WORLD OF FANTASY: INNER
WORKINGS OF THE WRITER AND
THE YOUNG ADULT READER’S
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Fantasy literature is popular among young adults, providing them with escape from the
struggles and confusion that are characteristic of this stage of their lives. This paper
presents an investigation of the young adult reader’s response to particular themes of
fantasy literature that are especially important and relevant to their development. This
paper will focus on novels written by Australian fantasy writer, Isobelle Carmody. An
exploration of Carmody’s novels reveals several prevalent themes that relate to the
development of young adults. Two examples of key themes that rise from these novels
are the issue of indifference, and the feeling of alienation. According to Erikson’s and
Piaget’s developmental theories, these themes are particularly pertinent for young adults
who are struggling with building a strong and integrated identity.
The popularity of fantasy literature has increased with many popular fantasy novels being
adapted into films. In 2001-2003, J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings,
began this trend of fantasy novels adapted into films. In 2005, C. S. Lewis’s enduringly
popular children’s fantasy, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, was also adapted into a
film. More recently, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has captivated wide audiences all
over the world. As a response to the novels’ phenomenal success, each Potter novel has
been adapted into movies since 2001.
Fantasy literature is appealing, not only because it is entertaining, but because it also
allows the reader to escape, and often is therapeutic for the reader. Fantasy literature
presents a world that is unfamiliar and appears unrecognisable in terms of the real world.
This characteristic provides readers an escape from the routine world...