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Beyond the Characters and the Reader?: Digital Discussions on Intersectionality in The Murderer’s Ape
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8771-8597
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4382-132X
2017 (English)In: Children's Literature in Education, ISSN 0045-6713, E-ISSN 1573-1693Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017.
National Category
Specific Literatures Didactics
Research subject
Swedish and Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-65987DOI: 10.1007/s10583-017-9338-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-65987DiVA: diva2:1147466
Available from: 2017-10-05 Created: 2017-10-05 Last updated: 2017-11-24

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  • apa
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