As well as my story being of the fantasy genre, with its plots and characters as I have previously discussed, I am also going to incorporate Dystopian aspects. A stereotypical trope of Dystopia is an oppressed society. This is seen in Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go. The characters of Ness’s book are oppressed in several ways. The main way is by their thoughts constantly being voiced without a filter, something which is known as ‘noise’. They have no privacy (Ness, p.
20). This is a trope I will be subverting in my book as instead I want to focus on how the society can work together to save itself. Nevertheless, it will focus on a ‘society in which there is great suffering’, one of the descriptions that the Oxford Dictionary gives to the term Dystopia. Rather than stemming from a corrupt leadership, this great suffering will arise out of the decline of the kingdom, and its people’s efforts to save it, and survive.
Although the books I have studied are not set in a desert, I found inspiration in descriptions of buildings and their ruins in order to envision what the fall of Deselsa will look like. For example, in the description of the Dwarves kingdom in The Hobbit, Tolkien creates its size and grandeur through the many passageways and rooms they have to journey through to travel through it (Tolkien, p.279).
The Oxford Dictionary describes a place that is liminal as somewhere which is in ‘a transitional or initial stage of a process.
’. Considering the location and state of Desela it can be termed as this. It is transforming from being civilised and cultivated by people back to the control of nature. Jonathan Falla states how a ‘landscape may set the mood’ and how ‘it may also reflect the emotions.’. I am choosing to set my story in a desert for this reason, rather than an urban city. Shreve notes how deserts, although all individual, as a majority are places where there is: low and untimely distributed rainfall, low humidity, high air temperatures, strong wind, soil with low organic content and high content of mineral salts, violent erosional work by water and wind, sporadic flow of streams and poor development of nominal dendritic drainage.
Julie Laity states how they are a ‘biologically stressful environment’. Little life can survive there. Plants and animals have been forced to adapt in order to survive. Plants are lighter in colour to ‘maximize the reflection of light’ (Laity, p. 239) to prevent them overheating and animals are nocturnal to avoid the extreme heat of the sun (Laity, p.259).
I intend to use this relentless heat to build the exasperation and anger of my characters with their struggles as Falla states how high temperatures are associated with ‘short tempers’ and ‘sapped energy’ (Falla, p. 120). It will also portray their stubborness as they are unwilling to leave. This will also add an extra level of hardship as they are already are living in a unforgivable environment without the means they need to survive, their kingdom, failing them.
Bront? in her book Wuthering Heights uses pathetic fallacy with the moors and weather. ‘[T]he storm [that] came rattling over the Heights in full fury.’ portrays the anger that Heathcliff is feeling after overhearing a conversation between Nelly and Catherine. Catherine tells Nelly how ‘[i]t would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now’ (Bront?, p. 86). This deeply upsets Heathcliff as not only is he deeply in love with Catherine, but she is the only one who ever showed him any kindness. To have even her reject him increases the rage his character already has. Bront? describes how ‘[t]here was violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split the tree off at the corner of the building.’ (Bront?, p. 90). Her use of visual imagery here embodies not only the mental but physical anger that Heathcliff’s character has, which he later inflicts on other characters such as Isabella, giving her cuts and bruises. (Bront?, p. I will use this technique in my own story with the hot temperature to portray how frustrated my characters are with their predicament as well as their desperation.
In conclusion, there are many tropes that Fantasy and Dystopian stories stereotypically follow that can be used or subverted to engage the reader in my story. I have found this through my research and reading books in the genre by the authors I have discussed. The Good vs Evil motif, although having been used several times, is still successful. This is due to the comforting feeling that the restoration brings or contrastingly despair if not. The allusion to past times in legends and stories when life was better creates a feeling of curiosity for the reader. This inspires them to read on to see if the Hero’s task is accomplished as they also want to bear witness to such times. I will use this in my own story too, contrasting the despair the kingdom is facing now against better idyllic times. Although the stereotypical hero is often male in fantasy, my protagonist will be female. I will use her character to subvert the expectations of what it entails to be empowered and how a female can be strong and not have to take on male qualities to achieve this. To do this I will be using the fantasy genre as a metaphor to avoid the restrictions of realistic fiction. Lastly I will be using the alternative world that I will create to explore how a landscape can be used to portray a character’s mood and feelings.
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