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 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 Key aspects established in the 19 th 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 Exotic settings Identifiable heroes Gripping suspenseful storylines Reinforcement of values The Extraordinary and the Probable
Adventure Stories must 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 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 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 altered eg 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 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 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 “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 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