Meaniful Fantasy Essay

2106 words - 8 pages

Meaningful fantasy? Isn't that an oxymoron? I thought that fantasy is for kids? Why right an essay on that? Wouldn't it be more worthy to discuss the meanings of the third line of Hamlet's monologue to his mother, and it's impact on the works of the modern romance author, Danielle Steele. The answer quite simply is, "No". There is much to be learned and derived from these works of fancy. Especially when the works in question are those of high caliber authors such as Gabriel García Marquez and Franz Kafka, and their respective works', "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and "A Hunger Artist ". These works are representative of fantasy used in a more intellectual way, when the fantastical way of telling the story becomes the medium for the message. In a meaningful fantasy, meaning is not derived from symbolism or from figurative interpretation, but through the story itself, how interactions occur between certain kinds of people and the way in which the plot unfolds. Through a comparison and contrast of how the characters are similarly treated, their eventually fates' and the messages of the stories contained in Gabriel García Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and Franz Kafka's "A Hunger Artist", we should be able to find some common themes as well as come to a better understanding of the term, meaningful fantasy. In "A Hunger Artist " the nameless main character lives a nomadic life that has him travel to different cities to display his special talent, professionally. The process behind the display of his art is a very simple one, he is placed in a cage, usually in a town center where lots of people can come see him, and then he fasts for approximately forty days, at the end of the forty days he leaves his cage and the show is over. The general reaction of his audience is one of fascination and awe, however the fascination shown is a morbid one, and the awe is not for what they see as a special talent but merely a freak of nature. This is evident through the public's lack of respect, many believing that he is a fraud, a "kind of cheat who found it easy to fast because he had discovered a way of making it easy (198)", and others thinking him dishonest "there were people who argued that this breakfast was an unfair attempt to bribe the watchers (197)". The very old man, in Marquez's story, is similarly treated cruelly, however it is definitely of a more physical nature compared to the emotional kind laid upon the hunger artist. He is caged in a chicken coop where "the hens pecked at him"¦the cripples pulled out his feathers to touch their defective parts with, and even the most merciful threw stones at him (443)" Not that the angel seems to be bothered by any of this. The angel never makes clear his purpose, and never seems to deviate from his position of "a cataclysm in repose (443)". The only time the crowd succeeds in getting a...

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