I finished my master’s thesis!

I finished my master's thesis! | rougeimaginaire

Hi people, time for a life update! Last week, I finally handed in my master’s thesis :) The title is “Barnboken som leksakslåda”, which means “The Children’s Book as a Toy Box” (ugh, that doesn’t sound nearly as good as it does in Swedish) and it’s about children’s books written by children. Even though children’s books are supposed to be directed to children in the first place, it’s usually adults who write them. So that’s why I thought it would be interesting to see if children’s books written by children reflected the same thematic and aesthetic ideas as the ones written by adults. Also, I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of literature children between 10 and 12 years old would produce, to see to what extent they’re aware of literary conventions.

As it turned out, most of the books reflected a lot of the typical aspects of children’s books, both traditional and modern, and they also played with them sometimes, for example by mixing different genres. They had themes like desert islands, doors to fantasy worlds, and there were also a couple of problem-oriented books on themes like bullying. The most striking difference with children’s books written by adults was that the distinction between children and adults wasn’t as sharp as it usually is. A lot of times, the protagonists in children’s books kind of oppose themselves to adult ideas and rules (think of Pippi Longstocking ;)), and leave home to go on their own adventure, but that wasn’t exactly the case in these books. For example, there was one book where the parents and the children went on an adventure together and never returned home.

I mainly chose this subject because I wanted to explore the theoretical background of children’s books a little more. Even though I also wrote about children’s books in my bachelor thesis, I didn’t really study them from that perspective. It was really interesting to find out things like how the concept of childhood (just like the modern ideas about family and motherhood) didn’t really exist before the 18th century, because there simply wasn’t enough prosperity — and how child readers often have a preference for pulp literature and why that’s totally fine. So now, I just have to wait for my results!

I finished my thesis!

rougeimaginaire: "I finished my thesis!"

Guess what I did last week? I handed in my bachelor thesis! Now I don’t usually write about my school work on my blog, but since I’ve been talking about it before and I’m actually quite proud of it, I thought I’d share this. It’s written in Swedish, but in English, the title would be something like: “I wish somebody would write a story about the people who warm up the heroes afterwards.” An analysis of gender stereotypes in Tove Jansson’s Moomin books. Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish children’s book author, illustrator and painter, and she’s mostly famous for her books about the Moomins, which she wrote and illustrated herself. There’s also a tv series that’s based on the books, which you might have seen if you grew up in the 90s like me.

In my thesis, I compared the gender stereotypes in two of the Moomin books: Trollkarlens hatt (Finn Family Moomintroll) and Trollvinter (Moominland Midwinter). What I found out was that in Finn Family Moomintroll, the characters were portrayed pretty stereotypically, although this may also be interpreted as irony at some points, whereas in Moominland Midwinter, the characters were breaking the gender stereotypes. Moomin is probably the most complex character: he is very sensitive but also smart, and he loves adventure, but sometimes he just wants to be safe at home. This probably explains why he, along with Little My, who doesn’t care one bit about what other people think of her, and Too-ticky, who’s very dreamy and philosophical and questions basically everything, is one of my favourite characters.

"I'm thinking about the aurora borealis. You can't tell if it really does exist or if it just looks like existing. All things are so very uncertain, and that's exactly what makes me feel reassured."

So, that’s how things ended with my thesis. I thought it was interesting to write about a literary subject for a change. Even though I’ve written two of these papers before, I feel like I have learned a lot during the process of writing this one, and it was the first time I actually enjoyed it. So tell me, have you ever read the Moomin books or watched the series?