Magic in Literature

I knew that some people don’t want their children to read fairy tales or other books that involve magic, but I didn’t know anyone like that personally. Until recently. So I’ve thought more about that. It puzzles me. Magical elements in literature have never been denied me, and honestly I can’t imagine a life without fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White. My kids and I are reading Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen right now, and it is full of cool (shiver!) magic.

I don’t know all the reasons behind choosing to filter magic out of a child’s exposure, but I’m guessing part of it is because the magical powers do not come from God. Perhaps it comes from the devil? I rather admire these parents for sticking to their guns because it must be really difficult to keep magic away from a child. So many fairy tales and other books involve magic in some way.

I believe the imagination is magical (and I also believe it is God-given). The imagination can conjure entire fantasy worlds, plot game after mysterious game, and create pictures in the mind that could never exist in real life. And I believe fairy tales stretch our imagination in really good ways. Real life can feel so limited sometimes! I love falling into the realm of the imagination, and I want that for my children too.

On the grown-up level, magical realism might be my favorite genre. I’m thinking of authors like Alice Hoffman and Toni Morrison. I want to write magical realism. I’m practicing.


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