The topic I have chosen to discuss is the function and meaning of dreams and dreaming in fantasy texts. Dreaming, in this context, is an implicit representation of the characters ideals and their wants. I believe the function of dreaming in fairy tales to be a temporary escape from ones reality, a reflection of ones true desires, as well as a tool that gives dimension to the characters, while at the same time allowing the reader to better understand the mind of the characters.
This is demonstrated with the characters of Cinderella, in the different versions of Cinderella in the classic Fairy Tales, as well as with Isabelle Marie, in Mad Shadows. In Mad Shadows, the main character Isabelle Marie is deemed “ugly” by her mother, and for this reason is treated as virtually a slave and made to tend to the needs of her mother and more beautiful brother Patrice, who gets all of their mothers attention for being beautiful. Isabelle Marie then meets Michel, a blind boy with whom she falls in love with, and he with her on the pretense of her lying to him about being beautiful.
During scenes where she is running around the meadow with him, temporarily escaping her life, she dreams of being beautiful and accepted by Michel. , almost to the point of delusion. “Wishing to be beautiful will probably make me beautiful, thought Isabelle Marie, to justify her game. ” (p. 42. ), game being her deception of Michel. Her being beautiful would make her situation much different. Her mother would accept her, Michel would accept her, and so she believes her life would be easier and naturally much better would she be beautiful.
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Dreaming in these texts proves a temporary escape from the situations of these young girls who are in less than desirable positions. Another function of dreaming in these texts would be a reflection of the characters true desires, in this case a longing to be accepted and loved. Isabelle Marie does not feel loved and accepted. Her mother Louise does not accept or love her daughter because she is not seen as beautiful as her brother Patrice. Michel, the boy she meets and falls in love with, falls in love with her because Isabelle Marie lies and tells him she is beautiful. She wanted to be in love, to be beautiful. Both of them were pure, for in [her] longed a desire for perfect beauty (p. 36). This demonstrates Isabelle Marie’s desperation to be accepted and loved. Both Cinderella and Isabelle Marie’s true desires are to be accepted and loved, one through meeting her prince charming, and the other through becoming physically beautiful. Lastly, dreaming serves as a functional tool in fantasy texts as a way of giving characters more dimension, as well as allowing the reader to comprehend the mind and actions of the characters.
In Mad Shadows, the look we are given into Isabelle Marie’s wants allow us to understand why she acts certain ways that otherwise would seem evil and without purpose. When Louise goes on a trip and Isabelle Marie starves and taunts her brother Patrice to the point of illness, we understand why she feels the need to commit such acts: “By depriving him of food she could make him pale and wan, and this creature who had never known the touch of misery would become her puppet. ” (p. 15).
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