Date of Publication

5-10-2015

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Kristen Proehl, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Abstract

Jerry Griswold claims in his text on children’s literature Feeling Like a Kid that young protagonists seek to occupy snug spaces. In order to describe snugness Griswold explains that the space should possess a litany of characteristics including enclosed, tight, small, simple, welldesigned, remote, safe, guarded, self-sufficient, owned, and hidden. But tight does not always mean snug—sometimes it means claustrophobic. This essay examines young protagonists’ interactions with spaces in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Golden Compass and groups the spaces for analysis according to the manner in which the protagonist occupies them (assigned, chosen, natural, invited, and forbidden) so as to demonstrate that the manner in which a space is occupied can influence its characterization as snug. Particular spaces in the novels are analyzed in relation to Griswold’s attributes of snugness in order to argue that a lack of snug space threatens and ultimately corrupts the innocence of a young protagonist. Further, a discussion of the transitional spaces which Harry and Lyra must pass through in order to enter other instances of space provides a distinction between the innate innocence of the children and its steady corruption as they fail to experience snug space over the course of their novels. The particular spaces chosen for this project are the cupboard under the stairs, the Wizarding World, Gryffindor House, Hagrid’s hut, the Mirror of Erised, Lyra’s Jordan, Bolvangar, the daemon space, the gyptians’ boat, and the retiring room. The transitional spaces through which Harry and Lyra move are the barrier at Platform 9 ¾ and the hole in the sky created by Lord Asriel at the end of The Golden Compass.

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