ERIC Number: EJ1131360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Drawing out the Resistance Narrative via Mapping in "The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet"
Children's Literature in Education, v48 n1 p73-88 Mar 2017
Though many children's texts include maps that visually demarcate their journeys, modern texts rarely involve active mapping by child characters themselves, suggesting that children cannot (or should not) conceptualise the world for themselves, but require an adult's guidance to traverse it. Reif Larsen's "The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet" (2009), however, views the child as active cartographer and expands the conversation on the relationship between children and space to uncover new (or more nuanced) understandings of children's place in society, and their constant tension in finding selfhood. This article examines how the act of mapping in literature often leads a character away from home to a place where the child can reconstruct "home" within his or her memory--a memory that instils resistance against the status quo of the child's position in life. Cartography's direct relationship with children experiments with and subverts the binaries of child/adult, fantasy/reality, civilised/primitive and home/memory of home, completely dismantling them in the specific example of Larsen's novel and demonstrating that the child protagonist's space is neither solely real nor fantastic. Mapping induces the young protagonist to move into alternative spaces, and to resist social pressures in order to assert fuller agency over his or her identity formation.
Descriptors: Childrens Literature, Maps, Cartography, Self Concept, Memory, Resistance (Psychology), Novels, Child Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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