Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where are the good fathers?

For decades, fairy tale scholarship has sought to overturn the wicked stepmother and bad mother stereotypes, now there's a piece about the lack of positive father figures in children's literature.

Of course, finding any positive parental figure is difficult in children's literature. As a genre, children's literature has a habit of making children look much more sensible than adults. In class, we've played with the theory that the difference between adult and children's lit. with child protagonists is that in children's lit, the child will act as the adult, the adult as the child. Massive generalisations aside.

One of my favourite father figures in children's lit. at the moment is the father in The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. He's not a very observant father, but there's something endearing about his obliviousness to what his children are doing with him. I loved Matthew as a father figure in Anne of Greengables, though. While not her natural father, could you go passed a better father? Mo in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart is flawed, but pretty magnificient. The good fathers are there.

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