Courage is arguably a predominant theme in fantasy literature. From the ancient tales such as Epic of Gilgamesh as well as Beowulf, the elements of courage in these fantasy tales have over the generations captured the total imagination of the young readers.
Today, with the growing popularity of such fantasy works as The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Porter series, the genre as well as the aspects of courage has grown to be popular all the time. Though, some pundits object to the plain presence of supernatural or magical forces in young adult literature, these aspects do compel young adults to explore diverse social elements through reading (Tuck 103).
Fantasy narratives are generally characterized by insidious use of magical or supernatural powers not present or found in our everyday society. These aspects are injected in the plot, setting, theme and the storyline. The concept of courage is etched in the everyday objects which are enveloped with supernatural powers including the individuals who realize that they have supernatural powers.
For instance, the classic fantasy novel “The Black Cauldron” the concept of courage is articulated considerably. The author asserts that in the Land of Prydain, where evil is everywhere the Black Cauldron be destroyed for cauldron Arawn had formed an army of deathless soldiers.
However, the adventure presents an opportunity for Taran, the assistant Pig-Keeper a chance to use his sword and prove that he is a man among men. To sustain a continuous flow of the novels sequence the author employs the use of plot within a plot to establish his theme. Therefore, exploring the concept of courage he employs the use suspense and imagery.
This is well illustrated by the manner such characters as Eilonwy, the tough willed and hot-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the exaggeration-prone lyricist; the faithful Gurgi; in addition to the curmudgeonly Doli are developed. These characters are all involved in an epic fight involving good and evil that is illustrated as determining the fate of the renowned land of Prydain.
Presenting the tale of Taran, the assistant Pig-Keeper of Prydain, the author knits a decisive tale that captures the imagination of the young adults considerably. This is effected by the manner he explores the concept of heroism.
Using motley of plot sequences he examines the aspects of sacrifice, dedication, courage as well as the honor of being faithful. Hence, the aspects of courage are witnessed where Taran and his close associates are called upon to seek and eliminate the Black Cauldron, which was being exploited by Arawn ,the Lord of the Land of Death to create soldiers from the corpses of his slain enemies.
Drawing a line from the contemporary society the author attempts to relate the happenings in the adventure with the real world. Despite the adventure being complex the author doesn’t shy away from presenting both the strongholds and weakness of his characters. This is a good element of any fantasy novel.
However, he goes beyond that by incorporating unique features within his characters. Consider that he depicts the support characters as fearless individuals who were ready to sacrifice. Also, he creates scenes that illustrate the unending dedication of the warriors who were fighting the evil Arawn. And that’s why such character as Eilonwy is all the time inspiring due to her to her courage and determination.
Equally, to illustrate how the characters embraced the hostile challenges the novel shows how determined and courageous Taran and his friends were. Therefore, the concept of courage is utilized to forge the character personality. These qualities are essential in establishing a suitable fantasy literature work (Lamb 24).
Young Adult readers have a unique taste for diverse themes as well as a distinct preference for specific writings. However, to capture their imagination the Black Cauldron carries far greater and mature themes which reflect the nature and life of the Prydain.
More so, this involves examining the manner the characters relates to each other in time of death, challenge or when they were facing the grime reality of death. Therefore, exploring the dynamics of the novel, the concepts of courage are explained through instances of challenge where individual dedication was placed under severe test.
Most authors do not interlace the elements of heroism and courage. The manner Black Cauldron presents the element of courage is profoundly critical. Consider the fact that princes as well as war captains who are all well armed goes to Caer Dallben with a solo mission: to destroy the Cauldron.
However, this arrangement elates Taran; the Assistant Pig-Keeper for it was an opportunity for him to participate in the mission. Therefore, Taran is symbolically presented as the face of courage. Though he faces quite a number of challenges he can be said to be the face of the entire adventure.
This indicates that the author employs the dwarf Doli, bard-king Fflewddur Fflam, Ellidyr, and Prince Gwydion as support characters that make Taran rediscover his selfless dedication. The best illustration is provided when these characters together with Taran rides to attack Annuvin, Arawn’s land with the aim of rescuing Eilonwy and Gurgi. But they came to discover there were other greater forces despite Arawn and Gwydion who were interested with Cauldron.
The complexity of the plot indicates the manner the author examines the multiplicity of issues relevant to the young adult readers. It should be noted that unlike in the adult literature, the use of imagery is done in way that the reader is allowed to relate to the characters. Hence, the injection of fantasy through a simple yet flowing language explains the authority the author executes in attracting the young adult readers.
Also the manner the plot of the adventure reflects instrumentally how the young readers perceive the power of supernatural forces. Consider the instance where Taran assumes the Adaon ornament, as agreed, and came to note it has magical powers which it give to its user. More so, it give the wearer prophetic visions. Using the magical powers of the ornament Taran courageously leads the others to discover the houses for Orgoch, Orddu, and Orwen where he exchanges the ornament for the Cauldron.
To young readers the acts of Taran defines how courage compels individuals to overcome personal objectives for the sake of helping others. The manner the characters moves illustrates how one-man courage can cause change. Therefore, ignoring their individual origin Taran and his friends comes together with a common goal of overcoming the evil and destroying their powers.
Without any reserved personal interest they are able to fight and sacrifice for the sake of each other. Using elaborate story-line the author explores the intricate aspects of courage. Hence, he demonstrates courage is being personal and selfless (Norton 104).
For instance, the instance where Taran and his friend upon getting hold of the cauldron attempts to destroy it, but their efforts are fruitless.
The witches inform them that the only approach to obliterate the cauldron is for a breathing person to penetrate the cauldron, deliberately and enthusiastically, sacrificing his personal life to annihilate the cauldron. Examining the journey of the characters it is crucial to note that Taran is illustrates how an individual progresses from a humble beginning to greater heights in life.
Therefore, though the novel is in essence an epic of fantasy it provides the young readers with a sense of purpose as is with the seamless dedication of Taran. With uncompromised courage he stood by his friends despite his background. He sacrificed his personal aspirations for the glory of others. According to the novel Black Cauldron this could only happen due to a heart that is fearless and courageous.
Exploring the dynamics of fantasy literature the author can be said to be successful in his attempt. The use of balanced language, a well developed plot, fair use of literary tools makes the novel attractive.
Therefore, in regard to the scope of exploiting themes relating to either magical or supernatural powers, he builds a profound storyline. This is demonstrated in the manner he delivers Taran as an innocent boy who courageously grows to be a hero. Therefore, despite showing Taran as having been called to act courageously, the boy is wiser though sad. As a Youngman he has witnessed both war and death.
Young readers literature is often tied imagination which borders on reality. Perhaps that is why the Black Cauldron exploits the concepts of fantasy to create a scenario where the characters are utilizing their exceptional powers to overcome. More so, examining their relationship with the outside world it is apparent that venturing into fantasy genus is the best way authors can capture the young readers.
Developing characters who relates to their daily today challenges creates a formidable region of expression. That is why when we examine the authors approach and the manner he shapes his characters, diverse elements are forged in order to build a strong adventure. Thus, Taran is developed to reflect the innate desires of adolescent readers as well as illustrating the manner they can overcome challenges in all social situations.
Therefore, by incorporating elements of love, magic as well as supernatural powers. The characters are given a real touch of the natural setting. Hence, this makes the narrative to remain strong, though there instances where the author fails to reflect the real scope of courage and heroism.
The book is essential instrumental in exploring how the young readers can learn and embrace diverse situations in life. Therefore, the narrative can be said to be a metaphor that is exploited to challenge the young adult readers. This is due to the fact that the manner the characters have been developed portrays their engagements as concerns the scope of real world (Herald 136).
Therefore, the novel Black Cauldron demonstrates courage is an essential ingredient that propels individuals to greater heights. As a challenge to the young readers the author demonstrates how Taran from innocent background overcame social challenges fearlessly.
Thus, despite individual station in life sacrifice, courage and determination nothing is impossible. Hence, brave young men, one a bard in addition to the other a princely combatant, symbolically sacrifice themselves in the fight against the supernatural forces of the cauldron (Alexander 222).
Alexander, Lloyd. Black Cauldron.NY: Holt, 1965.
Herald, Diana Tixier. Reading Interests in Genre Fiction. Englewood: Libraries, 2000.
Lamb, Nancy. Crafting Stories for Children. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest, 2004
Norton, Donna E. An Introduction to Children’s Literature. Columbus: Pearson, 2007.
Tuck, Donald H. Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent, 1974.