Children's Literature, Child Engineering And The Search For An Ennobling Gender Paradigm
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The article is an exegesis of selected works of Zimbabwean children’s literature in English. It discusses these works with a view to unravel perspectives on gender and child engineering. The conceptual and epistemological thrust in these works underlines the fact that they largely derive inspiration from and are coterminous with children’s oral narratives and games in which neither maleness nor femaleness is a handicap. This makes them an ideal sociological discourse and pedagogical resource in advancing knowledge on gender. Consequently, the article marshalls the contention that, though a neglected genre in Zimbabwean critical scholarship, written children’s literature is a befitting discursive instrument for the advancement of an ennobling gender consciousness and paradigm. It deconstructs the socially constructed identities of women as those who are permanently vulnerable and neurotically lacking the impetus to struggle and triumph. It conspicuously achieves this by depicting and locating girl children and mothers at the center of the struggle to transform weakness and vulnerability into strength. Thus, this kind of a curriculum on gender makes children’s literature critical in the investment of gender in nation building processes.