Writing as Self-creation: An Examination of Characters Who Write in Selection of Texts for Children post 1960

  • Maiko Miyoshi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores the phenomenon of writing characters in children’s literature post 1960. The term ‘writing characters’ suggests fictional figures who get involved in some kind of writing action within the texts. The period selected as the subject of this research, post 1960, established through creation of an annotated database regarding texts with writing characters, which indicates an increase in such texts after 1960, is dependent on the difference in nature of the characters’ writing action in post 1960 texts, compared to that in earlier examples. The post 1960 texts employ writing formats not only for literary functions, as the earlier examples did, such as the creation of intimacy, immediacy and reality, but also for the ideological images contained in the act of writing, in relation to the creation of ‘self’, something which is much rarer before this period. The issue of self, (subjectivity and identity), is one of the most significant issues in recent children’s literature. The increase in the use of the image of writing activity in the texts also suggests the ideological implications concealed in the image of writing activity and the author’s expectations for the target audiences of these texts.

This thesis examines how the image of writing as act is employed in connection with the issue of self-identity, in texts for young readers. The selected primary texts for this research are divided into four different categories largely, in terms of gender and age group, three of which are ‘pre-pubertal male and female characters’, ‘adolescent male characters’ and ‘adolescent female characters’, and, finally, ‘texts which have metafiction as the main feature’, which focus on style of texts rather than the situation of the protagonists, thus including any of the first three kinds.

The intention of this research, therefore, is to establish the link between the image of writing activity in texts and the ideological message for young readers, that self is something one can create, and, perhaps, that such a creation should be attempted.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorPat Pinsent (Supervisor)

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