READING TRAUMATIZED LIVES THROUGH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: REFLECTIONS, REVERBERATIONS AND PRESUMPTIONS

Author:

Number of pages: 64-82
Year-Number: 2021-39

Abstract

Keywords

Abstract

Matilda by Roald Dahl can be categorized as a children's story, but it can gain new dimensions through different readings by its readers as contributors in the production of the meaning. The characters in Matilda are described exaggeratedly; they are either unremarkable or possess supernatural powers. The traits, circumstances, and positions of specific characters are repeatedly underlined, which may seem too much to be a coincidence. It might thereupon be helpful to consider any information that could contribute to the analysis, including details that seem to be outside of the text but might be related to it, such as the life of its author. At this point, although semiotics carefully distinguishes between the author and the narrator, with the inclusion of translation purposes in the analysis, reading the author's life may become a necessity since the translator needs to know whose word s/he is to reproduce. In line with this, Matilda is analyzed from the perspective of the semiotics of translation in this study, and the emphasis put on the marginalities or marginalization of the characters is hypothesized to create “isotopies" (Greimas & Courtes, 1982, 163) and allude to people in Dahl's life. This analysis is supported by an emphasis on the "role of the receiver of discourse in the production of the meaning," which, like the concept of isotopy, is one of the operations of analysis developed by the Paris School of Semiotics and compiled by Öztürk Kasar (2009, p. 166-172) within the framework of her approach to the semiotics of translation. The analysis is further expanded from a feminist  perspective, suggesting an analogy between gender-discriminatory discourses against girls in Matilda and against boys in Dahl's life. This study concludes that certain traumatic events in Dahl’s life may be thought to have prompted him to create characters who reflect people from his life, perhaps in an attempt to relay to readers particular critical perspectives on societies, families, and education systems, and perhaps quite unintentionally. 

Keywords