ERIC Number: EJ915810
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
Alcatraz and Iser: Applying Wolfgang Iser's Concepts of Implied Reader and Implied Author and Reality to the Metafictive Alcatraz Smedry Series
Castleman, Michele D.
Children's Literature in Education, v42 n1 p19-32 Mar 2011
As a narrative series, Brandon Sanderson's humorous, middle grade, Alcatraz Smedry novels display some of the arguably vague concepts of Reader Response theorist Wolfgang Iser as accessible themes that encourage a critical understanding of the stories. "Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians" (2007), "Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones" (2008) and "Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia" (2009) are the supposed autobiographies of 13-year-old Alcatraz Smedry, who regularly pauses the narrative to comment on the nature of reality and fantasy and on his state as a hero. As the implied author, Alcatraz directly addresses the reader to describe characteristics of the implied readers and to note gaps in the narrative and aspects of the story's structure. The metafictive techniques incorporated throughout Sanderson's fantasy parodies guide readers to ask critical questions of the books, the fantasy genre, reality and Alcatraz's characterization of himself. Examining the Alcatraz series with the lens of Iser's concepts displays their use in children's literature and demonstrates how issues of the implied author and implied reader may stretch beyond the scope of an individual narrative into questions and critiques of genre, parody, metafiction, reality and the reliability of a narrator.
Descriptors: Reader Response, Novels, Childrens Literature, Fantasy, Autobiographies, Parody, Literary Genres, Story Grammar, Narration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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