Hacettepe Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Dergisi (2007-06-01)

The Coral Island, a Children’s Classic, as an Imperialist Text

  • Nursel İçöz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 24, no. 1
pp. 107 – 119


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One of the preoccupations of children’s literature has always been to instruct children in the issues of right and wrong and to develop a sense of responsibility in them. In this article R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island, which, although written in the 1850s, still appeals to the boys, will be analyzed to address the questions of what meaning the reader takes from the book and how the issues of right and wrong are handled. The story which recounts the struggle of three boys, aged 14 to 17, with savagery and violence is not innocent of imperialist meanings because the author regarded English missionary work as beneficial and colonialism as helping the commercial, social and cultural transformation of the life of the nativeinhabitants; hence, his boy heroes act and speak in a manner that supports this ideology