Term Paper: Holes by Louis Sachar

Pages: 6 (2233 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] He is a man of power and the power comes from and through his music. The bard, his human and elven friends fight modern greed, hatred and corruptness. This battle involves elves and half-elves who have disguised themselves to fit into modern day San Francisco. They also battle secret government agencies which is kidnapping people with psi abilities. The whole concept of psi abilities being real in our world is a fairy tale in and of itself. Lackey has another series of books in which the elves and their human friends are heavily into auto racing.

Another outstanding example of the modern fairy tale would be J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. First of all, Harry is a fairy tale character. He is the Ugly Duckling. He is Cinderella. He is Snow White, who must flee brutality and who must leave home to find a kinder, more loving way of life. He is the youngest, the misunderstood, the different one from tale after tale.

The way Rowling has used the British private school system as a basis for her tale, is quite interesting and is so matter-of-fact. Doesn't everyone get their letter of acceptance to school by owl, and of course, Harry gets his letter at the same time his cousin is getting his acceptance to the school he will be attending. All the elements that must be included in order for there to be a proper, modern school are included. There is mostly modern transportation, although it is to be supposed that today, most kids would be driven to school by their parents. There is a headmaster, all the various instructors or as they are called in the British system, masters of various subjects. The foundations the fairy tale is built on are solid, real-world blocks. Then the fantasy aspects take off. Instead of classes such as grammar, biology, and algebra, Harry and his peers study History of Magic -- from a ghost instructor who doesn't seem to know he is dead. They study potions, which their instructor, a thoroughly unlikable warlock named Snape, calls a, "...subtle science and exact art..." Everyone has had both kind of instructor at one time or another. Perhaps not so much in grade school or even in high school but if you go on to college, there are the people with their degrees in boring and the absolute dictators who take out their frustrations on hapless students. The difference is, of course, in college you can drop a course if you really can't stand the instructor, and, in the private school you would be stuck with him or her until the end of the term. Then, of course, there is quidditch! For reality schools, the game might be rugby or soccer. Quidditch seems to incorporate many of the features of these two games with the addition of -- flying. The enthusiasm, the fanatical loyalty to the game, and to teams, are all elements that continue to provide touch stones with the realities the fantasy plays off of.

Whether it is digging holes in a dry lake bed that eventually leads to breaking a family "curse,"; a street musician, called a busker, who plays for Renaissance Fairs and awakens elves with a magic he doesn't even know he has; or elves who are deeply in love with fast cars, magic meshed with the everyday world is the direction of the new fairy tale. The overwhelming popularity of Harry Potter and his adventures, shows that humans and perhaps especially, young people, need magic, need the supernatural as part of their world. Perhaps humans always need to be presented with the possibility that forces beyond what you can see and hear and touch really do exist. As humans we want to believe in something greater than ourselves. We want to see those forces operating in the "real" world so that, for a while, we can suspend not our disbelief, but our understanding of real life, and entertain the ideas that all things are possible in our world.

Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone New York: Scholastic, 1997

Sachar, Louis. Holes New York: Dell Yearling, 1998 [END OF PREVIEW]

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