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Title: Creative friction : representations of child-carer relationships in contemporary children's fiction and Om Shanti, Babe, a novel for children
Authors: Limon, Helen
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: As a way to interrogate and deepen the representation of the two mother-daughter relationships at the centre of my novel, I undertook an investigation of the way understanding of relationships between primary carers and children has been theorised from the mid-twentieth century to the present, paying particular attention to the frequently conflicted period of adolescence. Because my novel is primarily concerned with the relationships between mothers and daughters, feminist theories about mothering were central to my research. The critical component of this submission takes its cue from the way feminists have drawn upon and reworked D.W. Winnicott’s explanations of the ambivalence characteristic of mother-infant relationships. Because adolescence usually involves a secondary separation from carers (the first is associated with the infant’s experience of weaning and toilet training) it is often accompanied by a return of the repressed feelings of ambivalence. My analysis looks at how these feelings are presented in a range of children’s fictions for preteens and teens written between 1975 and 2007. It is notable that across the sample, which examines a variety of carer-child relationships, readers are encouraged to identify good caring models as those which embody a cluster of traditional values and behaviours and which privilege the needs of child[ren] The primary texts are analysed with reference to the theories of Donald Winnicott, Bruno Bettelheim, Nancy Chodorow, Sara Ruddick, Patricia Hill Collins, Rozsika Parker, and Andrea Doucet. Throughout, the conclusions of my research are related to my novel, Om Shanti Babe, which is set in India and compares a mother-daughter pair from the UK travelling in India with an Indian mother-daughter relationship. Nine children’s novels are discussed: Almond, David, My Dad’s a Birdman (2007) Furlong, Monica, Wise Child (1987) Hidier, Tanuja Desai, Born Confused (2003) Magorian, Michelle, Goodnight Mister Tom (1981) Mahey, Margaret, Memory (1987) Morpurgo, Michael, Kensuke’s Kingdom (1999) Reeve, Philip, Here Lies Arthur (2007) Wilson, Jacqueline, Dustbin Baby (2001) Wilson, Jacqueline, The Illustrated Mum (1999)
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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