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Issue Details: First known date: 2001... 2001 Construction Sites of Sexual Identity : A Reading of Emily Rodda's Bob the Builder and the Elves
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Parsons offers a comprehensive critique of gender roles in Emily Rodda's Bob the Builder and the Elves, and claims that the narrative is 'profoundly conservative' in its underlying promotion of heterosexual ideology (34-35). She points out that while children's literature has usually been perceived as 'innocent' of sexual politics, 'no text is innocent of ideology' and goes on to argue that in Rodda's text, '...the story's correlation of heterosexuality with correctness, normality and 'happily ever after' borders on the homophobic' (32). In his influential text, Language and Ideology in Children's Fiction, John Stephens says that literature is used to teach children 'how to live in the world' and in childrens' texts, representations of sexuality and gender often function at an unconscious level which reinforces the dominant hegemonic worldview (8). This is, says Parsons, 'ideology's most powerful aspect, its hidden nature and the subtley of its messages' and the job of children's literary criticism is to 'identify the ideological tensions in the texts we offer to children and balance these kinds of representations appropriately' and to encourage a society in which alternative sexualities are accepted and not alienated by social structures (38).

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Last amended 14 Sep 2010 18:31:12
32-38 Construction Sites of Sexual Identity : A Reading of Emily Rodda's Bob the Builder and the Elvessmall AustLit logo Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature