Thesis Title

Controlling Creativity: The Power Of Drawing In Children's Literature

Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Mark Smith


In children’s literature, control is a recurring theme. Children try to find power however they can, but they are under control of adults. Since they are characters, though, the author has complete control of them, because he creates them. Creation is a form of power, then, and child characters can share in the control through the act of drawing. Readers can see this chair of power in the children’s fantasy books Skellig by David Almond, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Zel by Donna Jo Napoli, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In each of these books, the child characters are able to explore surroundings and events through the act of drawing. The children ultimately find some form of control, whether by visualizing through drawing or gaining a better understanding of themselves. Adults influence these images, too, and their participation in the act of drawing influences the children’s ability to have power. Understanding authors’ descriptions of these characters and their creativity gives insight into how the audience develops mental images of the characters and their drawings, which is the ultimate form of control in literature for children.


children's literature, young adult literature, creativity, David Almond, Neil Gaiman, Donna Jo Napoli, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Tracy M. Hudgens