Harry Potter v/s Reality Fiction.
Harry potter. No more Enid Blyton or Carolyn Keene or Alfred Hitchcock. This child wants the excitement of video games woven into words and in a form which his adults seem to approve of. Harry Potter opens for him a world so fantastic that he wished he belonged there instead. A world which sets his heart racing, his adrenalin pumping, satisfies his thirst for unbridled adventure and thrill. For once the geek is the hero and the nerd his apperentice. For once the fat boy and the smart girl wins. For once it’s books over brawn. For once the street smart and the powerful are defeated. For once connections don’t count. (Or perhaps they do. Harry Potter too had a connection. He had connections.) For once, he’d rather be the adventurous nerd than the bullying evil idiot. Perhaps the value system is on track again for him.
Or is it all escapism? Does it just paint the picture of an utopia – Samuel Butler’s erewhon – rather than the rough and tough playgrounds of the school and the pushes and joves of the football field? Something to be said about reality fiction for children here.
Should they read about the poor kid sitting next to him in the class because he got there due to reservations? Or should they meet the street kids who work in zari factories and jewellery workshops? Or should he learn about the kid of divorced parents who tore the child into two as he had to judge on who was his better parent when he wanted both? Or should he be told about the kid who took to drinking beer at the age of 7 because his single parent father was a pervert and would spend on beer rather than on milk?
Is reality fiction for children correct in this day and age rather than expensive Potter’s fantasy which some kids can read only in the school library (if the school allows it and affords to keep it) while he can book it even before the release? Should kids learn about how the less privileged children live?
Or should there be a healthy mixture of both? Surely, both children have a right to fantasy, to enjoy their childhood while they can. Surely, the school textbooks are full of reality fiction rather then Harry Potters – which really is the essence of why Harry potter is a succes. On the other hand the text books need to have reality fiction as well as Uncle Tom’s Cabin which brings tears to every child’s eye. Followed by the story of Nelson Mandela perhaps?
A decision that one would hate to make. If the only purpose is to get the child to read and read some more, Harry Potter is the answer. However, if school books were a mixture of both, perhaps Harry Potter would not become so addictive.
And finally is there anything which can be termed as ‘reality fiction’ or is it just a term that writers came up with to justify why they ventilated their frustrations into a children’s story book. Because reality is not fiction. It is reality.