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EDU12HCL – History of Children’s Literature Week 8 lecture 2 . Fantasy Adventure Stories. © La Trobe University, David Beagley 2005. Recommended reading:. Charlotte Huck (1987) Modern Fantasy, in Children’s Literature in the Elementary School, pp. 335-378

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edu12hcl history of children s literature week 8 lecture 2

EDU12HCL – History of Children’s LiteratureWeek 8 lecture 2

Fantasy Adventure Stories

© La Trobe University, David Beagley 2005

recommended reading
Recommended reading:

Charlotte Huck (1987) Modern Fantasy, in Children’s Literature in the Elementary School, pp. 335-378

Diane Chapman, (2001) Adventure Stories, in The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. Bernice Cullinan, 9-11

Janet Hickman, (2001) Fantasy Stories, in The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. Bernice Cullinan, 275-276

CW Sullivan (2004) High Fantasy, in The International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. Peter Hunt, vol. 1. 436-446

definition
Definition
  • A mixture of the extraordinary and the probable
  • if the events in a story are too mundane, they fail to excite, but a sequence of completely extraordinary events fails to be credible (Butts)
  • The adventure must be within the reach of the reader - it should be possible to believe it could happen to you.
origins and development
Origins and development

Key aspects established in the 19th century:

  • Gender: boy heroes going out into wider world, girls have domestic adventures
  • Social values impressed:
  • Imperialism - civilized European dealing with the primitive exotic
  • Personal worth - honesty, loyalty, pluck in face of danger
  • Reward is earned by the successful application of those personal values to achieve the resolution
  • In essence - Growing up
the lure of adventure
The Lure of Adventure
  • Exotic settings
  • Identifiable heroes
  • Gripping suspenseful storylines
  • Reinforcement of values
  • The Extraordinary and the Probable
the extraordinary and the probable
The Extraordinary and the Probable
  • Adventure Storiesmust balance the extraordinary and the probable by taking short steps through reality towards the exciting/exotic
  • Fantasy Stories shift the balance in some literary aspects more towards the extraordinary

BUT NOT ALL

  • Is Adventure a distinct genre of literature, or is it a cross-genre style of writing?

e.g. Adventure = plot / Fantasy = setting

shifting the balance
Shifting the balance

Fantasy stories are usually asking ‘What If … ?’ Creative questions such as:

… animals could talk?

… children could fly?

… toys come alive?

… you could travel across the galaxy?

… you could become invisible?

… magic was a human skill?

… dragons (trolls, elves, orcs, psammeads) were?

… and then what?

… then the adventure starts!

the other worlds
The Other worlds

“the journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet” (Lao Tzu. 5th century BC)

  • Any journey begins from where you are
  • Our world must be the starting point for “The Other” – the secondary world
  • An aspect of accepted reality is alteredeg time, place, (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), size, skills, identity, social fabric …
  • But the rest of reality remains – contiguous, consistent, co-existent - the worlds walk side by side, “the inner consistency of reality” (Tolkien)
  • Cosmography - Cosmology
peter pan a brief history
Peter Pan – a brief history
  • Peter appears as a character in The Little White Bird (1902)
  • Expanded as a stage play Peter Pan; or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (1904)
  • Adaptations based on characters and story: Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906), When Wendy grew up (1908), Peter and Wendy (1911)
  • First movie version 1924
  • Expanded novel version 1928
  • Disney animated version 1953
  • All royalties go to a children’s hospital in London
peter pan keeping the elements
Peter Pan – Keeping the elements

Typical adventure story patterns:

  • Journey format – beginning from Home/Safety
  • Exotic setting, far away in an uncivilized place
  • Characters – Red Indians, pirates, crocodiles
  • Challenge to survive and bring civilization
  • Absence of adults, except as danger
  • Series of suspenseful episodes, leading to resolution
  • Definite gender differentiation – Peter and boys playing, Wendy as “little mother”
peter pan shifting the balance
Peter Pan – shifting the balance

“What if …? Fantasy elements

  • Mode of transport – personal flying
  • Sewing the shadow
  • Characters – fairies, mermaids
  • Death and life
  • Growing up
the extraordinary and the probable characters
The Extraordinary and the Probable - Characters
  • Key characters are usually youthful, from realistic, everyday backgrounds
  • These characters are not extraordinary, but allow for identification by the reader
  • Adults are often either absent (especially parents) or dangerous (protagonists of plot)
  • May encounter an adult character who is mysterious or morally ambivalent/ambiguous