Degree Name



Theatre and Media Arts


Fine Arts and Communications

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Jeff Parkin

First Faculty Reader

Jill Rudy

Honors Coordinator

Dean Duncan


fantastic, genre, film, Todorov


This thesis explores the effect of genre on storytelling, specifically the effect of the Fantastic in creating, within narrative, intrinsic meaning. In life and fiction, there exists a gap between what is ideal and what is real, a gap of mortality. Human’s struggle with this gap results in many forms of creation and meaning making. The Fantastic, as defined by literary critic Tzvetan Todorov, seeks to bridge this gap. In this examination, we take Todorov’s literary critique and apply it to four films of modern fantasy, showcasing the language and mechanics of the genre and its effectual way of bridging this gap of mortality in contemporary media. The first of these films is The Secret of Kells where I breakdown its use of setting and design. Next is Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), where I examine the use of structure and perspective. I then observe the thematic patterns and motifs of the film Where the Wild Things Are, concluding with a holistic look at all the elements previously examined in the short film The Man in the Tree.