The growth of young adult fiction, in the context of Postman's phrase the'disappearance of childhood',1 generated fear among adult readers in the 1980s,due to the confronting nature of subject matter and first person narration in novels such as John Marsden's So Much To Tell You 2 and Letters from the Inside,3 which marginalise the adult characters by temporarily focalising through the child'ssubjectivity. But to what extent is that reconfiguration sustained during the 1990sin the dramatic growth of Australian comic fiction for older readers? This paperconsiders the work of two writers and interrogates comedy's potential to empowertheir young characters. Whereas Morris Gleitzman, like Marsden, wants to warnchildren about the threat posed to them by the prejudiced and violent world adultshave created, Andy Griffiths' short stories fold caricatured violence back intofiction. His characters then play in a metafictional space that offers empowermentbecause confrontation with the adult world is all just a game. But how safe a playground is that space?
|Title of host publication||Negotiating Childhoods|
|Subtitle of host publication||Probing the Boundaries|
|Place of Publication||Oxford UK|
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|