Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Independent Growth Through Gendered Alternate Universes: Peter and Wendy and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe College

A common theme in children’s literature is the presence of a strange, mysterious, alternate universe only accessible and comprehensible to children. This theme is often used to encourage young readers, especially those of twenty-first century society, to use their imagination and explore the world around them rather than engage in electronic devices. Two popular pieces of children’s literature, C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy portray the emotional, behavioral, and social growth in which children experience when they independently enter alternate universes. Child characters in both texts confront new societies that are heavily associated with gender roles and moral codes, which initially intimidate and startle them. However, once accustomed to such principles, the children portray significant growth as they successfully display behaviors and actions of older, more emotionally developed children without the presence or guidance of their parents.

Child characters quickly familiarize themselves with gendered landscapes and settings of alternate universes. The interior sectors of such universes often include domestic enclosed settings, which portray a sense of feminine warmth,...

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