The Function of Imaginary Worlds in Modern Children’s Literature for Adolescent Women




Ferguson, Lauren

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title





Beginning with the conception of children’s literature in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and expanding into the present, children’s novels frequently utilize the idea of alternate realities to engage young readers. The essay explore the purpose and functionality of these mystical realms for young female readers, specifically through the series His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Each of these works contain prominent female characters, all of whom must navigate their own fantastical worlds in order to find their own meaning and purpose. Through the three works, the paper theorizes that diverse and fierce women characters, accompanied by fantastic representations of reality, give young girls to ability to navigate their own world. The three characters the paper focuses on, Harry Potter’s Hermione, His Dark Materials’ Lyra, and A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Violent, are vibrant and resourceful representations of womanhood living in fantastic worlds, giving young female readers the draw of exotic domains with a practical role model attached. Furthermore, these novels give young women a safe space, specifically an alternate reality, to explore womanhood as well as their own potentiality through other admirable women. The paper concludes that other worlds presented in many children's novels often function to empower young women by allowing them to negotiate womanhood through an engaging world and accompanied by fantastic female role models.

LCSH Subject Headings