Journal article

Spectral motherhood and maternal grieving: language and sudden unexplained death in infancy in Australian juvenile fiction

Troy Potter

JOURNAL OF GENDER STUDIES | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2021

Abstract

Written by adults for children, children’s literature plays a significant role in shaping readers’ identities and worldviews, including those relating to gender and death. In two Australian children’s novels, The Shape (2000) by Diane Bates and The Naming of Tishkin Silk (2003) by Glenda Millard, the generic depiction of motherhood meets new representational agendas relating to sudden unexplained death in infancy and grieving at a politically charged price. Primarily drawing on an Irigarayian theory relating to motherhood, and patriarchal language and discourse, this paper argues that the depressed mothers in these two novels function as spectral figures, whose absent presence and present ab..

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