Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

Sad Little GirlFantasy for children is especially important during heart rendering and traumatic events in a child’s life. Fantasy and fairy tales do many things emotionally and psychologically to help the child to understand the world in a broader sense. Fantasy teaches and the individual learns about the world and life itself.

An example of a thematic concept or theme, as depicted in the fictional novel: Delphi Altair, Strange Beginnings, is presented when twelve-year-old Megan Donnelly’s mother has recently passed way. Megan, devastated by the loss of her mother, receives a mysterious package to be opened on her thirteen’s birthday. Inside the package is a very old leather-bound journal with mysterious symbols on the cover.

Megan begins to read the secret journal about a young girl named Delphi Altair and discovers that Delphi has suffered the loss of both of her parents. Megan can now relate emotionally, and with empathy, to Delphi’s grief and a bond of understanding is created.  However, before you begin to read the secret journal, writes the author of the secret journal, you must put aside the world as you see it because things are not at all, what they appear to be.  This statement suggests that although death seems final, a belief that life and death are not simple concepts, that there is, perhaps, and a reason to believe that “all is not lost”.

When a child is suffering a traumatic loss, such as the loss of a much-loved parent, the need to remain close to the lost loved one is paramount to healthy healing. By providing a tangible source of comfort, such as a fictional companion to create empathy and understanding, her mother keeps her child engaged in the present as well as the future in a way that will help to heal her child’s heart.

 

8 thoughts on “Thematic Concepts in Fantasy Fiction

  1. A lovely post, Karen. I am grateful I have not as yet suffered the loss of anyone really close to me so have been spared this grief to date.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roberta, thank you so much. I have lost both my parents and others that I loved and are still dear to me in my heart always. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennie says:

    Wonderful post, Karen!

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  3. Anonymole says:

    A noteworthy sentiment. Fred Rogers would approve. In fact, were the ghost of Mr. Rogers to haunt our child authors, I can’t think that they shouldn’t pay attention to his whispers.

    Fantasy is both a safe and frightening space to play. But detached. Which is important. Connection to others, albeit fictional characters, is no less nurturing. In fantasy we control what we believe. Control being the operative word. Children, above all things, need to feel that they have control of some parts of their lives. Don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anonymole, I agree with you completely and it is so vitally important for children to have some control over their lives. As a mom of two grown up daughters now, I know my beliefs that completely agree with yours, worked beautifully. Both my daughters are happy, college educated, and are very successful in their own right and they believe in themselves. so important to have self belief. Thank you for your very erudite comment – so welcomed. Karen 🙂

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  4. I read this post with a great deal of interest. Is fantasy used in grief therapy for children?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, by some psychologists and when I was working as a volunteer at St. Judes hospital for children with cancer I used fantasy frequently to help the little ones understand in a magical way and they loved it. It worked so well that I was offered a job there where I would help children emotionally with language they could understand and fantasy done well, always helps so much. It was back in 1988-89. I was quite young, in my late twenties.

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