Fractal Myth

Metafiction and the Poetics and Politics of Children's Literature.

[Michelle Chapman ©1997]

"Metafictional novels ... function through forms of radical decontextualisation. They deny the reader access to a centre of orientation such as a narrator or point of view, or a stable tension between 'fiction', 'dream', 'reality', 'vision', 'hallucination', 'truth', 'lies', etc. Naturalized or totalizing interpretation becomes impossible. The logic of the everyday world is replaced by forms of contradiction and discontinuity, radical shifts of context which suggest that 'reality' as well as 'fiction' is merely one more game with words."
Patricia Waugh Metafiction p.136-137

An essay explaining the critical theory on which my composition 'The Bears' Story' is based.

A metafictive text is one, in Patricia Waugh's words, "which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality."(1) The metafictional author adopts and adapts literary traditions, experimenting with an innovative independence of expression that plays with traditional boundaries. The levels which normally divide 'book' - 'text' - 'story' (and 'author' - 'narrator' - 'reader') into distinct categories are developed and intertwined by the metafictive author for the purposes of literary exploration. This process often has didactic intent, aiming to educate the reader into the demands of the particular text, and textuality overall.

Metafiction encourages the author to play games with language and the conventions of storytelling. Such games in turn prompt the child-reader to notice the simultaneous processes of creation and construction that constitute an authorial endeavour. For the purposes of my metafictive story, I have imagined an audience of children, aged between nine and fourteen, in a classroom situation. Ideally, this would give my readers the opportunity to discuss any questions about the conventions used in composition, and to experiment for themselves with breaking the 'literary rules'.

The game of writing metafiction can begin with an author establishing a reader's expectations by purposely breaking the narrative pattern. This methodology promotes reader-awareness of the 'double nature' of a text as a story providing inner entertainment for the reader, and as a particular narrative presenting particular viewpoints. Also foregrounded is the 'multiple nature' of narration, as 'who said what?' can be just as complex a question as 'what was said?'. Metafiction raises questions about the various discourses of society, (and the discourses of various societies) by making obvious the interpretative complexities inherent in literature and in the world outside literature.

"In showing us how literary fiction creates its imaginary worlds, metafiction helps us to understand how the reality we live day by day is similarly constructed, similarly 'written'."(2)

In her essay, 'The Masks of the Narrator', Jill Paton Walsh mentions the many narrative strategies through which an author can enter his or her own story: as an authorial persona; as impersonal narrative voice; as a narrating character; as characters in dialogue, and so on.(3) The difficulty for the traditional author lies in choosing a narrative mask, and maintaining it for the length of the story. If the mask slips, the 'actual' author is seen by the audience, barefaced, and the flow of fantasy is disturbed. This danger of exposure is exploited by the metafictional author, who swaps masks with a magician's sleight of hand, incorporating the disruption of fantasy into fantasy itself. In 'The Bears' Story' the process of wearing a narrative mask is complicated by the adoption of a 'split' mask. The primary narrative voice is divided into an Authorial Persona and an Impersonal Narrator, allowing the presentation of metanarrative comment alongside traditional 'objective' description. These narrators between them provide the unifying frames which hold the other narrators and their stories together.

Writing fiction also requires that an author create masks for his or her audience. 'Reading masks' encode the subjective position of the reader, constructing the type of reader 'required' by the text. Opportunities for authors to meet their readers are rare, so creating a mask which the intended reader is willing to wear, at least for the length of the story, is one of the great challenges of authorship. The type of mask a reader prefers to wear is entirely a matter of personal taste, as is the type of mask an author chooses to encode. The magic of reading occurs when the two tastes coincide and reader and writer settle comfortably into their (often changing) roles. Using multiple narrative masks in a story is especially important for children's literature.

"Children love dressing up, trying on roles, pretending, and once they get the hang of it they love wearing one after another the masks for readers implicit in the books they read. The masked wearers are disguised, and disguises liberate people."(4)

For children, this adoption of a new, if temporary, identity can be exciting and worthwhile, furthering their education into the reading process. In a metafictive text, the author hopes the disturbance of any 'normal' linear flow of the story is intriguing enough to encourage further exploration by the reader into the way such narrative effects are achieved. In this way, the text seems to 'teach' its reader how it 'wants to be read', as the reader internalises the narrative techniques used in composition. Margaret Meek, in How Texts Teach What Readers Learn, has emphasised that experimentation with narrative conventions by the children themselves is also an important part of the learning process.

"If we want to see what lessons have been learned from the texts children read, we have to look for them in what they write."(5)

In 'The Bear's Story', the lack of proper illustration and the difficulties of presentation made changing the narrative voice particularly confusing. For the reader's comfort I have attempted to signal a change in narrator by using a different font. A 'key' to the narrative masks is provided. (See Appendix A) However, the question of how to distinguish between multiple narrators in a final, published version, where multiple fonts are rarely employed, remains problematic.

The Authorial Persona in 'The Bears' Story' is the intrusive voice of metanarrative comment. In the visual story-text, this voice appears separated from the surrounding text by being underlined. The Authorial Persona's position is concurrently 'inside' and 'outside' the text, and the voice is clearly different from the voices of the other narrators. The tone of the Authorial Persona's voice is that of a friendly adult, who is authoritative and didactic, but also self-admittedly fallible. The Authorial Persona is concerned with maintaining a strong connection between the reader and writer, in order to construct the child-reader as a writer in his or her own right. This persona speaks the first and last words of the story, providing the ultimate framing voice for the book, approximating the voice of the 'real' author.

In speaking the first words of the story, the Authorial Persona makes a metanarrative comment which establishes one of storytelling's most familiar conventions: "Every Story Begins" [The Bears' Story]. From Sesame Street onwards, children are taught that 'every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end', a traditional convention which provides the basis for my metafictive story's exploration of narrative framing. To explore the literary possibilities of metafiction successfully, the text needs to be somehow anchored into the traditions that readers recognise. Fiction so easily wanders into the unfamiliar, the familiar is needed to give the reader a point of reference, somewhere safe to stand when considering the strangeness.

"The device of the tale within the tale, the nesting of narrators, is [a] means of suggesting infinite circularity. ... However, such images (doublings, mirrors, nestings, circlings) have to be controlled ultimately by an apparent outer frame. If they become uncontrolled, then the oppositional tension which is central to metafiction dissolves."(6)

The Authorial Persona provides this 'outer frame' by speaking before the story begins, to introduce the 'kind' of story that is to follow. From this metanarrative 'beginning', the reader knows that 'The Bears' Story' is going to be both fictional, and 'about' stories, and storytelling. Gerald Prince, in his essay 'Metanarrative Signs', discusses how this kind of commentary on the codes governing a story's construction can be used to reach out to one's audience. Metanarrative signs also provide a technique for talking about a text, from within the text itself.

"Their appearance is similar to that of a (fragmentary) text in the text, representing a language that is other in the language of the text and establishing some of the interpersonal coordinates of a communicative situation."(7)

The number and complexity of metanarrative signs can convey information about an author's perception of his or her audience's reading competency. As my metafictive story hopes to interest children in the complex possibilities of multiple narratives, the distraction provided by metanarrative commentary is kept relatively simple.

The Authorial Persona, having established communication between the audience and the text on a metafictional level, continues to intrude at significant moments of the narrative. The question "Do you Hear? [The Bears' Story] connects the Authorial Persona with the reader, inviting the reader personally into the story. The first time the question is asked by the Authorial Persona it seems to refer (literally) to the 'sound' of the drums in the Storyteller's tale, as they tell their 'unheard' stories. The second time is more ambiguous. It marks a moment of narrative change, and again links the audience into the multiplicity of 'further stories' that provide an element of 'open-endedness' within the text.

Another of these 'further story' moments occurs when intertextuality intrudes, with the appearance of Alice Liddell [The Bears' Story]. The Authorial Persona her admits to a fallibility that complements the narrative confusion of the moment, while suggesting an entire world of stories which, though untold here, nevertheless exist. The final comment by the Authorial Person provides closure to the story as a whole, by acknowledging that while one story has 'ended', the possibilities of storytelling are endless. With that final comment, the reader is provided with an image of him or herself as an author, constructed on an equal level with the text's highest authority figure, the Authorial Persona. It is this voice whose metanarrative comments prescribe how the text should be read. From this role of 'puppet-master' the Authorial Persona indirectly claims responsibility for the text as a whole, providing a unifying force which holds the other disparate narratives together.

The second voice of 'The Bears' Story', whom I refer to as the Impersonal Narrator, speaks in a voice that is neutral and detached from the stories being told, but that aims for a poetic realism. This creates the 'feel' of the desired image, without intensively detailed description. The voice of the Impersonal Narrator corresponds to the traditional, objective narrator discussed by Jill Paton Walsh in 'The Masks of the Narrator'.

"The mask of the narrator is worn while the utterance which forms the words on the page is not being spoken through the mask of any of the characters, though we must not forget that characters too are narrators."(8)

The Impersonal Narrator carries the main narrative burden, and is the glue which holds the text together. The Authorial Persona may foreshadow the generic convention of beginning a story, but the Impersonal Narrator provides the actual beginning, a tangible object the fire (with all its symbolic links to fireside storytelling traditions) introduced by a conventional 'story-time' tag: "In the beginning there is ..." [The Bears' Story]. In the Introduction to The Virago Book of Fairy Tales, A. Carter commented on the effect that using these conventional tags has on the reader. A phrase like "In the beginning" can immediately link this story to all the other stories with similar beginnings that live in the reader's memory.

"When we hear the formula 'Once upon a time', or any of its variants, we know that what we are about to hear isn't going to pretend to be true."(9)

The Impersonal Narrator announces the text to be a fiction, and then goes on to 'matter-of-factly' tell the story. Using the traditional formalised 'reality' of literature, the environment of the story is created and consolidated by language. The world is privileged over the word, and the words suggest a tension between reality and storytelling. The audience introduced by the Impersonal Narrator, the Tribe, leave behind their mundane occupations in order to give full attention to the fantasy world of stories.

As the narration continues, and the reader comes to recognise the voice, the Impersonal Narrator becomes more poetic, tending to privilege the words over the world. The description of the Storyteller's voice "shaping the shifting shadows, making mystical magical marks in the smoke from the fire" [The Bears' Story], with its alliteration and repetition, is a departure from the language of traditional narrative realism. However, it is still borrowing from the conventions of children's literature, where sound patterns are often used to add an extra dimension to the reader's enjoyment of the text. Here the visual patterning of letters (which are also sounds) prepares the way for the 'sound-games' within the Storyteller's story, and the tensions between oral and written storytelling suggested by the character of the Storyteller.

Metafiction uses traditional conventions to draw the reader into the quest for meaning, while reminding him or her of how the meaning was created. Although the Impersonal Narrator makes no overt comment about the narrative process, the comment is nevertheless implicit in the rhythm and rhyme of this narrative voice. In the 'middle' of 'The Bears' Story', the Impersonal Narrator describes the Tribe leaving the fireside, after the Storyteller's story is finished: "Singly, or in couples and families, the Tribes shuffle off like sleepwalkers, into their tents which the magic words woven by the Storyteller have filled with fiction and fantasy." Once again there is the extensive word and sound patterning which draws attention to the boundary between words and world. This 'poetic diction' is removed from the language of traditional realism, but it remains subject to the same weaknesses. Language, whatever its form, is ultimately incapable of capturing reality in a word bubble without drawing attention to the bubble itself.

"The attempt exhaustively to describe anything constructs not an illusion of that object but a reminder of the presence of language.(10)

This effect is continued by the Impersonal Narrator to the end of the story. In moving between stories and linking them together this narrative voice uses the conventions of poetic word games as the unifying principle. The story of Alice Liddell is marked by the wordplay of 'tear' (as in rip) and 'tears' (as in crying), while the kitten who comes to comfort her 'kneads' the blanket with 'needle' claws. These word games are simple enough to be recognisable to a young reader, and (hopefully) add to, rather than disrupt, the narrative flow. The dream 'narrated' by the kitten carries this convention to its extreme, moving into the genre of poetry which has been introduced by the near-poetry of the Impersonal Narrator's diction. In the end, it is the Impersonal Narrator who ties up (or draws attention to) the loose ends of all the stories, and then turns the narrative burden over to the reader, constructing him or her as the teller of the 'stories-yet-to-be-told': "Dear Reader, only you can tell the story now" [The Bears' Story].

The third significant narrator in 'The Bears' Story' is a speaking character. The Storyteller is the embodiment of the traditional bard, the roaming entertainer who served as a repository for the orally transmitted stories of pre-literate cultures. In 'The Bears' Story', the Storyteller is the only character for whom a description is provided, but compared with traditional characterisation the description is ambiguous. The Storyteller is constructed as a mysterious 'nonidentity'. The social questions of age and gender are deliberately raised and left unanswered. The Storyteller is placed at the focus of everyone's attention and yet mysteriously remains 'invisible'. This preserves the impression that Storytellers and their tales exist outside the everyday world. A. Carter has commented on this lack of concern with reality, calling it the 'unofficial nature' of fairy stories:

"-they pay even less attention to national and international affairs than do the novels of Jane Austen. They are also anonymous and genderless."(11)

Interested only in narrative, the Storyteller 'takes over' the story by 'removing' it from the written to the oral realm. This tension between oral and written storytelling is encapsulated in the formulaic demand that the Storyteller uses to begin: "Listen, ever Listen..."[The Bears' Story]. This is the 'story' (within a story) that is being told to the Tribe as they sit by the fire. It draws on many conventions of children's literature, including the use of anthropomorphised animals and dialogue arranged in 'question and answer' pairs.

The dialogue and plot movement of Little Bear's story (as told by the Storyteller) borrows from the 'detective-story' genre, where suspense is created by the discovery of a problem, and maintained by the proposal and rejection of solutions until resolution occurs.(12) The problem is Little Bear's disappearance. The solutions cover a range of 'bear-like' activities, suggested by Little Bear's family, and rejected by the omniscient (within the bounds of Little Bear's story) Narrative Drums, who lead the story to its 'correct' conclusion.

The Storyteller begins by introducing the Drums (using sound imagery) and checking that the audience (reader/Tribe) is listening: "Do you Hear?" [The Bears' Story]. As a narrator, this voice is responsible for filling in those parts of Little Bear's story which are not attributed to any of the characters, including the inquit(13) tags for the Drums, and any extra narrative details within the story, like the 'revelation' of Little Bear. The ending which the Storyteller narrates for the Bears and the Narrative Drums is the proverbial 'happy ending' of positive resolution, followed by a family/tribe celebration resulting, of course, in the possibility of yet more stories.

The Storyteller has complicated the storytelling process by transferring the majority of the narrative burden to a character within the Storyteller's story, the narrative "Drums of the Bear Clan" [The Bears' Story]. These drums draw on the traditions of 'tribal' storytelling (in particular, that of North American Indian folktales) endowing the tale of Little Bear with a feeling of authenticity that establishes the Storyteller's position as tribal entertainer. It is the Narrative Drums who provide the inner story's title, "WE TELL THE STORY OF ..." [The Bears' Story]. The Narrative Drums also fill in the (patterned) inquit tags identifying the Bears themselves, and interact with the Bears as characters in the dialogue. Even during their initial address to the audience both the Storyteller and the Narrative Drums confine their narrative within the frame of Little Bear's story. This smooth narrative flow provides a contrast and complement to the narrative interruptions that occur elsewhere in the text.

One of the most commonly used 'interruptive' conventions of metafiction is the technique of intertextuality, which includes the production and reproduction of stories and elements of stories; the transmission of themes and plots over time; and the opportunities this provides for originality and continuity in the creation of new stories.(14) Including one story within another, or referring to a traditional story inside your own, provides a way of connecting an original story to the wealth of words already used in the pursuit of entertaining the reader. The canon of past literature is the inheritance and treasure trove of today's author. Metafiction adds an extra dimension to the use of intertextuality. Including reference to another text within a fictional text can disturb the fiction, reminding the reader that the story is, after all, simply another text. Traditionally, readers have expected their texts to reflect reality. Metafiction proposes that there may be considerable benefit in a text which reflects both itself and other texts, and questions the ability of any text to express even an image approximating reality. Playing with intertextuality opens up innumerable textual worlds for an author to explore, while leading the reader to wonder about the relative nature of discourses in the 'real' world:

"there may be as much to be learnt from setting the mirror of art up to its own linguistic or representation structures as from directly setting it up to a hypothetical 'human nature' that somehow exists as an essence outside historical systems of articulation."(15)

For the purposes of 'The Bears' Story', I have chosen Alice in Wonderland as the generating text which provides the intertextual connection. This story is one of the most familiar and well-loved of all traditional childhood texts, to the extent that the name 'Alice' is almost instantly identified with Lewis Carroll's young heroine. This story has achieved worldwide recognition, being translated into many languages, and enjoying a unique position as a cultural favourite in many widely different societies. Lewis Carroll's ability to hold both child and adult readers in fascinated thrall is not lost in cross-cultural transitions. He also constitutes a major influence on writers of metafiction, as his stories abound with metafictive comments and games with words. The poems introducing his two best-known works convey his affection for his child-audience, and his appreciation of the enjoyment to be had from working with words.

"Anon to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast -
And half believe it true."(16)

"Without the frost, the blinding snow,
The storm-wind's moody madness -
Within, the firelight's ruddy glow,
And childhood's nest of gladness.
The magic words shall hold thee fast:
Thou shalt not heed the raving blast."(17)

Having chosen Alice as an intertextual reference, the next question became how to disguise her. The tradition of stories attached to Alice is weighty and well-known. If her presence in my text were explicitly announced, the disruption of the narrative flow could be too disturbing. Accordingly, I decided to modify the reference by including the surname of the 'real' Alice, Alice Liddell, the little girl for whose amusement Lewis Carroll apparently created the Alice stories. The circumstances surrounding 'Alice's tears' are unexplained by 'The Bears' Story', but the reader who recognises (decodes) the name, and can reference memories of the fictional Alice will soon recall:

'I wish I hadn't cried so much!' said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. 'I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.'(18)

The mirroring of the words (tear / tears) reflects the mirroring of the stories, but 'looking in mirrors' also blurs the boundaries of the text, leading to a confusion of the narrative voices. The frame-break occurs when the Impersonal Narrator, 'realising' that Alice's story has already been told elsewhere, breaks into a personal voice that is 'out of character'. When the Impersonal Narrator begins to talk using the first-person 'I', the question of who is actually telling the story comes to the fore. The Authorial Persona further complicates the question by intruding to make a confession of fallibility which modifies the previously established authority of this voice, and the authority of all the narrators. The relationship between stories and storytellers is opened up for the reader's consideration. This is consolidated by the intrusion of an Unidentified Narrator, who effectively lifts the theme of the production and reception of stories (dreams, fantasies) onto an entirely new level.

"What such manipulation of the reader's expectations, allegiances, and author-guided desires leads to is the further development of the implied reader into an implicated reader, one so intellectually and emotionally given to the book, not just its plot and characters but its negotiation between author and reader of potential meanings, that the reader is totally involved."(19)

In metafiction, looking in a mirror tends to reflect things you may not be expecting to see. On the other hand, an author can also become too fascinated with his or her own 'cleverness', leaving the reader uninspired. The more obscure the intertextual reference, the more likely this is to happen. In the case of 'The Bears' Story', my intended audience includes discussion in a classroom situation, where there would be some adult mediation of the text, and the learning-readers would have an opportunity to explore the uses of intertextuality for themselves.

Metafiction does not only play games with word patterns. it also encourages authors to experiment with genres, conventions, and internal structuring patterns like frames and frame-breaks. While this allows the author considerable freedom, there remains a need for some consistency to hold the text together as a story. In 'The Bears' Story', I have adopted the simple convention that 'every story has a beginning, a middle and an end' and then used this pattern to structure the story being told. The framing is made explicit and controlled by the 'split-personality' of the narrating persona. The Authorial Persona provides the outermost frame introducing the 'beginning', and speaking after the 'end'. In the 'middle' of the story, the Authorial Persona intrudes to mark the frame-breaks of the other narrators, maintaining a connection with the reader, and moderating the reader's view of 'the author as omnipotent'.

The Impersonal Narrator's story (of the Tribe and the Storyteller)is an outer frame for the story of Little Bear (told by the Storyteller) and the kitten's 'dream'. It has an obvious 'beginning' that establishes the environment of this 'framing' world, introducing the Tribe and the Storyteller to the reader. The reader is situated outside the story looking in, but as the narrative continues, he or she is positioned, along with the Tribe, as an audience for the Storyteller's story. The identification of the reader with the Tribe is achieved by the changing focus of the narrative as it moves from 'the fire' to 'the Tribe' to 'the Storyteller to 'the Story, each in turn being constructed as the object of the reader's attention, until the story of Little Bear takes over. The Impersonal Narrator returns at the end of the Storyteller's narration, to reestablish the setting which links the stories together.

In the 'middle' of the story, the intrusion of intertextuality results in the narrative confusion considered earlier in this essay, and leads the Impersonal Narrator to speak out of character. This breaks the smooth flow of poetic narration in which the Impersonal Narrator describes the 'world' of the Tribe and Storyteller. The interjection by the Unknown Narrator provides closure for this intertextual episode, by referring to the 'star', the narrative hook to which Alice's story was attached by the Impersonal Narrator. Recovering easily, the Impersonal Narrator overcomes the confusion, by transferring the reader's attention to the kitten. The description introduces and prepares the way for the kitten to become a narrator in its own right, telling her story with its unique 'feline' focus.

Following the kitten's poem, the Impersonal Narrator returns to provide closure for the story as a whole, moving from the kitten back to 'the fire'. This symbol of shared storytelling, surrounded by the Tribe in the beginning, is now deserted even by the Storyteller. Only the author's (split) 'narrative persona' remains in contact with the reader. Since this is the story's end, even these voices are about to disappear. Before they are silenced, however, the Impersonal Narrator hands the storytelling role on to the reader, constructing him or her as a competent writer of future stories.

Metafiction is a technique which encourages experimentation with narrative conventions, with a reader's expectations, and with an author's limitations. It combines traditional and innovative forms of expression within a single text in order to question the 'literary realities' which are normally taken for granted. These include the relationships between author, reader and text, as well as the indistinct boundaries dividing the world of stories from the 'real' world. Metafictional authors play games with patterns of words and structure which highlight the tensions behind the normative discourses of traditional literature. In writing 'The Bears' Story' I have attempted to use some of the experimental and playful techniques of metafiction in creating a children's story. Children learn to read and write through reading and writing. There is a need for texts which inspire children to discuss the compositional, linguistic and semantic complexities employed by an author, as well as texts which 'appear' to ignore such conventions in order to present a seamless fiction. Of even greater importance for children are texts which prompt young readers to pick up a pen and put their own stories down on paper. This is the goal towards which my metafictive text hopes to lead its readers.

If you enjoyed this essay, you might like to read the story on which it was based: The Bear's Story.

Footnotes.

1. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.2.
2. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.18.
3. Walsh, J. 'The Masks of the Narrator' in Styles et.al. Voices Off p.281-290.
4. Walsh, J. 'The Masks of the Narrator' p.289.
5. Meek, M. How Texts Teach What Readers Learn p.38.
6. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.142.
7. Prince, G. 'Metanarrative Signs' p.67.
8. Walsh, J. 'The Masks of the Narrator' p.284.
9. Carter, A. 'Introduction' to The Virago Book of Fairy Tales.
10. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.95.
11. Carter, A. 'Introduction' to The Virago Book of Fairy Tales.
12. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.82.
13. Stephens, J. 'Primary Scenes: the family and picture books'.
14. Watson, V. 'Innocent Children and Unstable Literature' p.11.
15. Waugh, P. Metafiction p.11.
16. Carroll, L. Poem introducing Alice in Wonderland ll.19-24.
17. Carroll, L. Poem introducing Through the Looking Glass ll.25-30.
18. Carroll, L. Alice in Wonderland p.33.
19. Chambers, A. 'The Reader in the Book' p.46.

Appendix A.

Key to Narrative Masks:

Authorial Persona
Impersonal Narrator
The Storyteller
NARRATIVE DRUMS
The Bear Family
... Unknown Narrator ...
The Kitten

Bibliography.

Course references directly used:

Carter, Angela
'Introduction'
to The Virago Book of Fairy Tales
(1991)

Chambers, A.
'The Reader in the Book'
from Booktalk p.34-59
(Bodley Head)

Stephens, J.
'Primary Scenes: the family and picture books'
from Language and Ideology in Children's Fictionp.158-201

Walsh, Jill Paton
'The Masks of the Narrator'
in Styles et.al. Voices Off p.281-290

Watson, Victor
'Innocent children and unstable literature'
in Styles et.al. Voices Off p.1-15

Other sources:

Carroll, Lewis (C.L.Dodgson)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass
from The Complete Stories of Lewis Carroll
(The Book Company, 1994)

Currie, M. (ed.)
Metafiction
(Longman Critical Reader, 1995)

Meek, Margaret
How Texts Teach What Readers Learn
(Thimble Press, 1988)

Prince, G.
'Metanarrative Signs'
in Currie (ed.) Metafiction p.55-68

Scholes, R.
'Metafiction'
in Currie (ed.) Metafiction p.21-38

Waugh, P.
Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction
(Methuen, 1984)

Marker's comments.

85% - This is a sophisticated, very interesting work. It was a playful, yet theoretically serious project which you handled well. It was great fun to read! The intricacy of the relations between the narratives is fun, and well-controlled. However, we were rather unconvinced by your use of 'Authorial Persona'. Why was this category required? Also, we thought you rather radically over-estimated the familiarity of Alice in Wonderland to today's heterogenous community of child readers. Maybe 2 or 3% of children under 12, I should think, would be familiar with the narrative, let alone the intertextual link with Liddell. BUT - we so enjoyed your explorations, and the theoretical enquiry.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5  License God bless! God bless!