Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Critical Discourse Analysis of Classic Fairy Tales: A Gender Study

Author WangXiaoMin
Tutor WangYing
School Shandong University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords gender classic fairy tales CDA lexical level syntactical level
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
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In this study, critical discourse analysis (hereafter CDA) is used as an approach to examine Hans C. Andersen’s three classic fairy tales. It is a gender study, with the purpose of discovering gender representation differences and unveiling the underlying gender ideology.Critics of gender and language research produced and are producing a number of works in linguistic field, aiming at exposing gender bias, raising the awareness of gender inequality and promoting equal power relations between genders. This subverting nature makes a possible analytical approach of CDA, which primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted. However, a review of researches in the past decades shows an insufficiency of CDA application in gender and language research.For its possible ideological intent, fairy tales, as an important instrument of moral teaching in children’s socializing process, are chosen as the analytical object of this study. Andersen’s tales are indisputable classics all over the world. In spite of the avalanche of children’s literature, they are forever a must in children’s reading list. Their ever popularity is the evidence that they are inbuilt with values that appeal to readers until today.In the thesis, three fairy tales from Andersen’s Fairy Tales with male and female protagonists and their interactions between them are selected for intensive analysis at the lexical level and the syntactical level. A combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis is employed. At the two levels, it is revealed that the text is imbued with certain inclinations in the addressing forms and lexical patterns and in different sentence types, transitivity choices of representation of female and male characters in descriptions and in their speeches. Despite several limitations, the thesis is hoped to be conducive to a new understanding of classic fairy tales from the angle of gender differences.

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