Definition of Fantasy
Fantasy is a form of literary genre in which a plot cannot occur in the real world. Its plot usually involves witchcraft or magic taking place on an undiscovered planet of an unknown world. Its overall theme and setting is a combination of technology, architecture, and language resembling European medieval ages. The most interesting thing about fantasies is that their plot involves witches, sorcerers, mythical and animal creatures talking like humans, which never happens in the real life.
Types of Fantasy
Modern folktales are types of fantasies that narrators tell in a traditional tale accompanying some typical elements such as strong conflict, little description of characters, plot-moving fast with a quick resolution, sometimes adding magical elements and vague setting. However, these tales are original as known authors write them. Hans Christian Andersen has written several fairy tales of this category including, The Nightingale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling.
This fantasy tells tales about animals, showing them behaving like human beings, experiencing emotions, having ability of reasoning and talking. Nevertheless, animals in animal fantasies retain their various animal characteristics too. Often, such fantasies have simple plots and constitute literary symbolism by presenting symbolic expression of human counterparts. Its popular examples include, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White and, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter.
In toy fantasies, narrators bring their beloved toys to life and transform them into animated beings that can talk, live, think, breathe, love and behave like human beings. You would see modern toy fantasies in picture book format. Its examples include, A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh and Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio.
In a magical fantasy, you see a character having magical powers, or a strange magical object becomes subject of the narrative. Such fantasies include Roald Dahl’s Charlie and Chocolate Factory and William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
Alternative Worlds & Enchanted Journeys
In these fantasies, you see leading character undertaking journey to an alternative world, or a fantasy world. Though realistic tales also employ journeys, you would see magical things only happen in fantasy journeys. Its examples include Lewis Carroll’s Alice Adventures in Wonderland, J. K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
Quest or Heroic Fantasy (High Fantasy)
These fantasies involve adventures with a search, quest and motif. While this quest could be pursuit for a higher purpose like justice and love, or for getting a reward like hidden treasure or a magical power, the conflict of heroic fantasies focuses on struggle between evil and good. The protagonist struggles with internal weakness and temptations such as you may observe in, The Lord of the Rings trilogy/ Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley and, The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander.
Mystery and Supernatural Fantasy
One of very common forms of supernatural fantasy is known as a ghost story. Ghosts could be either helpful protectors, or fearful. However, in a mystery, the solution is always a supernatural on, or through supernatural assistance such as witchcrafts. Its best example is, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving.
Science fiction is also a type of imaginative literature. It provides a mental picture of something that may happen on realistic scientific principles and facts. This fiction portrays a world where young people would be living on the Mars. Hence, it is known as futuristic fiction. It dramatizes the wonders of technology and resembles heroic fantasy where its magic substitutes with technology. You can find this type of imaginative fiction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo and, The White Mountains, by John Christopher. Cyberpunk is also a genre of science fiction.
Function of Fantasy
We all like fantasy stories and grow up reading and listening fantasies. These tales serve as a fuel to our imagination, and give satisfaction to our longings for adventure. Thus, fantasies directly relate to our deepest desires and dreams. That is why they are important for increasing power of imagination and growing minds, especially in children. In addition, lots of romance and magic, seeking ideal hero and beauty queen, adventure and deception captures the attention and imagination of every age group. Also, fantasy has a distinguished writing style with freedom of expression—the reason that authors can experiment and employ elements of narrative to strengthen their tales.