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Durham e-Theses
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In search for the hero: A study of the possible causes that make or break the hero in children's literature

Preisfreund, Anna (2008) In search for the hero: A study of the possible causes that make or break the hero in children's literature. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study investigates the possible causes that make or break the hero character in children’s literature. It looks into if these causes could be seen as universal, or if they change due to variations of outer influence. To achieve this, the study will examine these causes from three different perspectives; the hero's effect, the child reader's choice and the influence of the author. Out of these, the prime influence and main causes are found in connection with the hero’s effect, and therefore this study will have its main focus on the hero. To demonstrate all the effect the hero has, I have first shortly redefined the structure of the core of the hero, and then shown how the hero character manifests as three specific hero-types that underline all existing hero characters, these I have named: the 'Traditional Hero', the 'True Hero' and the 'Ultimate Hero'. These hero-types are then further examined in connection to change, rules regarding right and wrong and possible impairments to determine their inner models of behaviour, which manifest in their respective social realities. These models define those specific causes that contribute to the making or breaking the hero. The secondary focus is divided between the child reader and the author out of which the study will first investigate the child reader’s affect on the hero. This is accomplished through determining what affects the child reader’s perceptions and preferences regarding the hero as well as demonstrating how the child reader' s choice of hero is a process consisting of individual factors such as rejection, choice and abandonment. These factors determine whether or not the hero is accepted or remains as, a hero, and thus contribute to those possible causes that can make or break the hero's character. Finally, this study will examine the author’s influence on the hero by mainly how the author's covert and overt choices affect the hero's character. This will demonstrate that the author's main contribution to the hero's character is connected to the inert choice of the hero-type, which in turn contributes to the hero's failure or success. This point is further demonstrated through a children’s book I wrote in which I purposefully attempted to write a hero which would be chosen by the child reader. My failure to do so concurred with my findings.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:30

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