Wednesday, June 8

Tuck Everlasting & Surrealism

Words that are often used to describe surrealistic literature include disjointed, bizarre, and juxtaposed...

Surrealist literature often has contrasting images or ideas, which helps to steer readers away from societal influence and open up the individual's mind.  This style uses poetic imagery to create dreamlike and fantastic stories that often defy logic. Rather than incorporate linear plots and structured settings, surrealism uses leaps in thinking (free association), abstract ideas, and nonlinear timelines.  

This genre isn’t limited to literature either. You’ll also find it expressed in movies and art, like renowned artist Salvador Dali. Shortly after World War I, European art became controlled by politics. It was a way of maintaining order and keeping revolution at bay. However, surrealists wanted to break free from the constraints being posed on art.  Surrealist artists sought to free people spiritually and psychologically, trying to repair the damage done by WWI.

When writing surrealistic fiction, try some of these techniques:

  • Include dream sequences
    • Entire works of literature, such as 'Dream Within a Dream,' by Edgar Allen Poe or 'The Wizard of Oz,' by Frank Baum, are based entirely on dreams filled with fantasy.  You may read an entire work of literature only to find out the entire story was someone’s dream.
  • Play with irrationality
    • Surrealistic authors are trying to free readers from the constraints of reality to explore the impossible.  Think about 'The Chronicles of Narnia,' in which a piece of furniture represents a gateway to another realm of reality.
  • Use shocking imagery
    • Remember the tunnel scene in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'?  Contrast colors and other sensory imagery to describe a jolting scene that will shock and engage the reader.
  • Bend space and time
    • Jump around in time, along multiple concurrent timelines, making the reader wonder which reality is real, or if any of them truly are.  Timelines can also merge, such as they frequently do in the tv show 'Fringe.'
  • Get psychological
    • Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious is the basis for many dream sequences and archetypal characters.  Examples of archetypes include the mother-child relationship, the father-child relationship, or the hero. Jung believed that the collective unconscious was an inherited collection of knowledge and images that every human being has at birth. People are unaware of the items contained in their collective unconscious, but you can tap into it to bring the reader directly into the story.

Our spine read for this unit is Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt)

Snag the entire unit in the Literary Elements Novel Study Bundle!!

Five unit studies covering literary styles and elements. Each unit addresses a new topic and includes introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • After this text, you will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

  • Literary Elements with Dragonwatch (product sample)
  • Creating a World with the Phantom Tollbooth
  • Writing Dystopia with the Giver
  • Writing Fantasy with the Hobbit
  • Writing Surrealism with Tuck Everlasting

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