Why we need fantasy
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
"Dealing with the impossible, fantasy can show us what may really be possible. If there is grief, there is the possibility of consolation; if hurt, the possibility of healing; and above all, the curative power of hope. If fantasy speaks to us as we are, it also speaks to us as we might be." - Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007)
"Fantasy is escapism, but wait.... Why is this wrong? What are you escaping from, and where are you escaping to? Is the story opening windows or slamming doors? The British author G.K. Chesterton summarized the role of fantasy very well. He said its purpose was to take the everyday, commonplace world and lift it up and turn it around and show it to us from a different perspective, so that once again we see it for the first time and realize how marvelous it is. Fantasy -- the ability to envisage the world in many different ways -- is one of the skills that make us human." - Terry Pratchett
"From their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things." - Maurice Sendak (1928-20012)
"When we are children, we have a tranquil acceptance of mystery which is driven out of us later on, by curiosity and education and experience. But it is possible to find one's way back. With affection and respect, I disagree totally with Penelope Lively's conviction about the 'absolute impossibility of recovering a child's vision.' There are ways, imperfect, partial, fleeting, of looking again at a mystery through the eyes we used to have. Children are not different animals. They are us, not yet wearing our heavy jacket of time." - Susan Cooper
To hear Lloyd Alexander, Terry Pratchett, Maurice Sendak and Susan Cooper speak about fantasy, imagination, and their work, follow the links above. Other quotes on fantasy can be found here, here, and here. For quotes about fantasy in books for children: "The Forest of Stories" Parts I, II, and III. The illustrations above are by Richard Doyle (1824-1883).