Immersive Fantasy: An Exploration of Cultural Diversity in Fantasy Novels

Name: Sarah Rapacz
Major: English
Minor: Art
Advisors: Dr. Claire Eager, Dr. Jennifer Hayward
Immerse is a medieval fantasy novel exploring the relationships between cultures and people in a postwar society. The plot follows a peace initiative featuring several young ambassadors on their quest to learn about each other and their countries in order to prevent a continent-wide war. The three main characters, Lerita, Sora, and Irisin, were all born after the war but they have heard stories of the war growing up and have seen its lasting effects in their day to day life. Lerita hails from an oceanic nation occupied by foreign soldiers, and she seeks to ensure her country’s voice is heard, Sora is a quiet shy individual representing a technological powerhouse, and Irisin is from the largest colonial power in the world trying to remedy the mistakes of his forefathers.Despite their shared goal of peace, their disparate histories lead to conflict and they must overcome their biases in order to help the peace initiative succeed. Currently, the novel is unfinished, but it leaves off at a good stopping point before the ambassadors engage in their training. The most exciting part of this project was developing the world, as each country is inspired by real world cultures. A major focus of mine was on the difference between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism, and I wanted to explore each of the cultures from the viewpoint of a local as well as an outsider. I planon doing much more research in the future to give my countries more nuance, and future iterations of this project will include an exploration of each of the nations.

Sarah will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST: 9-11am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study.

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