The Cuckoo Clock: A Fantasy

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Manlove defines fantasy as ‘a literary genre in which non-rational or magical phenomena play a significant part’ (Manlove, 1975, 1). Following this definition, The Cuckoo clock would be classified as a fantasy by several elements in the story. To begin with, the story is based on the classic idea of a child communicating with animals or objects. In this case, that object would be the wooden cuckoo coming out of the clock. This idea itself is quite a common subject matter for children’s literature. For example in Little Princess, the little girl says that ‘little dolls come alive when we’re absent, and they run back to their original place before we see in order to keep their powers a secret’ (Burnett, 1905, 28). This was a good way for many lonely children, who often had to spend time by themselves, to make imaginative friends. Moreover throughout the novel, Griselda travels beyond time and space with the cuckoo. The author creates unique fantasy stages such as the butterfly land, other side of the moon, or the country of the nodding mandarins, and then sends little Griselda and the cuckoo into that world. The unique way of The Cuckoo Clock is that Mrs. Molesworth depicts this fantasy world realistically and explains the concept logically, making it more believable. For instance, there is a scene where the cuckoo asks Griselda to sit with him in the clock. When Griselda argues that she is too big to fit in the clock, the cuckoo says ‘ Being big or small is all a matter of fancy, and the world and everything in it was all made little enough to go into a walnut.’ (Mrs. Molesworth, 1931, 49).This shows the imagination of the author, saying that everything could be in a way you want it to be, making a fascinating story for a child and also motivates their imagination.

The cuckoo clock can also be defined as a typical didactic text, even though it has certain elements of fantasy. There is a reason the author chose cuckoo as a friend of Griselda. First of all, the...
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