ERIC Number: EJ785335
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Power, Language, and Literacy in "The Great Gilly Hopkins"
Cairns, Sue Ann
Children's Literature in Education, v39 n1 p9-19 Mar 2008
To compensate for her feelings of anger and helplessness over her mother's abandonment and subsequent displacements, the foster child Gilly Hopkins seeks power and agency through the primary means at her disposal: through the use of language and fairy tales. She constructs a Cinderella fantasy of an idealized mother who will rescue her. She also resonates strongly with the Rumpelstiltskin story, as it is a story about the power of language, and highlights a dynamic of exploitation that seems familiar to her. Through relationships with William Ernest, Trotter, Mr. Randolph, and Miss Harris, Gilly learns, however, to move beyond the habit of exploiting others as objects, and to experience the beauty of language for its own sake. Her emotional and psychological development can be charted through her changing relationship to the imaginative and expressive potentialities of language. Most importantly, literacy becomes not a basis for illusory control and manipulative power, but for the kind of human relationships that make possible the building of a self. Language becomes a rich inner resource, not simply a means for power over others.
Descriptors: Childrens Literature, Foster Care, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Power Structure, Language Usage, Literacy
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.springerlink.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A