ERIC Number: EJ1215492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Beyond the Characters and the Reader? Digital Discussions on Intersectionality in "The Murderer's Ape"
Palo, Annbritt; Manderstedt, Lena
Children's Literature in Education, v50 n2 p125-141 Jun 2019
This article presents an analysis of a recent, award-winning Swedish novel for children and young adults, "The Murderer's Ape" by Jakob Wegelius, and digitally published reviews of the novel. In the first part of the paper, we provide an intersectional analysis of the novel, focusing on gender, profession, species and class. The protagonist and narrator of "The Murderer's Ape" is not easily categorized, as she is a mute but literate, highly intelligent and technically proficient gorilla in a man's world; an ape among human beings, a working engineer and not a pet or an attraction at a zoo. Neither class nor social standing constrain her as they do the human fictional characters. In the second part of the paper, we contrast commentaries by professional readers with comments from young readers, paying particular attention to how they have responded to the protagonist. The overarching aim is to examine how features admired by critics and professional readers are, in practice, understood by engaged, active readers, including children. Some intersectional categories represent acquired qualities, whereas others represent socially set boundaries. Posthumanist and intersectional perspectives provide tools to understand Sally Jones' position beyond both the other fictional characters and the readers. The analyses reveal differences between the readings of gender, profession and class by professional and young readers, but for both categories, the readers' reactions to questions pertaining to species are pivotal in their readings of the novel.
Descriptors: Childrens Literature, Adolescent Literature, Novels, Animals, Gender Issues, Social Influences, Fiction, Reader Response, Occupations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A