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Fantasy Literature and Cultural Traditions - Essay Example

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This research paper “Fantasy Literature and Cultural Traditions” examines poems “Beowulf”, and “The Odyssey” (both epic poems), and The Hobbit, a novel by Tolkien. All the works are from different cultural tradition and belong to totally different genres…
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Fantasy Literature and Cultural Traditions
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Download file to see previous pages However, in the analysis of both genres of literature, one must recognize the fact that they are produced by various societal contexts. These contexts should never be pushed aside. The poems that will be analyzed in this write-up are “Beowulf”, and “The Odyssey” (epic poems), and The Hobbit, a novel by Tolkien would also come under the eyes of scrutiny. All the works that have been mentioned so far are from different cultural tradition. As asserted earlier, poetry and fantasy literature belong to totally different genres but they have a number of attributes in common. One of the features they have in common is that the settings in both are usually more than what the normal minds of mortal can comprehend. (This description is rather general because poems which are often described as contemporary have settings that are encountered on a daily basis). Using Beowulf as a case study, the settings mostly encountered in the poem are in no way similar to those that the average person encounters on a regular basis. One must recall that the poem itself has roots in oral literature. Oral literature is not averse to modifications of the truth. The truth itself is relative. So, the story told in the poem must have undergone a lot of modifications. The point, however, is that, in its written form, the poem has a number of settings that may not be feasible in real life. One of such settings is where Beowulf fight’s Grendel’s mother. In “The Odyssey”, many examples would suffice; the place....
Same applies to fantasy stories like The Hobbit in which the reader also gets to encounter settings that people who are unimaginative would find to be totally unrealistic. The hobbit, Bilbo, is the creation of Tolkien’s imagination as they do not exist in real life. “The Odyssey” is a product of the Ancient Greek society while “Beowulf” is a product of the Anglo-Saxon societies. From the content of the two poems, even though the poems belong to two different ages they have certain features in common, one of the features they have in common is that, the societies that produced them believed that a man’s worth is mainly dependent on his valor. Beowulf got ready, donned his war-gear, indifferent to death;  his mighty, hand-forged, fine-webbed mail would soon meet with the menace underwater. It would keep the bone-cage of his body safe Alexandra (1995) The people’s hero is one who is able to fight for their people. In fighting for their people, they are able to go to the limits which other humans cannot go. In cases like that of Odyssey, if the occasion calls for it, they may even have to fight against the gods. This is because as a result of the grandeur, they have become gods to themselves. On the other hand, the society that produced Tolkien’s The Hobbit is of the twentieth century. One must mention that the period when Tolkien wrote the book in the 1930s was marked by a number of other highly imaginative works like his. Another ensign of the period was the satires where common. One of such other works that satirize in highly imaginative was Gulliver’s Travels. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is itself a satire. Using “Beowulf” as the example, there are poetic techniques that mark the literature of the Anglo-Saxon out. They are caesura, alliteration and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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