Anthropomorphism in Children's Literature

In: English and Literature

Submitted By leahlyoung
Words 2958
Pages 12
“Nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the rabbit say to itself “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late” * Lewis Carroll- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
A comparison of the different forms of Anthropomorphism in Children’s Literature- Looking at Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Black Beauty and War Horse.
Throughout history, animals have been used in storytelling and literature. From primitive story tellers who would utilise animal adversaries to symbolise man’s continuous struggle against nature, to animals fulfilling a didactic purpose in fables such as Aesop’s, animals have been an intrinsic part of tales throughout the ages. According to Juliet Kellogg Markowsky, ‘the humanism of the renaissance eclipsed interest in […] animal stories’ yet this was revived with the writing of Black Beauty’ this revival could be said to be connected with the publishing of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This is reiterated by Joanna Mierek who says: ‘Charles
Darwin’s
theory
of
natural
selection
implies
cross species 
continuity;[…]
Darwin
wrote
in
1871
of
‘numberless gradations’ separating all
animals.’When people were told that humans and animals had the same basic ancestors, an interest in nature was piqued and is something that has since been continuously present in literature. This essay will therefore endeavour to look at how and why authors use anthropomorphism, particularly in children’s literature. May Arbuthnot categorizes animal stories in three ways: stories that tell of animals that dress and act like people, as in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; stories in which animals talk, but act normal, as Black Beauty and War horse; and stories in which animals are objectively described. There are many reasons that authors anthropomorphise animals. First, and in particular relation to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is because the…...

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