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At what points in this novel do you feel its author is breaking out of realist modes of story telling into the realms of fantasy?

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Introduction

At what points in this novel do you feel its author is breaking out of realist modes of story telling into the realms of fantasy? It is these bursts of fantasy, mentioned in the title, which Carter injects into her work of fiction 'Wise Children' that makes this novel the perfect example of the carnivalesque. This term accounts for the surrealism of the novel which moves away from the tragedies of Dora's tale, celebrating the lighter side of life. According to Daphne Moor, the main features of the carnivalesque include intertextuality, 'the levelling or inversions of hierarchies,' 'revelry and celebration', 'the chaos of change and of fluctuation', 'laughter that regenerates even as it reduces', and finally the 'acknowledgement of the body and its cycles of birth, aging and death as well as the organic functions of eating'. All of these factors are applicable to 'Wise Children'. Although there are elements throughout the first chapter, one of the best examples of the carnivalesque here is when Carter first introduces us to Perry. He is in fact portrayed by Carter in this way as she does not trap him in Dora's dialogic, polyphonic narration, but also allows him to have a magical, spontaneous quality about him so that pandemonium seems to follow him through each page. ...read more.

Middle

By comparing the 'paternal' relationships in this way, Carter is not only looking at the legitimate versus the illegitimate, she is also shifting perspectives from past to present, which she does effectively through Dora's polyphonic narration, and as the histories of the two families unravel, we learn of complete unconventional behaviour which turns the world upside down, undermining marriage. For example, the fathering of wrong children, even more so two sets of twins. All of these qualities are typical carnivalesque characteristics, which break out of the realist modes of story telling. However, this matter of twins is a recurring theme proving to form the central plot which, on several occasions, breaks into the novels many realms of fantasy. The 'double faced' Hazard/Chance family initially appears to be the perfect divide between popular culture and high culture, illegitimate and legitimate and upper class and working class. However, as Dora's tale unfolds these clear divides prove to be lies, false within her own family and according to Lorna Sage, proving how "badly they fit into the complexity and hybridity of British society and culture." We have Melchior and Peregrine, fraternal twins, "sons of the marriage of Estella and Ranulph Hazard." ...read more.

Conclusion

The penultimate ending of the Chances walking down Bard Road with their baby twins, one female and male, can be perceived to bring a positive end, taking away gender as a basis for "differentiation from the individuation process." Although this episode is moving into the realms of fantasy, a dream of Nora's, like Dora said 'the carnival has to end', and I truly believe this imagery of the two sets of twins going down past number 41, with a Rastafarian poking his head out of what was their window shouting "Drunk in charge of a baby carriage, at your age" brings full circle all of the carnivalesque qualities of Dora's narrative, the issues such as the 'acknowledgement of the body and its cycles of birth, aging and death,' which we have become so accustomed to, that it is no longer carnivalesque. Thus we can see that Carter most certainly breaks out of the realist modes of story telling into the realms of fantasy at several points throughout the novel, so much so that ultimately the reader actually becomes so at ease with Angela Carters bawdy, carnivalesque and outrageous story that it slowly becomes realism. Christina Hardinge 09/05/2007 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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