What is Fantasy in Literature? Definition, Examples of Fantasy in Literature

Fantasy definition in literature: A fantasy is a piece of fiction that contains elements such as a medieval or imaginary setting with characters that can be described as magical.

What is Fantasy?

In fantasy fiction, the setting of the story will occur in an imaginary place or a medieval, specifically Arthurian, place. The characters in this work are often made up of magical people, beasts or other creatures such as faeries.

Example of Fantasy

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is an example of fantasy fiction. In this infamous serious, the main characters are witches and wizards who are on a mission to save the imaginary school, Hogwarts, from evil beings.

Fantasy vs. Science Fiction

While both fantasy and science fiction contain similar elements such as including elements of exploring the unreal and imaginary, these two genres have a distinct difference. In science fiction, the author focuses on the power of future technologies and the sciences in his plot.

Example of Science Fiction:

The novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is an example of science fiction. In this novel a young boy, Ender, is a part of a futuristic, highly technologically advanced society that is training its young inhabitants to be skillful fighters against alien creatures.

Types / Genres of Fantasy

Modern Folktales: In modern folktales, the story revolves around a strong conflict that is solved quickly through the brief plot presented in the tale.

  • An example of a modern folktale would be “Hansel and Gretel” written by The Brothers Grimm. In this quick tale, two children venture off into the woods and unexpectedly find themselves tricked by an evil, old woman.

Magical Fantasy: This type of fantasy includes elements such as characters with magical powers or objects within the story that possess such abilities.

  • The movie Click starring Adam Sandler is an example of magical fantasy. In this movie, Sandler finds himself in possession of a remote control that possess the magical powers of being able to control his life by simply clicking the desired buttons.

Quest/Heroic Fantasy (High Fantasy): High fantasy is, like it sounds, a story in which the characters are on a quest and through this journey many struggles between evil and good occur.

  • An example of a high fantasy is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. In this famous trilogy young Frodo and is on a quest and encounters several struggles against evil forces attempting to stop his mission.

The Function of Fantasy

All fiction allows for readers to be engulfed in a story; however, fantasy allows those same readers to be engulfed in a completely different world with elements so different from our own. Therefore, fantasy allows readers to have a feeling of escapism and to continue developing the imagination well into adulthood.

Summary: What is a Fantasy Story?

Define fantasy in literature: In summation, a work of fantasy fiction includes settings that are imaginary and often times magical in nature. The characters in works of fantasies often have magical abilities or include magical creatures such as beasts.

Final Example:

The children’s book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis is an example of a fantasy book. In this classic story, a group of young siblings find a magical world that exists in the back of a wardrobe. This children escape into this world and find themselves in company of magical creatures and evil characters.