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"Trauma and absent parents in fairy tale and fantasy: Fairy stories, "Harry Potter," "Twilight," and "His Dark Materials". /

Swansea University Author: Lockwood, Elizabeth

Abstract

This thesis begins with an examination of paradigmatic, classic fairy tales and moves on to the contemporary fiction series of Harry Potter, Twilight and His Dark Materials mapping similarities of content in relation to trauma with specific reference to absent or lost parents. Highlighted in this st...

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Published: 2010
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42545
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Abstract: This thesis begins with an examination of paradigmatic, classic fairy tales and moves on to the contemporary fiction series of Harry Potter, Twilight and His Dark Materials mapping similarities of content in relation to trauma with specific reference to absent or lost parents. Highlighted in this study are the continuities, parallels and differences of the treatment of trauma and absent parents in these texts, with reference to their structure, content, themes, ideologies and preoccupations. The absence of parents is a recurring theme of fairy tale and fantasy stories, and leads to the creation of new or surrogate family structures such as stepfamilies, extended families and elective families. These new family structures, and the emotional, ethical and cultural tensions arising from them, are critical themes of the texts this thesis examines. The causes of trauma, including abuse, neglect, change, loss, death, violence and related features are mapped and deciphered, noting the similarities across the texts studied. These experiences can cause a person to become psychologically disturbed, with a range of damaging consequences. Obsession, repetition, fragmentation and repression are themes which are mapped across the chosen texts, as is the idea of containment. Also the importance of psychological splitting is uncovered and examined within the stories. Splitting is a very important element of trauma. It can be a survival mechanism, a moment of life change and a way of repressing a traumatic experience, and is often the catalyst for action within the plot. This thesis shows how the characters of these texts have portrayed and dealt with their traumatic affects and examines the traumatic journeys they have undertaken within the plots of these fantastical stories.
Keywords: British & Irish literature.;Comparative literature.
College: College of Arts and Humanities