Paradoxes for Better Living, 8

“There is no simple, fixed line that divides realistic fiction from other kinds. Allegorical patterns which truly represent reality — like those in Thurber’s tale — may figure in complex realistic fiction as in the various sorts of fantasy. A gesture, a word, a mood attributed to a person who never literally existed may stand for a universal feature of human existence. In acknowledging the truth of a universal principle demonstrated by a fictitious act we have pragmatically resolved the paradox of coming to the truth by the route of make-believe.” — R.V. Cassill, Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 3rd edition