Through reading fantasy, “readers can change their identity and become powerful in the world” (Walker 110).
Fantasy literature for children and young adults is a wonderful world of writing. Reflecting on several articles I read about fantasy for children and young adults while I was a student, I recognized a certain way of thinking about fantasy the authors were communicating. Many of the articles focused on the notion that fantasy comments on the world, the human condition, the human experience. In other words, fantasy is extremely relevant because it deals with significant issues that we as people face. It invites commentary about situation and problems that are important to people.
During childhood, children have a unique capacity to engage their imaginations and enter a make-believe world. By having the ability to do this, children can view the world with wonder and allow their creativity to be activated. This is what adults should not lose—if we can keep this, it’s very important. At the same time, Whitley (another author writing about children’s literature) discusses how fantasy narratives entertain this process of “growing up.” However, I think children can grow up, but still retain creativity and that perception of the world with wonder. I especially like Whitley’s point that “fantasy literature simplifies social and even moral structures in order to heighten a sense of the underlying spiritual dimensions” (177). Again, I think this reinforces the idea that fantasy makes room for spirituality in a unique way…
There’s no doubt: fantasy is a powerful mode of literature. I think literature does have the capacity to change the reader, and motivate him/her to be an agent of change in his/her world.
This change doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to be important.
Walker, Jeanne Murray. “High Fantasy, Rites of Passage, and Cultural Values.” In Teaching Children’s Literature: Issues, Pedagogy, Resources. Ed. Glen Edward Sadler. New York: Modern Language Association, 1992.
Whitley, David. “Fantasy Narratives and Growing Up.” In Where Texts and Children Meet. Eds. Eve Bearne and Victor Watson. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.