Excursion Into Enchantment: Exploring Tolkien’s Concept of Eucatastrophe Through the Uses/ Functions of Fairy Stories in Nick Joaquin’s Pop Stories for Groovy Kids (1979)

By: Odoño, Juliana Maria C.

Adviser: Dr. Leodivico Lacsamana

In this thesis, I analyzed Nick Joaquin’s ten stories from his 1979 children’s book series
Pop Stories for Groovy Kids through the lens of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ideas from his 1947 essay On Fairy Stories, examining how each of the first three uses/functions of fairy stories (i.e. Fantasy, Escape, and Recovery) are fleshed out, how they interrelate and contribute to the highest use/function (i.e. Consolation) and each story’s eucatastrophe, and how these interrelations make them valuable to a variety of Filipino readers.

Key findings include the rich interplay between the first three uses/functions. While the
tales were in line with several of Tolkien’s ideas (e.g. close connection between the
uses/functions of Recovery and Fantasy), I have discovered novel manifestations of these
uses/functions (e.g. Escape as inclusive of humor). The first three uses/functions also build up the uses/function of Consolation and the eucatastrophic moment through the preceding events, which make the tales more meaningful, entertaining, and grounded in the Filipino context. The kinds of eucatastrophe in these tales can be categorized as straightforward or nuanced. A majority of the stories fall under the latter category, indicating a reliance on nuance and loss to evoke a more intricate joy. This observation may call for a coining of a new kind of eucatastrophe that encompasses the best of both Tolkien’s ideas and the characteristics of Joaquin’s Tropical Gothic: “Tropical Gothic Eucatastrophe”.

Filipino readers of all ages can find valuable insights in Joaquin’s tales, from deeper
understandings aided by Consolation and eucatastrophe to the rediscovery and re-enchantment of familiar objects, attitudes, and people. How Joaquin utilizes the fairy tale elements skillfully may suggest the universality of Tolkien’s ideas, and that an enriching cycle between understanding Tolkien’s ideas and understanding one’s own culture and stories is possible.



Mr. Vince Agcaoili, Mrs. Meryl Kei Cariaga-Hernandez &

Dr. Veronica Isla

Thesis Professors:

Dr. Joachim Emilio Antonio & Dr. Arnel E. Joven

Program Director:

Dr. Sophia Martha B. Marco

2022-2023 | Odoño, Juliana Maria C.