Feeling a little Blue? : Boofheads, bodies, and beaches

Hateley, Erica (2014) Feeling a little Blue? : Boofheads, bodies, and beaches. In 11th Biennial International Conference of the Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research (ACLAR), 30 June - 2 July 2014, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Pat Grant’s graphic novel Blue (2012) tells two stories about the impact of a newly migrant group on a small coastal Australian town. The wider story explores the wholesale effects of a previously unknown population joining an existing, culturally homogenous community. These broad social images are used to contextualise the more immediate story of three youths who are disenfranchised within the pre-existing community, but who can claim social enfranchisement by alienating the new members of the community. That the migrant population is depicted literally as aliens emphasises Blue’s participation in a wider conversation about citizenship and empathy.

However, Blue does not necessarily seek to provoke a particular emotional response in its readers. Rather, in following three characters who lack what Nussbaum calls “narrative imagination” in their pursuit of good surfing or visceral entertainment—of beaches or bodies—Blue explores the means and consequences of refusing intersubjective affect. This is most powerfully rendered by the main characters’ ultimate avoidance of, and fictions about, a dead body they have wagged school to see. At the very moment of a person becoming a true object—a corpse—the meaning of objectifying people is revealed; the young protagonists seem to recognise this fact, and thus retreat from the affective scene which nonetheless informs Blue as a whole.

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ID Code: 74001
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: graphic novel, young adult literature
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500) > Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature) (200502)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500) > Literary Studies not elsewhere classified (200599)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the author
Deposited On: 16 Jul 2014 23:07
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2014 04:52

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