Literature on Oppression of Children




Literature on Oppression of Children

The oppression of children has always been a controversial subject attributed to the mores and norms of societal perspectives. Despite this, children consistently undergo subjugation in light of the dynamics that constitute the respective process. After all, oppression simply involves the repression of a group with less or null power by a dominant group. While it may be rational to assume that children are simply inexperienced to exercise the power they possess, it does not mean that the limitations or restrictions imposed by persons such as guardians, parents, or even teachers disincline from the notion of oppression. In fact, the actions that the respective individuals may implement in an effort to “protect” or “educate” children on issues such as racism may overlap to the extent that they lead to subjugation of the respective group hence subjecting them to negative implications that affect them in their childhood and adulthood interactions.

The subjugation of children has been addressed considerably across numerous forms of literature for numerous years. In fact, the process in question has been exhibited in several accounts of fantasy literature such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which may lead to the socialization of the respective group with repressive integrated values (Owen 5). Usually, in numerous narratives of fantasy literature, the force of oppression is commonly depicted as an evil phenomenon. This certainly provides the targeted reader (the child) with a clear and apparent sense of objective within the literary composition. However, in respect to oppression, the interesting aspect regarding the repressive impact of fantasy literature involves the narratives’ ability to perpetuate frameworks of oppression particularly in relation to the actions and perspectives of the fictional characters (Owen 40).

The way that the characters of fantasy literature are represented tends to convey structures of oppression that are actually present in the real world. For instance, in stories that revolve around epic hero narratives, women are usually represented as subservient or subjective to the male characters, who usually constitute the protagonists and antagonists. Arguably, minority characters such as women and the impaired are written in a manner that renders them inconsequential to the plot or development of the composition in question (Owen 42). Such representations only succeed in the dissemination of systemic oppression. However, in respect to the imposition of subjugation on children via literature, it is evident that adult mediators repress children by introducing them to books such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz based on the assumption that they are incapable of understanding the literature in its original content (Owen 57).

Evidence of adult mediation in children’s literature is evidenced further by the implementation of parental training in the perpetuation of ideas that openly or ignorantly reject the true reasons for the presence of racism and race-based subjugation. Accordingly, racism has been advanced as a construct derived from the differences evident among persons, especially in respect to color (Derman-Sparks, Higa, and Sparks 4). Such definitions have facilitated the predisposition towards the application of color-blindness as a way to counteract the dissemination of racism or racial discrimination across societies by the majority society (Derman-Sparks, Higa, and Sparks 4). To this end, the respective illustrations undeniably highlight the subtle forms of oppression that children encounter. Through adult mediation and involvement of the majority society, children have become subjugated to ideals and understandings that are not necessarily correct concerning the reality of racism.

Works Cited

Derman-Sparks, Louise, Carol Tanaka Higa, and Bill Sparks. “Children, Race and Racism: How Race Awareness Develops.” Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, vol. 11, 1989, pp. 1-21.

Owen, Christopher. “Systemic Oppression in Children’s Portal-Quest Fantasy Literature.” Master of Arts Thesis, The University of British Columbia, 2013.

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