Literary Canons On The Genre Of Fantasy Novel

Imagination is a unique form of human ability that could create ideas not currently in any physical sense. It is a writers’ essence in creating a fictional world. A world where ideas are created as a medium for fantasy novels to emerge from an imaginative place with no scientific reason for explanation just a belief that anything is possible. Fantasy novels are “literary creations of unusual vitality that grew organically from their time — and that are greatly influencing ours”. This is seen in novels like The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, and The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Three literary canons of the postmodern era will be discussed in this essay because it exposed its readers to widen their consciousness and experience the freedom to look at what others cannot see, feel with all their senses, and learn to push boundaries of creativity.

For the purpose of understanding literary canon on fantasy novels, one must first understand what “canon” in English literature means. Canon comes from “the Greek word kanôn meaning measuring rod or standard, the canon has been compiled by literary critics, scholars, and teachers over time to assert which works of literature are essential” (Kinder 2018). There are variable principles put into place when analyzing literary canon. Scholars and readers alike talk about what is a literal piece about, what meaning it tries to convey, and what kind of positive or negative effect it has on other writers. This makes studying and critiquing literary pieces important and influential because it creates a platform for writers and other readers to discussed and fully digest the elements of a literary piece and how it affects them emotionally. It also generates awareness of the type of creative force the writer uses and contrasts it with other literary writers of the previous or current era. This type of awareness provides a foundation for readers and students to have “a higher-order of critical thinking and close reading skills necessary for success in higher education”. The literary canon is still imperative in today’s academic society because it creates opportunities for a better learning environment.

Fantasy novels create opportunities for a better learning environment by understanding how it influences its readers. First, it creates the freedom to imagine what others cannot see through broadening their experience and consciousness. In the novel The Lord of The Rings, Tolkein showed his craft in writing by creating the middle earth and its different inhabitants that represent different species. He also created a world where inanimate objects like the ring and trees of the middle earth were given sentience. This made his book appropriate from a different spectrum of young adults to the adult reader because of the way his supernatural genre was created from the extraordinary influences of his time. This was further explained by Parson as “not being metaphorically foisted upon objects of the natural world because Tolkien is not writing about the natural world. Tolkien’s world is, after all, and most of all, not our world”. Tolkien’s works have been categorized as one of the influential literary pieces of fantasy novel because he brought his imaginative work of the middle earth to life with his words that still play to his readers' minds.

Another principle of how fantasy novels influence its readers is through subliminal messages. Hidden messages in literary pieces have always been a way for authors to convey the deeper meaning of his or her idea. Children or young adults at times might not recognize the subliminal messages. However, after re-visiting or re-reading it as an adult the message might seem evident not because it was not recognized but because the knowledge and understanding from the initial reading were not fully developed yet. This is seen throughout the novels of C. S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia as he emphasized the importance of religion in his stories. “The books are already known to work on two levels: the fantasy narrative enjoyed by generations of children, and the Christian allegory in which the lion Aslan represents Christ” (Jameison 2008). This is seen through the battle of good and evil. It is portrayed by Aslan as the higher power or God coming back to fight against the witch which is the devil or Satan. It is similar to the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the book Revelation. It talks about the coming back of Jesus Christ to fight the devil and the coming of the apocalypse.

The last principle that fantasy novel has an impact on its readers and writers alike is through pushing the boundaries of creativity. Creativity and imagination work hand in hand in fantasy novels. The development of the two creates a medium for a fantasy novel to be born. This kind of influence is a driving force to redefine ideas outside the box. It channels new ways for readers to question and challenge what the norm is thus, leads to the development of critical thinking skills. J. K. Rowling showed this in the Harry Potter series as she wrote one of the most creative prose in a fantasy novel. Hogarth and Soyar explained J. K. Rowling's success “with enough ideas and perseverance, the impact a creative person can make is demonstrably huge”.

Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.' The literary canon of a fantasy novel from authors likes J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis has demonstrated the power of imaginative creation. It has given unlimited wonders to its readers and inspirations to other writers. It fueled new generations to be creative in their own right. With the right mix of imagination and creativity, it teaches readers to learn new things, express their creativity, and be more open-minded. Also, nurturing this kind of mindset not only helps develop critical thinking skills but also enhances complex problem-solving skills. This, in turn, can help readers to widen their consciousness and experience the freedom to look at what others cannot see, feel with all their senses, and learn to push boundaries of creativity.

13 July 2023
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