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Suffer the Little ChildrenUses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children's Literature$
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Jodi Eichler-Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814722992

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814722992.001.0001

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Unbound in Fantasy

Unbound in Fantasy

Reading Monstrosity and the Supernatural

Chapter:
(p.129) 5 Unbound in Fantasy
Source:
Suffer the Little Children
Author(s):

Jodi Eichler-Levine

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814722992.003.0005

This chapter focuses on two authors who show monstrosity and the supernatural in a whole new light: Maurice Sendak and Virginia Hamilton. It first reads Sendak's 1963 picture book Where the Wild Things Are and how its power of fantasy makes the protagonist, Max, an Isaac unbound, as well as how Sendak's notions of monstrosity are informed by his renderings of Jewish ethnicity. It then analyzes Hamilton's “god chile” Pretty Pearl, which both does and does not escape the binding experienced by Jephthah's daughter. It also considers Hamilton's retellings of African American folk tales, with particular emphasis on those that feature women with magical powers, alongside David Wisniewski's picture book Golem. The chapter explains how Sendak and Hamilton move away from the myth of redemptively sacrificed children and toward more nuanced ways of articulating American identities through pain.

Keywords:   monstrosity, supernatural, Maurice Sendak, Virginia Hamilton, Where the Wild Things Are, fantasy, Jewish ethnicity, African American folk tales, David Wisniewski, Golem

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