Roald Dahl: Realism and Fantasy

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Topics: Roald Dahl, Animal
The Realism and Fantasy of
Roald Dahl 's, Fantastic Mr. Fox "The delightful tale of a fox who lives by poaching food from his three neighbours, Messrs.
Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, three farmers – each one meaner than the other" (Telgan, Children 's
Literature Review, Vol. 41, pg. 27). Mr. Fox and his family endure the hardships of attempted murder, being hunted, and starvation as the farmers resort to violence to rid themselves of Mr.
Fox and preserve their livestock. Out of an undying will to survive, and out of love and concern for his family and fellow animal community, Mr. Fox, is able to valiantly burrow a subterranean tunnel into the store houses of the three farmers. The triumphant Mr. Fox invites all of the community animals for a feast and propose that they build "a little underground village" (Dahl,
Mr. Fox, pg. 88), that they may never have to contend with those farmers again. All the while,
Boggis, Bunce and Bean still wait on the surface for the starving fox to surface. Roald Dahl 's Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fiction which employs devices of both realism and fantasy.
Realism, in literature, is defined as a genre "that attempts to persuade its readers that the created world is very like the world the readers inhabit" (University of Victoria, 1995). Contrastingly,
Fantasy is defined as a genre "of fiction that pictures creatures or events beyond the boundaries of known reality" (www.hearts-ease.org, 2001). The word, genre, refers to the "types or categories into which literary works are grouped according to form, technique, or, sometimes, subject matter" (Brown, 2002). As it will be adduced in this essay, Dahl is able to utilized conventions of realism and fantasy in complementary ways that make the existence and experiences of Mr. Fox believable within a known reality, yet enable the human reader to closely identify with the animal-protagonist beyond the dictates of a known reality.
Devices of Realism



Cited: Dahl, R. Fantastic Mr. Fox. Penguin Group, 1988. Telgan, D., ed. Children 's Literature Review, Vol. 41. Gale Research, 1997. Daniels Brown, M. 2002. The Department of English, University of Victoria, September 23, 1995

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