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Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy

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This dissertation, "Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: a Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy" by Ka-wah, Anna, Chau, 周嘉華, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dis This dissertation, "Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: a Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy" by Ka-wah, Anna, Chau, 周嘉華, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of thesis entitled Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy Submitted by ANNA CHAU KA WAH for the degree of Master of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong in December 2004 The motif of imaginary worlds in children's fantasy fiction offers the possibility of a renewed perspective free from hegemonic discourses. In this thesis, I use Rosemary Jackson's idea of the fantastic, - a liminal state between the real and unreal, - as well as Winnicott's theory of an intermediate area of experience where the child reconciles subjective and objective reality. As an extension of child's play, this intermediate experience facilitates personality development, autonomy, acceptance of self, and love for others. It also initiates dialectical thinking which can unite opposites into paradoxes, and turn destructive impulses into constructive ones. Adam Phillips calls this optimism an individual's appetite for life. This hopeful message, associated with child's play, is embedded in much children's fantasy fiction. In short, imaginary spaces symbolize the possibility of a rejuvenated inner creativity, which is achieved by the incorporation of children's vitality into cultural and artistic life. In Chapter Two, I analyze Lewis Carroll's Alice Books through object-relations theory. In particular, I cite Melanie Klein's theories to undertake a dual reading of Alice's dream worlds of wonderland and looking-glass as both nightmares and pastoral visions. I further suggest that Alice vacillates between infantile neurosis and personalityintegration. She meets a series of characters who embody good and bad aspects of her own self. Through her negotiations with these characters, she achieves integration and reconciles her internal good and bad objects. This integration brings forth adult creativity. While Carroll valorizes the child as a muse who can inspire the artist creatively, he also shows an ambivalent attitude towards Alice's growth. He fixes his fictional Alice in perpetual childhood when in reality the real Alice Liddell was much older. In Chapter Three, I discuss how Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy illustrates the dialectical idea of felix culpa - Latin for happy sin. Milton's Paradise Lost provides the ur-text for Pullman's trilogy. The child-protagonists, Lyra and Will, fall through the sins of betrayal and murder. Their jfo//, paradoxically, paves the path towards greater wisdom and maturity. After losing their innocence, both protagonists embark upon adventures across multiple parallel worlds, where they undergo psychic growth, conquer their fear of death, and acquire heightened consciousness. They aspire to build an egalitarian Republic of Heaven which symbolizes an individual's achievement of inner paradise, and living fully on Earth as opposed to any illusory afterlife. In conclusion, the imaginary spaces in Carroll's and Pullman's works allow the child-protagonists to enter a liminal play state uniting the experience of a child and an adult. I suggest how the protagonists grow by transcending the tensions of life into enriching experience, and transforming dull perception with imagination. Children's literature embodies integrated experience - that childhood is a state of the mind still acce


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This dissertation, "Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: a Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy" by Ka-wah, Anna, Chau, 周嘉華, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dis This dissertation, "Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: a Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy" by Ka-wah, Anna, Chau, 周嘉華, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of thesis entitled Imaginary Spaces in Children's Fantasy Fiction: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Lewis Carroll's Alice Books and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy Submitted by ANNA CHAU KA WAH for the degree of Master of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong in December 2004 The motif of imaginary worlds in children's fantasy fiction offers the possibility of a renewed perspective free from hegemonic discourses. In this thesis, I use Rosemary Jackson's idea of the fantastic, - a liminal state between the real and unreal, - as well as Winnicott's theory of an intermediate area of experience where the child reconciles subjective and objective reality. As an extension of child's play, this intermediate experience facilitates personality development, autonomy, acceptance of self, and love for others. It also initiates dialectical thinking which can unite opposites into paradoxes, and turn destructive impulses into constructive ones. Adam Phillips calls this optimism an individual's appetite for life. This hopeful message, associated with child's play, is embedded in much children's fantasy fiction. In short, imaginary spaces symbolize the possibility of a rejuvenated inner creativity, which is achieved by the incorporation of children's vitality into cultural and artistic life. In Chapter Two, I analyze Lewis Carroll's Alice Books through object-relations theory. In particular, I cite Melanie Klein's theories to undertake a dual reading of Alice's dream worlds of wonderland and looking-glass as both nightmares and pastoral visions. I further suggest that Alice vacillates between infantile neurosis and personalityintegration. She meets a series of characters who embody good and bad aspects of her own self. Through her negotiations with these characters, she achieves integration and reconciles her internal good and bad objects. This integration brings forth adult creativity. While Carroll valorizes the child as a muse who can inspire the artist creatively, he also shows an ambivalent attitude towards Alice's growth. He fixes his fictional Alice in perpetual childhood when in reality the real Alice Liddell was much older. In Chapter Three, I discuss how Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy illustrates the dialectical idea of felix culpa - Latin for happy sin. Milton's Paradise Lost provides the ur-text for Pullman's trilogy. The child-protagonists, Lyra and Will, fall through the sins of betrayal and murder. Their jfo//, paradoxically, paves the path towards greater wisdom and maturity. After losing their innocence, both protagonists embark upon adventures across multiple parallel worlds, where they undergo psychic growth, conquer their fear of death, and acquire heightened consciousness. They aspire to build an egalitarian Republic of Heaven which symbolizes an individual's achievement of inner paradise, and living fully on Earth as opposed to any illusory afterlife. In conclusion, the imaginary spaces in Carroll's and Pullman's works allow the child-protagonists to enter a liminal play state uniting the experience of a child and an adult. I suggest how the protagonists grow by transcending the tensions of life into enriching experience, and transforming dull perception with imagination. Children's literature embodies integrated experience - that childhood is a state of the mind still acce

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