Out Of Mind

March 6th, 2004

English 12

Research Paper

Imagine a world where one has a familiar, or a daemon, running alongside them at all times. Or a world where dragons impede one’s movement from place to place. These are the worlds that young adult writers try to place inside of the minds of children and adolescents. These fantastical creatures and places in young adult literature are used mainly for allegorical purposes. An allegory is a symbolic representation, or using something to teach a lesson or moral. The interest that the fantasy draws from a child enraptures both the conscious and subconscious minds. This allows the lesson to be driven deep into the mind of the child or adolescent.

The mind of a young adult and the mind of an adult vary greatly. Out of the entire brain, the frontal lobe takes the longest to develop fully. The sulci, (indented areas) of the brain contain most of the emotional sensors and these continue to be developed throughout adolescence. The fact that this area is not fully developed in the young adult years leads to an increase in impressionability. Impressionability is the way that it is possible to impress ideas, lessons, and morals into the mind, The ability to engulf the mind in emotion and thought enables the lesson to pass freely into the mind without it being questioned. That is where the creatures and magic come into play. It’s as if the dragon’s claws were to reach into the child’s mind and open it to new ideas.

It takes a talented individual to be able to manipulate an adolescent’s mind. While there are hundreds upon hundreds of children’s writers in the world, there are a few who stand a head above the rest.

Christopher Paolini is a nineteen year old college freshman in Italy. He wrote his first two books, Eragon and Eldest, at the age of 17. The books are centered around fantasy and dragons. What makes Christopher Paolini such an excellent young adult, fantasy fiction writer is the feeling that goes into his writing. His ability to create a world lies in the background of his life. He was raised in Gloucester, England until the age of 12. His father’s job then moved them to Italy. In order to escape ridicule by his peers in seventh and eighth grade, he immersed himself into his studies and read anything he could get his hands on. He was once quoted as saying, "Fantasy is the only place I feel real. Everyone has different dimensions to their personality, it’s jusat that mine don’t lie in different dimensions, they lie in different realms." His love of fantasy and his ability to immerse himself into other worlds allows him to spin a tale that enthralls the minds of adolescents and adults alike.

Another writer that should be put upon a pedestal is one that has recreated the willingness to read in the world’s youth. Her name is J.K. Rowling. She lives in England and is in the process of writing a series of books. At the current moment in time, she is writing book number six in a proposed series of seven books. The first five books are entitled, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order fo the Phoenix. She has two small children to whom she reads her books before they ever go to print in order to see how they react to the different stimulae in the stories. Her ultimate goal is to inspire understanding and compassion in children and adolescents. This is how her stories hold the attention of the world’s youth. She is able to place herself in the tale and she writes with well‑worded emotion.

Another excellent fantasy fiction writer is a woman by the name of Cornelia Funke. She has written two books, The Thief Lord, and Inkheart. Inkheart was her second book to be written and published, however it is the first one to contain elements of fantasy. It takes it’s styling from a variety of different authors and books, but has the tendency to remind one most strongly of