Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rapunzel and feminism

The importance of stories written for young readers is undisputed, and in particular the central place of the fairy story in popular culture is clearly recognized. In an article published in Children's Literature in Education, Dr Angela Smith argues that whilst most of these stories are centuries old, they have been adapted by the cultures of the tellers to be more compatible with the ideological views of the audience. She explores how feminism has influenced two versions of the same story, published by the same publisher for comparable age groups through an examination of the Ladybird versions of Rapunzel as published in 1968 and 1993. Angela shows how there are subtle changes in the text which do not affect the overall narrative structure but can offer an insight into the ways in which society has ideologically positioned men and women. Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis (CDA) is used to show how a close linguistic analysis of the text can reveal the impact of feminism on the adaptation of children’s books.

Smith, A. 2014. 'Letting Down Rapunzel: Feminism's Effects on Fairy Tales.' Children's Literature in Education.

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