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ERIC Number: ED419239
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Female Rescuer in Newbery Books: Who Is She?
Roberts, Sherron Killingsworth
A study used three Newbery books--"The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle (Lofting, 1922), "Charlotte's Web" (White, 1952), and "Maniac Magee" (Spinelli, 1990)--to examine three female characters identified in these books in the role of rescuer, accentuating their commonalities and differences within Jungian and feminist theory in literary criticism. Since many research studies cite locus of control as the determining factor in school achievement and retention rates, initially a coding scheme was developed using locus of control as the conceptual framework. In a larger content analysis, 140 fictional Newbery protagonists were classified into eight categories which collapsed into internal and external locus of control. The books were read by two readers, and notes were taken separately by each. A progressive process of reading, taking notes, and pattern sorting was used to analyze these female characters. The most striking commonality among the three characters is that all represent the archetypical Mother, although none were biologically related to the protagonists. Polynesia, the parrot, in "Dr. Doolittle" and Charlotte, the spider, in "Charlotte's Web," both non-human characters, provide archetypes of Mother, and Amanda Beale, in "Maniac Magee," portrays the maternal archetype as well as a conventional heroine in the masculine tradition of employing physical power. This analysis may offer insights for educators who share the dual challenge of providing young readers with literature that includes the diversity of robust female characters and of teaching critical thinking skills so as to understand the roles of heroes and rescuers. (Contains 1 table and 22 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A