Senior Individualized Project
There is everywhere a tendency to marginalize fantasy, hide it away, read it metaphorically, and treat it as something undeserving of real attention. The frequent misuse of “magic realism” to this end is only one of the many symptoms of the problem. With the rise of the fantastic in other mediums, it's surprising that this attitude still prevails. Video games are now rarely realistic, and the number of fantasy worlds that the video game industry has spun off in recent years is astounding. Meanwhile, fantasy holds sway in the box office as well: aliens, for example, were a particularly popular action movie villain in the 2010 and 2011 box offices. Despite all this, how can fantasy continue to be marginalized? I intend to disprove the claims of popular reviewers like David Gates, by endeavoring to show that fantasy has been closely related to other, more respected genres in a historical analysis, by repudiating claims of the childishness and escapism as inherent to the fantastic, and by attempting to explain why fantasy is so easily pushed away, so easily allegorized and forgotten. In the process, I will set out to form a new definition of fantasy; one which attempts to explain the psychological and literary effects of fantasy, and attempts explain why exactly it is that fantasy is needed, perhaps more now than ever before.