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"Fiction is only a Form of Escapism" - True or False?

Is fiction simply a form of escapism or is there any fiction which raises specific issues that make the reader think. Examples could be racism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Political power in Orwell’s 1984.

  • I think there is certainly more to fiction than just escapism. 1984 and other dystopian fiction novels hype up themes that are present in reality and let readers explore these themes in a way that is both removed and grounded in reality. However, the fantasy genre might delve more deeply into the realm of escapism due to the make-believe aspects, although themes like friendship, love, courage, good vs. evil, etc., are also present in fantasy works. – S.A. Takacs 8 years ago
  • I think even in the escapism there is still ways that literature makes people think and feel - even if it's operating on a subconscious level. Like S.A. Takacs said, I think fantasy is the genre that really uses escapism as a tool for greater commentary on the world we live in. Escapism doesn't have to be shallow. It can be a real way of looking at the colors in the world again, to echo a quote I saw a while ago from George R.R. Martin. – Helen Parshall 8 years ago
  • Everything is escapism. But what's so bad about that? The best stories I've read, often being fantasy books and all, were entertaining, but they were always more than just entertaining, they were truthful, they pulled at my heart, made me feel, made me want something I can never have truly. There's a difference between escaping and going off the deep end into something versus enjoying and getting pleasure out of something. I find that critics who accuse various genres, such as fantasy, romance, and so on, don't really know what they're talking about. Clearly they haven't read the poetic mastery of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books, written as if it were an actual epic tale transcribed, or Neil Gaiman's surreal masterpiece, American Gods, exploring an America I've never seen before, and of course Harry Potter, whose story apparently says more than one actually realizes. Even George RR Martin's Game of Thrones says something about human nature. It's just a bit more hidden through the lens of entertainment and pleasure, which perhaps makes it a lot more enjoyable to find and interpret. And perhaps what escapism really is, is a desire that has gone unfulfilled and is wished for constantly again and again. Yet at the same time it is satisfied. Hope this is good food for thought. – Starvix Draxon 8 years ago
  • Like Starvix says, everything is escapism. However, just because something is intended for escapism, does not mean it has to serve only one function. Literature can provide alternative/examination/solution while escaping from stressful and problematic topics of reality. – idleric 8 years ago

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