ALS  Vol.1 No.4 , October 2013
Death Shall Have No Dominion: Representations of Grandfathers’ Death in Contemporary Picturebooks*

The topic of death usually advocates the resistance of language, therefore creators search for linguistic or visual codes suitable for expressing the unutterable loss of beloved people in contemporary picture or illustrated books for children. For that reason, the meaning of death is portrayed in picturebooks with an immediate and symbolic way in both text and picture. Adopting a visual and textual approach, we examine the ways in which authors and illustrators portray the relationship between grandparent and grandchildren in picturebooks. Many stories in children’s literature deal with the archetypal pattern of death and present it in a way which enables young readers to come to terms with it. In such stories, young protagonists, and thus young readers, are introduced into questions of ageing and decay, and inevitably of death, through an imaginative “travel” in time and space which is engendered by the grandparent’s enchanting storytelling. Death comes to be viewed as simply a stage toward reunion with eternal nature in the hereafter. The grandparent’s death is pictured as a “justifiable” event, integrated in the life cycle. Bereavement and grief seem to rely on the principal motifs of nature-as-space and nature-as-knowledge, which eventually manage to negate the dominion of death upon life.

Cite this paper
D. Malafantis, K. (2013) Death Shall Have No Dominion: Representations of Grandfathers’ Death in Contemporary Picturebooks*. Advances in Literary Study, 1, 34-38. doi: 10.4236/als.2013.14009.
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