College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


Karen Dodson


creative writing, fantasy, death, sin, problem of evil, problem of suffering, redemption, Christ figures, hope


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature


This paper examines the problem of evil and suffering through the literary genre of fantasy. Seminal texts written by Christians in this genre present the problem of sin and death through themes and representative characters but also tempers the reality of suffering with the presence of Christ figures, who bring redemption to the characters and story world through an act of sacrifice. Following the examples of these seminal fantasies and building on my personal experience of loss, I approach the problem of sin and suffering in excerpts from my novel in progress, The Mountain Pass Keeper, by presenting an older protagonist, Creighton, who has struggled for many years with the grief of losing a loved one. Including an older main character instead of a younger one departs from the tradition of the youthful hero that is common in fantasies but heightens the awareness of pain and grief, thus bringing the problem of evil and suffering to the forefront of the story. Through the actions of the characters and the use of Christ figures, I present an honest portrayal of sin and suffering in the story while also providing a picture of the redemption and hope we can find in Jesus, who suffered most of all for our sake.