Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Tumanov, Vladimir


Subjectivity is a crucial concept in children’s books and is discernible both within a particular culture and in comparison among cultures. The stories of the two novels discussed, express a quest for a sense of identity. I explored first, the images of femininity that the fictions offer, and second, the interactions between selfhood, other selves, social and cultural forces, and displacement. I limited my discussion of Bakhtinian theory to the concept of dialogism. Both novels articulate the complexity of ways in which the subjectivity of female adolescents, Lyra and Marjane, is formed in dialogue with different literary works and social discourses, assumptions and practices which constitute the cultures of East and West. Both characters are depicted as fragmented, multiple and dependent on the social discourses and practices. Pullman for the most part challenges the male’s monomythic heroic prerogative by making Lyra the world’s macrocosmic transformer and savior by the time her journey is over. Marjane also, like a traditional fairy-tale hero, prevails over her personal oppressors. Thus renewed, Marjane finally achieves a microcosmic triumph.