Term of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Richard Flynn

Committee Member 1

Caren Town

Committee Member 2

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 3

Dustin Anderson

Abstract

Although many critics and theorists, including Roland Barthes, have discussed food in literature, little attention has been paid to the food-as-temptation story in children’s literature. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline food is used as temptation for child protagonists, a tool to lure them into doing evil deeds or being generally mischievous. Some characters, like Alice, act as the tempters as well as the tempted, while others, like Edmund, wait passively for rescue. Coraline breaks this model by featuring a protagonist that not only saves her kidnapped parents by using food as a weapon, even after she is tempted by food herself. Coraline represents a more contemporary version of the food-as-temptation because its protagonist’s agency is more complex. Coraline dictates her relationship with food, which makes her differ from other protagonists in other fantastical children’s works.

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