Rött eller grönt?: flicka blir kvinna och pojke blir man i B. Wahlströms ungdomsböcker 1914-1944
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
One of the most widely diffused series of girls' and boys' popular stories in Sweden during the 20th century is "B. Wahlströms ungdomsböcker". Its most distinctive feature is the binding with red or green spines, red on books intended for girls and green for boys. The series is a token of the constitution of gender and reflects the notion of gender differences in our culture. This is not only due to the books' visible gender markings, but also to the content of the stories. The purpose is to demonstrate the interplay between stability and change in the stories, representation of gender. Literary tradition, didactic tradition, bourgeois culture and contemporary society influence the stories. This study examines the stories published in the series from 1914 to 1944.
The terms used in the analysis originate from social psychology, narratology and gender theory. The textual analyses of the stories focus on the narrative progression of the protagonist, the protagonists' development from childhood to adulthood and the presented ideals of femininity and masculinity. One important conclusion is that age and gender affects girls' stories and boys' stories in different ways.
The youngest girl protagonists deal with problems concerning the survival of the family. The teenage girls are confronted with ideals of femininity and learn to fully internalise the gender norms. All the girl protagonists are caught up in a heterosexual career, moving towards its fulfilment in motherhood.
The boy protagonists step into homosocial spheres and strive for the ideal of the hegemonic masculinity: a grown, white man and a leader of other men and women. The masculine ideal is the adventure man, making his own way. But the dutiful citizen is also seen in recognisable characteristics such as honesty, rationality and loyalty.
Both girls' stories and boys' stories respond to the image of the bourgeois family, with different gender performances for men and women.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: B. Wahlström , 2001. , 340 p.
, Skrifter / utgivna av Svenska barnboksinstitutet, ISSN 0347-5387 ; 73
Literature, B. Wahlströms ungdomsböcker, gender constructions, girls' stories, boys' stories, children's literature, narratology, early 20th century, masculinity, femininity, social psychology, constitution of gender
General Literature Studies
Research subject Literature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-11ISBN: 91-32-32610-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-11DiVA: diva2:160643
2001-02-03, Universitetshuset, sal X, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)