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Issue Details: First known date: 1993... 1993 'Lineaments of Gratified [Parental] Desire': Romance and Domestication in Some Recent Australian Children's Fiction
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Rutherford examines two novels intended for an adolescent, female readership, Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park and The Devil's Own by Deborah Lisson and in which an anti-social female child, 'is domesticated and rendered safe by means of an initiation into romantic love' (3). She argues that in both narratives, the child becomes a 'woman' by attaining a complimentary (male) lover who makes her 'complete' and that 'by means of this process the child becomes colonized to the needs of the adult members of the family' (3). This follows the traditional paradigm of romantic fiction, whereby the ideological construction of 'the mother under patriarchy' is maintained and perpetuated by way of the female hero and her quest to find the male counterpart which will complete her (3). Rutherford suggests that rather than representing childhood, both novels fundamentally represent 'parental anxieties about the child's desire for autonomy' (3) and instead of a narrative concerned with female adolescent desire, the texts inhere 'adult anxieties about the potentially uncontollable female child' and as such, continue to support 'the domestication of female sexuality' (12).

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Last amended 13 Nov 2007 10:16:57
3-13 'Lineaments of Gratified [Parental] Desire': Romance and Domestication in Some Recent Australian Children's Fictionsmall AustLit logo Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature