• Bălinișteanu-Furdu,  Cătălina
    “Vasile Alecsandri” University of Bacău, Romania

Fantasy literature (particularly the books meant for the child-readers) has always allowed its protagonists to travel in time and space, sometimes by means of metamorphoses and transformations which help the characters transgress borders and to experience new adventures in different worlds and from different perspectives. When protagonists become the Other and suffer all kinds of transformations, they gain wisdom, experience, and are forced to evolve/grow. Sometimes the transition from childhood to adulthood is better expressed by exaggerating or minimizing certain aspects from the characters’ life or by using the grotesque. The aim of this paper is to offer a survey of these exaggerations and minimizations in children’s literature, thus, we explored a series of 18th and 19th century fairy tales and children’s books in which children are metamorphosed into dolls, animals, plants. The paper also analyses whether the protagonists are empowered or disempowered through metamorphoses and transformations, or through exaggerations and minimizations. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels, Brothers Grimm’s and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker and the Mouse King are among the children’s books chosen for analysis to see whether physical change entraps, supresses and even silences the child or, on the contrary, whether it helps the child overcome his fear of and submission to the adult resulting in the subversion of the adult’s authority. The paper concentrates on three major issues: the bodily changes through eating and drinking, the child’s metamorphoses into a doll or into an animal, and finally the body’s minimization through voice and clothes. Besides all these transformations, the paper discusses the construction of the child as the Other and demonstrates the role of the children’s literature in instructing/disciplining the child, as well as in teaching him/her the contemporary social and gender roles.