“Chases and escapes” are activities that might be said to define human existence, no matter where or when, ranging over the entire spectrum of violence from the romantic pursuit of a future spouse to the military pursuit of a target to be destroyed. Young children are introduced to both chases and escapes when they learn the simple rules of the game of tag: played by at least two, one player is designated as it, who then chases after all the others, who, of course, attempt to escape. When the it player manages to catch one of the evaders he or she yells “Tag! You’re it!,” that evader and the pursuer change roles, and the game continues until all drop from exhaustion. Parents love tag! The related game of hide-and-seek, also of this genre, is equally attractive to young children (and to their parents). And surely all readers can remember the fun of watching the old Looney Tunes Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote chase-and-escape cartoons. Hollywood’s interest in chases dates, in fact, at least as far back as the 1914 serial The Perils of Pauline, with countless imaginative escapes by the heroine from her dastardly guardian’s attempts to do her in.
As we grow older we leave hide-and-seek, tag, and cartoons behind, but there remains, for most people, a deep interest in pursuit-andevasion; the fascination simply becomes more sophisticated. The inherent conflict of chasing and escaping, of the battle between the hunter and the hunted, is the basis for at least half the fictional writing in the world. By their high school years, for example, most students