ERIC Number: EJ1069766
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
Children's Responses to Heroism in Roald Dahl's "Matilda"
Pope, James; Round, Julia
Children's Literature in Education, v46 n3 p257-277 Sep 2015
The paper presents findings from a reader response study conducted in February 2013 with 150 children aged 7-11 in which they discussed extracts and clips from Roald Dahl's "Matilda" (1988) and its cinematic adaptation (1996). Dahl and "Matilda" were chosen because they provoke emphatic responses from adults, often commenting on the effects of Dahl upon young readers, and thus exemplify the uneasy interface between adult perceptions of children's literature and the child reader. Frequently the criticism and theory applied to children's literature are an adult's comments speculating on the child's interpretation of the child character created by an adult and, with a few exceptions, critical theory surrounding children's literature has shied away from reader response studies. After reviewing the critical literature surrounding the book and film of "Matilda," we summarise the responses to these texts given by the children in a variety of formats. The children's understanding of heroism and their responses and reactions to "Matilda" as a hero-character are used to reflect upon the established scholarship. The paper aims to balance literary adult criticism with audience interpretations of this very interesting heroine and in doing so add to our understanding and appreciation of the effects and effectiveness of Dahl's work.
Descriptors: Reader Response, Childrens Literature, Films, Children, Critical Theory, Literary Criticism, Adults
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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