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ERIC Number: EJ1036158
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
A Womb with a Political View: Barbara Park's "MA! There's Nothing to Do Here!" Prenatal Parenting, and the Battle over Personhood
Abate, Michelle Ann
Children's Literature in Education, v44 n4 p326-343 Dec 2013
This essay makes the case that Barbara Park's picture book "MA! There's Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting" (2008) adds another equal-parts absurdist and alarming item to the ever-growing responsibilities of expecting mothers: ensuring that their fetus is entertained. The messages that Park's narrative sends about fetal needs, however, have implications that extend beyond individual mothers; they also encompass larger societal issues concerning the origins of human life, the embryonic capacity for discomfort, and the existence of "fetal children." Given the way in which "MA! There's Nothing to Do Here!" ascribes thoughts and emotions to an unborn baby, the narrative engages with current highly-politicized questions about the rights of the unborn and the debate over personhood. The fetus in Park's text may be ostensibly complaining about being bored in the womb, but he is making a far more powerful, if tacit, argument for life beginning before birth.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A