One of my heroes, G.K. Chesterton, said, “The old fairy tales endure forever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal.” Discovering that the modern world can still contain the wonder and strangeness of a fairy tale is part of what my novels are about.
...everyone knows that road, the one leading out of town into a deep green expanse of pastures and old farmhouses, which at first makes it seem like you're entering a fairy tale, something sweet and old fashioned and lost in time. But, like all fairy tales, the beginning is always beautiful, a ruse to draw you into something you aren't anticipating.
In the mid–path of my life, I woke to find myself in a dark wood,' writes Dante, in The Divine Comedy, beginning a quest that will lead to transformation and redemption. A journey through the dark of the woods is a motif common to fairy tales: young heroes set off through the perilous forest in order to reach their destiny, or they find themselves abandoned there, cast off and left for dead. The road is long and treacherous, prowled by wolves, ghosts, and wizards — but helpers also appear along the way, good fairies and animal guides, often cloaked in unlikely disguises. The hero's task is to tell friend from foe, and to keep walking steadily onward.
All of the great mythologies and much of the mythic story-telling of the world are from the male point of view. When I was writing The Hero with a Thousand Faces and wanted to bring female heroes in, I had to go to the fairy tales. These were told by women to children, you know, and you get a different perspective. It was the men who got involved in spinning most of the great myths. The women were too busy; they had too damn much to do to sit around thinking about stories. [...]In the Odyssey, you'll see three journeys. One is that of Telemachus, the son, going in quest of his father. The second is that of the father, Odysseus, becoming reconciled and related to the female principle in the sense of male-female relationship, rather than the male mastery of the female that was at the center of the Iliad. And the third is of Penelope herself, whose journey is [...] endurance. Out in Nantucket, you see all those cottages with the widow's walk up on the roof: when my husband comes back from the sea. Two journeys through space and one through time.
Dr. Manning said he'd thought at first it might be sleeping sickness, or even narcolepsy, whatever that was, but - no, Pete was healthy enough physically. Manoel growled that the boy was bone-lazy, spending his time fishing and reading. Reading! No good could come of such things.'In a way you're right, Manoel,' Dr. Manning said hesitantly. 'It's natural for a boy to day-dream now and then, but I think Pedro does it too much. I've let him use my library whenever he wanted, but it seems... h'm... it seems he reads the wrong things. Fairy tales are very charming, but they don't help a boy to cope with real life.''Com certeza,' Manoel agreed. 'You mean he has crazy ideas in the head.''Oh, they're rather nice ideas,' Dr. Manning said. 'But they're only fairy tales, and they're beginning to seem true to Pete. You see, Manoel, there are really two worlds, the real one, and the one you make up inside your mind. Sometimes a boy - or even a man - gets to like his dream world so much he just forgets about the real one and lives in the one he's made up.''I know,' Manoel said. 'I have seen some who do that. It is a bad thing.''It would be bad for Pete. He's a very sensitive boy. If you live too much in dreams, you can't face real life squarely.'("Before I Wake...")
G.K. Chesterton once wrote that the trouble with people who do not believe in God is not that they then believe in nothing. It is that they will believe in anything. And the biggest anything around for people to believe in, in our day, is the State. We might put it this way. We should substitute for the wonder of the imagination the irritable flush of political partisanship. We should accept the maxim that all human endeavor is ultimately about power. Therefore education is about power. So is art.