Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-11-2018


Mazour, Abbigail. "The Reality of Escape in Fantasy." The University of Nebraska--Lincoln, 2018.


Copyright Abbigail Mazour 2018


This paper seeks to examine the instances of escape experienced by the characters in popular fantasy novels such as The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and looks at how this escape teaches its audiences lessons about the real world and philosophical truths. It answers the question of whether or not fantasy is escape and why, accepting fantasy as escapist, this genre—and escape itself—is valuable to its audiences. The method for completing this project was a close analysis of the primary texts The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter along with the research and writing done by Tolkien himself and other scholars.

The first main discovery is that fantasy is “escape of the prisoner”, as reflected by the instances of characters escaping in the novels. The second is that escape fantasy is closely rooted to the real world and philosophical truths, and escaping into these stories offers the same benefits to readers as escaping danger does to the characters. All of this leads to the conclusion that, in a world where secondary worlds are rapidly growing, escaping into thoughtfully constructed fantasy is invaluable for hope and humanity.