Love. Passion. Humility. Selflessness. Anados's strange experiences and fantastic encounters in Fairyland expose both his inherent selfish and superficial character flaws. However, they ultimately help foster his growth as a character, as well as, add meaning and purpose to his life that were absent before proving vital for his happiness. At the beginning of his journey through fairy land, Anados experiences love passionately and he confuses his susceptibility to outward appearance of beauty to love. This serious misgiving of his heart and his passion and superficiality are best illustrated with his encounter with the Maid of the Alder, whose inner malicious and evil intentions are masked by her outward beauty.

She began, and told me a strange tale, which, likewise, I cannot recollect; but which, at every turn and every pause, somehow or other fixed my eyes and thoughts upon her extreme beauty; seeming always to culminate in something that had a relation, revealed or hidden, but always operative, with her own loveliness. I lay entranced. It was a tale which brings back a feeling as of snows and tempests; torrents and water-sprites; lovers parted for long, and meeting at last; with a gorgeous summer night to close up the whole. I listened till she and I were blended with the tale; till she and I were the whole history. And we had met at last in this same cave of greenery, while the summer night hung round us heavy with love, and the odours that crept through the silence from the sleeping woods were the only signs of an outer world that invaded our solitude. [47-48]

As Anados describes what will become a deadly encounter with a dangerous foe, he employs images of nature to describe the intense feelings that he felt. He describes the tale that she tells as bringing "back a feeling as of snows, and tempests; torrents . . . meeting at last; with a gorgeous summer night", these images of "snow", a "gorgeous summer" creates an atmosphere of innocence, simplicity, beauty with no altruistic intentions. The use of "tempest" and "torrents" describe the passion her beauty evokes within him, one he blissfully and ignorantly confuses with love. However, Anados' allowing of himself to be seduced in this manner reflects his inner superficiality. He appears concerned only with what he encounters at face value, with no consideration of the hidden intentions any one can have. He quickly falls in love and seeks the return of this love by the objects of his obsession. However, as Anados' experiences and encounters become more numerous he finally begins to understand that outer beauty do not parallel the beauty of the inner soul. Most, importantly, however, he finally learns to control his inner obsession with beauty and his selfish nature, and once he learns the beauty of true love he comes both humble and selfless. He undergoes this life-changing epiphany after he sacrifices his life to end an evil procession. He reflects that he

knew now, that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the loving of each other, and not the being loved by each other, that originates and perfects and assures their blessedness. I knew that love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved, even if that should know him not, bringing him inwardly close to that spirit; a power that cannot be but for good; for in proportions as selfishness intrudes, the love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom dies. Yet all love will, one day, meet its return. All true love will, one day, behold its own image in the eyes of the beloved, and be humbly glad. [201]

Anados is no longer lost, after this final realization. He has learned one of the most important lessons to a happy life. He no longer dwells in depression and sadness, but instead, has a new outlook on life and how to live it. He learns not only about the realities of romantic love, but also the importance of other relationships that complete the soul. Through his epiphany Anados becomes humble, sincere, and selfless; he willingly gives to others without expecting reciprocation.

Questions

1. Alice In Wonderland and Phantastes both create fantastic worlds within the bounds of reality. How do Carroll's and MacDonald's stylistic methods differ in the way that they create these worlds? Do these techniques reflect a different purpose or underlying meaning?

2. Anados repeatedly encounters mystifying women whose beauty does not accurately reflect their souls, instead, masking their sadistic motives and ugly essence of being. In contrast, many male characters embody the traits he desires, including bravery, honesty, nobility, directly correlating with their attractive physical traits. Does this contrast simply reflect coincidence or a more significant underlying theme?

3. Alice in Alice in Wonderland and Anados in Phantastes both escape their constricting roles and self-identification in reality and undergo journeys in which they emerge a much stronger character. How do their journeys of self identification differ? What about these worlds of fantasy allow them to make these discoveries as opposed to their own realities?

4. Nature holds a strong presence in many novels. In novels of fantasy such as Alice In Wonderland, Phantastes, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations. How does the role of nature differ in its stylistic use from novel to novel? What about nature makes it such a common literary technique?

References

MacDonald, George. Phantastes. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000.


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Last modified 23 March 2009