THE REPRESENTATION OF GENDER IN CHILDREN’ FANTASY FICTION: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL STORY BOOKS
The present study focuses on children’s fantasy fictions to explore gender representations through selected primary school story books. The current research reveals gender ideology that how gender stereotypes are represented through linguistic and semiotic means. Children’s story books shape gender ideology. School children read stories in which characters are portrayed and reinforce stereotypical perceptions. Stories are constructed in cultural context. Children are the products of this particular cultural context and they tend to behave according to these gendered ideologies that are embedded in cultural discourse. Fantasy fictions are historical documents. The current study being qualitative in nature focuses on story books to examine gender representations. The study considers fifteen story books from children’s fantasy fiction. The data has been selected through the technique of purposive sampling. For the Critical Discourse Analysis of stories, qualitative approach has been adopted and the research applies the frameworks of Fairclough (1995), Barthes (1974) and Kruger (2000) for critical and semi logical analysis. The findings reveal that 21st Century children fantasy fiction highlight phenomenon of gender representations. It has been observed that men are powerful in patriarchal societies. They are free to exercise their free will in every situation just because they have power whereas women are considered important for domestic purposes. But sometimes gender roles are reversed as men have been shown dependent on women and women have been portrayed as witches in some stories. The study also reveals role of traditions and customs deciding women fates. The study enriches knowledge on the phenomenon of gender representations through the analysis of story books and invokes future researchers to carry out further academic research on gender representations in other pedagogical sources like novels, dramas, morning shows, newspapers, magazines and talk shows etc.