Original Paper

Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 52-63

First online:

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

  • Roger ClarkAffiliated withFaculty of Arts, York St John University Email author 
  • , Keith McDonaldAffiliated withFaculty of Arts, York St John University

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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.


Film Fairy tale Fascism Spanish cinema Childhood Fantasy