Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Childhood loneliness: The creative construction of self and world inside story and beyond
by Morris, Julia Malone, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013, 205; 3601337
Abstract (Summary)

The affective domain of loneliness is an essential creative force in children's lives. Unwanted solitude, although disparaged in our culture, is a theme that takes center stage in stories. This study explores the ways in which Loneliness as an active archetypal presence operates in positive ways in children's imaginations as revealed by children's literature, folklore, film, and myth. The isolated orphan or banished outsider lost within the wilds of narrative makes and enriches her emergent world using the tools of the body, imagination, and voice. Utilizing the modalities of visual art, dramatic play, and lyrical storytelling, inventive companions and elaborate landscapes are constructed which succeed in soothing and expanding the child's psyche.

Employing the archetypal psychology approach, this study imagines (and personifies) Loneliness as the youngest of three sisters: Solitude, Aloneness, and Loneliness. Although these three siblings share similar genetic traits and are woven together in countless tales, Sister Loneliness stands apart as a unique archetypal actor. She is far more restless and angst-ridden than her sisters. Dissatisfied with her companionless state, she holds within her a yearning—the desire/eros—to construct a new cosmology filled with inventive possibilities. This dissertation qualitatively describes these vast and varied universes.

In conjunction with an analysis of well-known (and lesser-known) children's stories, the research examines Loneliness's real-world creations in the classroom and therapeutic settings, including children's drawings, sand play constructions, stories, and poetry. Further areas of focus are the role of the adult in solitary geographies, the gendered-base response to loneliness, and the transitional object as a vital compass on the path towards individuation.

Key Words: loneliness, creativity, children's literature, child development, folklore.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Grillo, Laura
Commitee: Burnaford, Gail, Terzian, Elizabeth
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Folklore, Early childhood education, American literature
Keywords: Child development, Children's literature, Loneliness
Publication Number: 3601337
ISBN: 978-1-303-52319-9
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