Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is this real…or is it fantasy? – by Lindsay Moore

I’ve never claimed to be a fan of fantasy literature. For some reason, I have always associated the fantasy genre with science-fiction or those novels with the really glossy covers and the silver lettering. I know you know what I’m talking about. But thinking about it lately, it truly is difficult to pinpoint what exactly constitutes fantasy literature. Twilight could definitely be considered fantasy seeing as how it deals with several factors of the supernatural, along with a fantastical romance. And I won’t deny that I’m a fan of that. Alice in Wonderland could also be classified as fantasy. Where in the real world does a hookah smoking caterpillar or a mad hatter who has had too much tea, exist? Wonderland is a fantasy world that can only be found in a dream, which is really what a fantasy is. But how far are we taking these so-called fantasies and how far would we go to make them a reality? Are we delving so far into a fantasy world that we are beginning to lose sight of what’s right in front of us?
Let’s just take the Twilight series for example, since it is a prime one. With the introduction of Edward Cullen into the literary world, the male race no longer stands a chance. I cannot tell you the number of girls I have run into who say they wish their boyfriend was more like Edward. A fictional character has every teenage girl in today’s society completely snowed. What happened to wanting a man to be more like Mr. Darcy? At least that’s a little more reasonable. And I almost fainted when I saw a news story the other day talking about the new way kids these days are choosing to show affection. Kids are BITING each other on the neck and on the arms, just like vampires. What is this world coming to? I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer’s work, but this has gone far enough. I have always believed that reading a book is like taking a journey and becoming one with that book. But when you finish the last page and put the book back on the shelf, that particular journey is over and you move on to another one. Don’t dwell on the past.
I just recently finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, which is probably one of the most fantastical books I have ever read, aside from journeying through Carroll’s world. This story is the ultimate journey. Not only does the main character delve into a fantasy world within the plot, but the reader rides along with him on Falkor, the luckdragon, through the world of Fantasia. Even though he is hiding in his school’s attic reading, Bastian becomes an integral part of the fight to save Fantasia from being destroyed by the Nothing. The Nothing represents people’s lack of imagination in the real world and seeks to tear apart any idea of fantasy. A friend of mine who also just read the book explained it to me in a way that I had never pictured before. He said that the book goes so much deeper into the imagination than the movie does and relies on the value of hidden dreams in order to bring out someone’s true character. But just like Bastian, our society today, predominantly the younger generation, have ceased to accept the line between fantasy and reality, which gives their relationship with books a whole new meaning. People now rely on books like this to completely take them away from their real world woes. And while that is what a book is meant to do, society has taken too much of a reliance on fantasy and expects their lives to read just like a story. And as much as I wish Bella Swan’s story was my own, I know it’s just not meant to be.

Lindsay Moore is a junior communications major from South Carolina with a passion for reading and writing. She hopes to one day work for a magazine in Charleston and open her own bookstore.

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