Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.L.A.

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Annette Cozzi

Keywords

Alice in Wonderland, Colonialism, Fantasy, Goblin Market, Secret Garden, Victorian

Abstract

Children's literature often does not hold the same weight in the studies of a culture as its big brother, the novel. However, as children's literature is written by adults, to convey information which is important for a child to learn in order to be a functioning member of that society, it can be analyzed in the same way novels are, to provide insight into the broad sweeping issues that concerned the adults of that era. Nineteenth-century British children's literature in particular reveals the deep-seated preoccupation the British Empire had with its eastern colonies, and shows how England's relationship to those colonies, particularly India, changed throughout the period. Beginning with the writing of Christina Rossetti's The Goblin Market in 1859, touching upon the Alice stories of Lewis Carroll in 1865 and 1871, and finishing with Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden published in 1911, I show how these three works of children's fiction mirror the changing attitudes of Britain in regard to her eastern colonies. The orientalism found in these stories is a nuanced orientalism that reflects the pressures of the moment and the changing tide of public opinion.

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