The writing on the wall of redwall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Popular with both boys and girls, Brian Jacques’s Redwall1 initially offers young readers a utopian community of mice. Healing the sick and assisting those in need, the Redwall mice are symbols of peace throughout the Woodlands. The mice represent an ideal of an independent animal kingdom that knows no violence; they vow never to bring harm to others. They are rewarded by the bounty of the earth, harvesting fruit, flowers, grains, and honey, which results in a rich feast that the narrator describes with mouthwatering imagery. This harmony with the land suggests that the utopia embodies a pastoral tradition, at one with the peaceful rhythms of nature. The community is guided by the governance of wise elders and father figures, who comprise a system of traditional government, ruling with wise words. The mice inhabit an abbey, an institutional space signaling both the blessing of God and the authority of European tradition. Culturally supported by their own myths, legends, artwork, and ghost-protectors, the Redwall mice symbolize peace as a cultural value: “[Peace] is our way, our very life�? (Redwall, 6), says Father Abbot, head of the Redwall Order. This wise elder constructs Redwall as a utopia, an earthly paradise in which “all is well,�?2 the essential feature of the fantasy utopia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUtopian and Dystopian Writing for Children and Young Adults
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages89-106
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781135373368
ISBN (Print)0415940176, 9780415940177
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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    Blackford, H. V. (2013). The writing on the wall of redwall. In Utopian and Dystopian Writing for Children and Young Adults (pp. 89-106). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203953884-14