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Child/Animal: It's the 'Real' Thing

Sue Walsh
The Yearbook of English Studies
Vol. 32, Children in Literature (2002), pp. 151-162
DOI: 10.2307/3509054
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3509054
Page Count: 12
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Child/Animal: It's the 'Real' Thing
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Abstract

This paper is concerned with parallel positionings of animal and child in the discourses of animal rights and children's literature criticism respectively. It suggests that animal and child are often constructed in such texts as 'real' and therefore impervious to discourse. In analysing the ways these discourses nevertheless construct their object, alternative constructivist attempts to remain self-reflexive about their own discursive assumptions are discussed. Examples of outright resistance to constructivism are selected from animal advocacy, whilst the co-option of constructivism to a liberal humanist agenda is noted in current children's literature criticism. I argue that both positions fail to recognize their own mastery of the animal/child on whose behalf they claim to speak.

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