, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 52-63
Date: 23 Jan 2010

“A Constant Transit of Finding”: Fantasy as Realisation in Pan’s Labyrinth

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Abstract

This article considers Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth as a text which utilises key codes and conventions of children’s literature as a means of encountering the trauma of Fascism. The article begins by placing Pan’s Labyrinth at a contextual crossroads involving fairy tale and a Spanish cinematic tradition and considers the significance of the text as a hybrid creation. It then explores some of the tropes and motifs that are re-imagined within the narrative. There follows an investigation of the film as a testament to the importance of fiction and fantasy when faced with the very real consequences of war, oppression and trauma. Finally, Pan’s Labyrinth is considered alongside a heritage of children’s literature whose motifs, symbols and figures are remarkably available for appropriation, re-invention and renewal.

Roger Clark is Senior Lecturer in Literature Studies at York St John University. He has taught in Higher Education in the UK for many years and has published on the literature of childhood and contemporary fiction.
Keith McDonald is a Lecturer in Media and Film at York St John University. His publications appear in Biography: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly, The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror and Scope: an Online Journal of Film and TV. He is the author of Film and Television Textual Analysis (Auteur, 2006) and his research interests include popular culture, new media and pedagogy.