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Earning the Right to Wear Midnight: Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching

Show simple item record Donaldson, Eileen 2016-09-30T13:25:43Z 2016-09-30T13:25:43Z 2014
dc.identifier.citation Eileen Donaldson. 2014. Earning the right to wear midnight: Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching, in The Gothic Fairytale in Young Adult Literature: Essays on stories from Grimm to Gaiman. Joe Abbruscato and Tanya Jones (eds). USA: Macfarland, 145-164 en
dc.identifier.isbn 9780786479351
dc.description.abstract This paper considers Terry Pratchett’s sophisticated use of dark fairy tale motifs in his Tiffany Aching quartet: The Wee Free Men (2003), A Hat Full of Sky (2004), The Wintersmith (2006) and I Shall Wear Midnight (2010). Like most fairy tales, Tiffany’s story reflects the vicissitudes of the transition from girlhood to early adolescence: the struggle to define oneself, the fear of responsibility (and its doppelganger, the fear of separation), the fear of taking up one’s place in the adult economies of desire and consumerism – all of which Pratchett equates, in some way, with death. However, Tiffany’s self-assurance and self-assertion subvert the story typically associated with the passive fairy tale heroine. For Pratchett, the child-hero is someone who uses First Sight (seeing beyond the gothic illusion to what’s really there) and Second Thoughts (thinking beyond the first impression); in this way the child-victim learns self-reliance and agency. Through her stoic canniness and his style of parody, Pratchett criticises elements of the fairy tale that ordinarily disempower children (and girls in particular) while acknowledging the real darknesses that haunt the ‘knowing child’. The fairy tale ‘monsters’ in these novels vary from the openly parodied (witches, ghosts and the Nac Mac Feegle) to the pitiable (the Fairy Queen and the hiver that possesses people) and the terrifying (the hatred-spreading Cunning Man). Often Tiffany is to blame for allowing evil into her world but in taking responsibility, she learns agency. However, mundane situations reveal darker horrors that must also be faced: the death of her grandmother; leaving home; (almost fatal) competition with peers; child abuse; and the inexplicable prejudices of ordinary people. Pratchett’s interweaving of the gothic horrors of fairy tale and real life stimulates the cognitive engagement of his readers, challenging them to consider self-reliance as a strategy against fear. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Macfarland en
dc.subject Terry Pratchett, Tiffany Aching, children’s gothic, contemporary fairy tale, children’s agency, childhood development en
dc.title Earning the Right to Wear Midnight: Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching en
dc.type Book chapter en
dc.description.department English Studies en

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