An analysis of gender representations in children’s novels by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This thesis examines gender representations in three childrenís novels by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett. It focuses specifically on the construction and representation of femininity in the novels Little Lord Fauntleroy(1886), A Little Princess (1888) and The Secret Garden (1911). Employing the methodology of feminist literary criticism I examine the mechanisms through which these novels teach children lessons about appropriate and inappropriate female gender roles analyzing specifically how these books represent the female gender. In addition, I present a case study of literary interpretation based on an in-depth interview with a contemporary young female reader in order to examine how she relates to and interprets the gendered messages within these novels. This study will inform discussions about gender representations in childrenís literature and highlight the need and importance of gender education in school curricula.