Wisdom, Mystery, and Dangerous Knowledge: Exploring Depictions of the Archetypal Sage in Young Adult Literature
The archetypal sage character is a common, though relatively unexplored character, in young adult literature (YAL). Employing a sociocultural, constructivist understanding of archetypes, we unpack features of the sage through an examination of three sagacious characters: the Receiver of Memory in The Giver, Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games, and Anatov in Akata Witch. Our analysis reveals how these characters are each marked with physical or behavioral abnormalities, are isolated from society and its institutions, and possess dangerous knowledge of eros (The Giver), power (The Hunger Games), and identity (Akata Witch). They are also depicted as standing in sharp contrast to other, more typical teachers in the intimate relationships they form with students and degree of vulnerability they display. All of these characteristics, we argue, might explain the appeal of the sagecharacter in YAL, as well as its curious absence from our common understanding of K-12 teachers and curriculum. Indeed, we see these characterizations of fictional teachers as raising interesting questions about sagacious mentorship and wisdom in schools.
Alexander, J., & Black, R. (2015). The darker side of the sorting hat: Representations of educational testing in dystopian young adult literature. Children's Literature, 43, 208- 325. https://doi.org/10.1353/chl.2015.0019
Anderson, L. H. (1999). Speak. New York, NY: Penguin.
Armstrong, R. P. (1975). Wellspring: On the myth and source of culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Atwood, T. A., & Lee, W. M. (2007). The price of deviance: Schoolhouse gothic in prep school literature. Children's Literature, 35, 102-126. https://doi.org/10.1353/chl.2007.0002
Bambara, T. C. (2003). Geraldine Moore the poet. In Multicultural America: A Nextext anthology (pp. 309-314). Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, Houghton Mifflin.
Beauvais, C. (2015). Child giftedness as class weaponry: The case of Roald Dahl's Matilda. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 40, 277-293. https://doi.org/10.1353/chq.2015.0036
Best, A. L. (2007). Introduction. In A. L. Best, (Ed.), Representing youth: Methodological issues in critical youth studies (pp. 1-36). New York, NY: New York University Press.
Boche, B. (2016). Teacher images in young adult literature: Pedagogical implications for English preservice teachers. In M. Shoffner, (Ed.), Exploring teachers in fiction and film: Saviors, scapegoats, and schoolmarms (pp. 79-89). New York, NY: Routledge.
Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical inquiry, 18, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1086/448619
Campbell, J. (1949). The hero with a thousand faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1996). Teachers' professional knowledge landscapes: Teacher stories. Stories of teachers. School stories. Stories of schools. Educational researcher, 25(3), 24-30.
Collins, S. (2008). The hunger games. New York, NY: Scholastic Press. Cormier, R. (1974). The chocolate war. New York, NY: Pantheon.
Cummins, A. (2011). Beyond a good/bad binary: The representation of teachers in contemporary YAL. The ALAN Review, 39(1), 37-45. https://doi.org/10.21061/alan.v39i1.a.5
Dahl, R. (1988). Matilda. London, UK: Viking Press.
Davis, C. M. (2011). An easy and well-ordered way to learn: Schooling at home in Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins and Jack and Jill. Children's Literature in Education, 42, 340- 353. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-011-9136-1
Doecke, B., Brown, J., & Loughran, J. (2000). Teacher talk: The role of story and anecdote in constructing professional knowledge for teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16, 335-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-051X(99)00065-7
Ellison, R. (1952). Invisible man. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Garcia, J., Urrieta, L., & Bybee, E.R. (2015). White supremacy, neo/colonial education, and the struggle for Precious Knowledge. In D.P. Liston and I.P. Renga (eds.) Teaching, Learning, and Schooling in Film: Reel Education (pp. 180-196). New York, NY: Routledge.
Garrison, J. (1997). Dewey and eros: Wisdom and desire in the art of teaching. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Geertz, C. (1973). Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture. In C. Geertz (Ed.) The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (pp. 37-59). New York, NY: Basic Books.
Gottschall, J. (2012). The storytelling animal: How stories make us human. Boston, MA: Mariner Books.
Graham, J. A. (2013). Reimagining the self: The sage, the wise old one, and the elder. Article for the Jung Society of Atlanta retrieved at http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/summer13-the-sage.pdf
Grantham, T. C., & Ford, D. Y. (2003). Beyond self-concept and self-esteem: Racial identity and gifted African American students. The High School Journal, 87(1), 18-29. https://doi.org/10.1353/hsj.2003.0016
Gruner, E. R. (2009). Teach the children: Education and knowledge in recent children's fantasy. Children's Literature, 37, 216-235. https://doi.org/10.1353/chl.0.0815
Hardy, B. N. (1975). Tellers and listeners: The narrative imagination. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.
Howard, T. C. (2003). "A tug of war for our minds": African American high school students' perceptions of their academic identities and college aspirations. The High School Journal, 87(1), 4-17. https://doi.org/10.1353/hsj.2003.0017
Ingersoll, R., Merrill, L., & Stuckey, D. (2014). Seven trends: The transformation of the teaching force (CPRE Report #RR-80). Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.
James, K. (2009). Death, gender, and sexuality in contemporary adolescent literature. New York, NY: Routledge.
Kelly, U. A. (1997). Schooling desire: Literacy, cultural politics, and pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge.
Kirkwood, J. (1968). Good times, bad times. New York, NY: Simon. Knowles, J. (1959). A separate peace. New York, NY: Dell.
Kurtz, G., Lucas, G., & McCallum, R. (Producers), & Lucas, G. (Director). (1977). Star wars: A new hope [Motion Picture]. USA: Twentieth Century Fox.
Labaree, D. F. (1997). How to succeed in school without really learning: The credentials race in American education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511815355
Lesko, N. (2012). Act your age!: A cultural construction of adolescence (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Lewis, M. A., Petrone, R., Sarigianides, S. T. (2016). Acting adolescent? Critical examinations of the youth-adult binary in Feed and Looking for Alaska. The ALAN Review, 43(2), 43- 50. https://doi.org/10.21061/alan.v43i2.a.5
Lewis, M., & Renga, I.P. (2016). (Re)Imagining life in the classroom: Inciting dialogue through an examination of teacher-student relationships in film. In M. Shoffner (Ed.) Exploring teachers in fiction and film: Saviors, scapegoats & schoolmarms. New York, NY: Routledge.
Logue, J. (2012). Erotic study and the difficulties of desire in education. Philosophy of Education Archive, 72-75.
Lowry, L. (1993). The giver. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Lubar, D. (2005). Sleeping freshman never lie. New York, NY: Speak.
Mayes, C. (1999). Reflecting on the archetypes of teaching. Teaching Education, 10(2), 3-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/1047621990100202
Mayes, C. (2003). Foundations of an archetypal pedagogy. Psychological Perspectives, 46(1), 104-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/00332920308405775
McWilliam, E. (1996). Touchy subjects: A risky inquiry into pedagogical pleasure. British Educational Research Journal, 22(3), 305-317. https://doi.org/10.1080/0141192960220304
Mishra Tarc, A. (2015). Literacy of the other: Renarrating humanity. New York, NY: SUNY Press.
Nasir, N. I. S., & Saxe, G. B. (2003). Ethnic and academic identities: A cultural practice perspective on emerging tensions and their management in the lives of minority students. Educational Researcher, 32(5), 14-18. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X032005014
O'Loughlin, M., & Van Zile IV, P. T. (2014). Becoming revolutionaries: Toward non- teleological and non-normative notions of youth growth. In A. Ibrahim, & S. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Critical youth studies reader (pp. 47-57). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Okorafor, N. (2011). Akata witch. New York, NY: Viking.
Perry, P. (2001). White means never having to say you're ethnic: White youth and the construction of "cultureless" identities. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 30(1), 56-91. https://doi.org/10.1177/089124101030001002
Petrone, R., Sarigianides, S. T., Lewis, M. A. (2014). The Youth Lens: Analyzing adolescence/ts in literary texts. Journal of Literacy Research, 46, 506-533. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086296X15568926
Pignatelli, F. (1998). Education and subject of desire. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 20(4), 337-352. https://doi.org/10.1080/1071441980200404
Renga, I.P. (2017). Unpacking a liturgical framing of desire for the purposes of educational research. Educational Studies 53(3), 263-284. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2017.1303495
Rodríguez, R. J. (2016). Coming of age in the classroom: Representations of teachers in the short fiction of Toni Cade Bambara and Sandra Cisneros. In M. Shoffner, (Ed.), Exploring teachers in fiction and film: Saviors, scapegoats, and schoolmarms (pp.47-55). New York, NY: Routledge.
Sargent, A. (2011). Building precious knowledge: An interview with documentary filmmaker Eren Isabel Mcginnis. MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US, 36(1), 195-217. https://doi.org/10.1353/mel.2011.0005
Schmidt, G. (2007). The Wednesday wars. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Smith, J.K.A. (2009). Desiring the kingdom: Worship, worldview, and cultural formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Smith, M. L., Miller-Kahn, L., Heinecke, W., & Jarvis, P. F. (2004). Political spectacle and the fate of American Schools. New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0092-5853.2004.00067.x
Sommers, J. M. (2008). Are you there, reader? It's me, Margaret: A reconsideration of Judy Blume's prose as sororal dialogism. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 33, 258- 279. https://doi.org/10.1353/chq.0.0021
Talburt, S., & Lesko, N. (2012). A history of the present of youth studies. In N. Lesko, & S. Talburt (Eds.), Keywords in youth studies: Tracing affects, movements, knowledges (pp. 11-23). New York, NY: Routledge.
Taylor, C. (2002). Modern social imaginaries. Public culture, 14, 91-124. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-14-1-91
Tilleczek, K. (2014). Theorizing young lives: Biography, society, and time. In A. Ibrahim, & S. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Critical youth studies reader (pp. 15-25). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Tolman, D. L. (2012). Female adolescents, sexual empowerment and desire: A missing discourse of gender inequity. Sex Roles, 66(11-12), 746-757. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0122-x
Trites, R. S. (2000). Disturbing the universe: Power and repression in adolescent literature. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press.
Waller, A. (2009). Constructing adolescence in fantastic realism. New York, NY: Routledge. Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wilson, D. B. (2013). Shaman, sage, priest, prophet and magician: Exploring the architecture of the religious wise man. Dissertation accessed online at http://hdl.handle.net/2123/10119
Witherell, C., & Noddings, N. (1991) Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Wolosky, S. (2014). Foucault at school: Discipline, education, and agency in Harry Potter. Children's Literature in Education, 45, 285-297. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-013-9215-6
Zembylas, M. (2007). Risks and pleasures: A Deleuzo-Guattarian pedagogy of desire in education. British Education Research Journal, 33(3), 331-337. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920701243602
Copyright (c) 2018 Crag Hill
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.