Boys vs. Girls Analytical Essay by sonicblur

Boys vs. Girls
A look at the role gender plays in children's literature.
# 45353 | 1,204 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2003 | CA
Published on Oct 19, 2003 in Literature (Children) , English (Analysis) , Gender and Sexuality (Gender Studies)

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This paper shows the difference between older and modern children's literature by comparing the relationship gender plays in each. Historically girls were portrayed as passive and succeed only due to the actions of others, as in "Snow White", and boys succeed because of their mischievous behaviour, as in "Jack and the Beanstalk". More recent children's literature reverses this role by making girls capable of being more active, as diplayed by the protagonist of "The Paper Bag Princess", although boys have remained reliant on mischief, as in "Haroun and the Sea of Stories."

From the Paper:

"As is true in society, gender affects how certain characters deal with the obstacles inherent in both life and in children's literature. Bruno Bettelheim argues that "the message that fairy tales get across to the child" [is] that a struggle against severe difficulties in life "is an intrinsic part of human existence but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious" (381). What Bettelheim does not acknowledge is that historically, in much of children's literature girls do not succeed based on their own actions and boys often emerge on top by behaving in a devious manner. This is particularly true of fairy tales. In more recent literature those positions are not necessarily true; girls have become dominant through action, although boys have continued to rely on mischief."

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Boys vs. Girls (2003, October 19) Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

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"Boys vs. Girls" 19 October 2003. Web. 27 November. 2020. <>