soon. :-)

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