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Author

Latham Hunter

Date of Award

8-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Supervisor

Lorraine M. York

Abstract

Timothy Findley and Findley scholars and critics have by and large promoted the idea that the Findleyan world is one littered with innocent children forced into a dark, adult reality. In his effort to assign significance to the loss of childhood innocence, Findley attempts to construct epiphanal, or "atomic" moments that cause a sudden shift from innocence to post-innocence - a sudden awareness in the child of life's inherent suffering and mortality. However, a close examination of Findley's early novels reveals that, in fact, Findley often contradicts the supposed sequential paradigm of innocence, loss of innocence, and adulthood, even raising the question as to whether innocence exists at all. Findleyan childhoods are highly complex and conflicted phenomena, collapsing traditional "storybook" ideals of childhood.. This "collapse" is perhaps better understood when studied with an eye on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which place a very adult little girl (fixated on mortality, reason, and power) in the supposedly child-like world of Wonderland. Though Alice possesses the ability to dream Wonderland, her cynicism prevents her from really enjoying its wonder. Such is the case for Findley's fictional children, who may be young, but are hardly unaware of life's more cutting realities ... are hardly innocent.

McMaster University Library

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