Barnboken;Volume 41 (2018)
This article explores how othering is at play in Nicolai Houm and Rune Markhus’ picturebook Når alle sover (2011), which features a monster. By use of picturebook analysis and theory on othering, “the other”, monsters and affects, we seek to examine which role a monster may play in a picturebook, and what makes the monster character in a children’s picturebook powerful and relevant. Our findings suggest that the monster’s role is not to scare the child reader, but rather to develop an often taboo-ridden topic, namely othering. The monster stands out from the crowd, and the majority group excludes it. With its many deviating features, the monster functions as a powerful character that challenges the reader’s prejudices around “us” and “them”. Our conclusion is that the monster can be a flexible literary tool for conveying certain difficulties and concerns. Very often, the monster is used to question ethical topics in our society such as xeno- phobia and othering.
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