Set "in the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived," Margaret Hodges' tale Saint George and the Dragon brings to the world of children Edmund Spenser's classic Faerie Queene. Retold in children's format in 1984, Saint George and the Dragon is based upon Spenser's English legend of the sixteenth century. Through examination of the characteristics that describe fantastic and magical realist literature, a more concise understanding of magical realism can be obtained.
In Saint George and the Dragon, many "magical" elements exist throughout the text. The setting, in the days when "monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England," lays the groundwork for many other mysterious elements (Hodges 7). The Red Cross Knight, the main character of the story, was "bound on a great adventure, sent by the Queen of the Fairies to try his strength against a deadly enemy, a dragon grim and horrible" (Hodges 7).
The Red Cross Knight, with a princess and a dwarf accompanying him, set out to find the dragon. On his way, "there against the evening sky, they saw a mountaintop that touched the highest heavens. It was crowned with a glorious palace sparkling like stars and circled with walls and towers of pearls and precious stones" (Hodges 11). Finally, they saw the dragon. Despite the Red Cross Knight's attempts to kill the dragon, he was unsuccessful. The "half flying, half running" beast threw him to the ground, clapping its wings in victory (15). "But he had fallen beneath a fair apple tree, its spreading branches covered with red fruit, and from that tree dropped a healing dew that the deadly dragon did not dare to come near" (Hodges 16). When the dra...
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...ealistic characteristics, but they function differently in the magical realist mode than they do in Saint George and the Dragon. Although Saint George and the Dragon is not true fantastic literature, many of the elements are the same. By examining the elements that characterize fantastic literature, the boundaries of what can be considered magical realist literature are narrowed.
Faris, Wendy. "Scheherazade's Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris.Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 1995. 125-144.
Hodges, Margaret. Saint George and the Dragon. Boston, M.A.: Little Brown and Company, 1984.
Todorov, Tzvetan. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary From. Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1973. 168-174.
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