Volume 15, Issue 60 (2022)                   LCQ 2022, 15(60): 93-145 | Back to browse issues page

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Zanjanbar A H. Formalist Classification of Anti-war Stories in Children's Literature. LCQ 2022; 15 (60) :93-145
URL: http://lcq.modares.ac.ir/article-29-62711-en.html
Children ̓s and Young Adult Literature, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran. , mosafer_e_barfi@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (1535 Views)
Anti-war literature is a subset of peace literature. Peace is portrayed in both negative and positive ways. Positive peace is defined on the basis of the concept of moral cosmopolitanism, while negative peace is in contrast to the concept of war. Accordingly, the cosmopolitan stories represent the utopia and the anti-war stories represent the ruined city. The data of this research are picture books with anti-war stories of age groups B and C. This article was written using the analytical-descriptive method and based on the formalist approach to answer how common devices (common formal patterns) are in children's anti-war stories. The result of this research shows that anti-war stories are divided into three categories according to the dominant element of the story based on the part of the triple process of beginning, middle and end of the war: beginning-centered, middle-centered and end-centered. Each of these three categories is further divided into subcategories based on the devices they use. The acceptance of the emerging genre of anti-war literature and the lack of sufficient internal and external research on peace literature for children necessitates research. This article is the first to categorize children's anti-war literature using a formalist approach.
Peace in children's literature is presented in two ways: positive and negative. Positive peace means cosmopolitanism and coexistence while respecting each other's differences. "Negative peace is the absence of violence or war" (Galtung, 1969).
In this article, anti-war stories are not stories based on mild and minor violence (such as ridicule or rejection), but the content of anti-war stories is based on the display of extreme violence (such as large-scale wars) with collective and physical injuries. Indeed, such stories represent the beauty of peace by showing the ugliness of war.
The novelty of the present study is that it analyzes anti-war stories in children's literature and introduces a new classification. The classification of the forthcoming article not only helps the researchers of comparative literature, but also opens a window to peace literature for the authors of children's literature.
Although the anti-war literature in the world has received the attention of researchers; But whether in Iran or abroad, there is still a lack of peace research in the field of children's literature.
"Journal of Peace Research" abbreviated as JPR is an interdisciplinary monthly magazine that has been publishing research related to peace since 1964 (especially articles related to the causes of violence and conflict solutions). Among the peace research books, we can mention War no more: three centuries of American antiwar and peace writing (2016, Rosenwald). The said book is a collection of articles, stories, songs, memories and speeches that convey the message of anti-war and peace. Chapter 7 of War and American Literature (2021, Rosenwald); With the title "About anti-war literature", this author has also discussed American anti-war literature.
In Iran, unlike the literature of holy defense, not much research has been done on anti-war literature. "Exploring Anti- war stories in the holly defense literature" (J′afariyan, 2014) is one of the few researches that have been conducted in this field. The mentioned research deals with the types of characters, anxiety disorders, political-social criticisms and nostalgia in Iranian anti-war stories.
Aims, significance, and questions
Some people consider anti-war literature to be imported. According to them, this genre is the concern of pacifist writers from countries for whom war recalls the crimes of the World War or the 20-year war in Vietnam and the like. At the same time, Iranian writers associate war with defense against the aggression of the Baathist regime in Iraq and tend to write stable literature. What confirms the necessity of this research is the fact that while writers once praised stability due to an imposed war, some of them now no longer see proxy wars as an inevitable necessity. Therefore, whether right or wrong, anti-war literature has become part of the reality of this country's literature. The research questions are:
1- Corresponding to the three stages of the war process (beginning, middle and end), what are the types of children's anti-war stories in terms of the dominant element?
2- According to the formalist approach, in each of the above-mentioned types of stories, the foregrounding  of the dominant element is based on what devices (formations)?
3- In children's anti-war stories, which devices are consistent with Baudrillard's simulation theory?

Research Methodology
The research method is analytical-descriptive, and the sample group is selected by the "purposive sampling" method. To complete the sample, the method of "data saturation" was used. Authored and translated books titled "Peace and Friendship" and one hundred and thirty-five picture and illustrated book titles for age groups "B" and "C" were collected from the Iranian publishing market through library research. Stories that had an explicit anti-war theme were separated from them. The sample size resulting from saturation consists of twenty-four works, which are cited below and in the final table of the article.
This article's approach to studying children's anti-war stories is the formalist approach. The goal of formalism is to discover the form of the work. The key concepts of the formalist approach are: Form, devices, dominant element, foregrounding, defamiliarization.
The war process has three parts "beginning, middle and end". Depending on which part of the threefold process of elemental war predominates, war stories are divided into three categories: initiation-oriented, middle-oriented, and ending-oriented. Each of these threefold categories is classified into sub-categories based on the devices and formalistic arrangements used in the work, and then a detailed tree diagram of each of the above threefold categories is displayed.
Considering the age conditions and the cognitive level of the children, the visual stories of age group "B" and "C" are very brief, single-core, and single-centered and do not have multiple focus. In other words, these stories explicitly convey only one message (no complex and multiple messages) by using highlighting. Therefore, the dominant element in these stories was clearly emphasized in a convergent manner through devices such as the title of the book, the naming of the characters, the phonetic and semantic forms of the descriptions and the images attached to the text. Based on which dominant element is formed by highlighting which part of the three stages of the war process, anti-war visual stories are divided into three categories: initiation-oriented, middle-oriented, and ending-oriented. In this context, this article, while presenting the devices related to each of the three types of dominant elements mentioned above, shows that despite the claims of some critics who consider the formalist approach to be a mechanical one and lacking a dynamic ability to critique and analyze contemporary literature, formalism, like any other approach, can still be effective in criticism and draw the patterns of similarities and formal differences of stories such as the anti-war stories in children's literature by relying on the dominant element and highlighting devices.
Galtung, Johan. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. The Journal of Peace Research. 6(3). Pp: 167- 191.
J′afariyan, A. (2014). Exploring Anti- war stories in the holly defense literature. MA degree in the Persian Language and Literature. Shahrekord University: Faculty of Literary and Humanities. [Supervisor: J. Safari & visor: E. Sadeghi] [in Persian].
Rosenwald, Lawrence. (2016). War no more: three centuries of American antiwar and peace writing. New Yurk: Liberary of America. (ISBN: ‎ 978-1598534733).
Rosenwald, Lawrence. (2021). "On Anti-war Literature". In War and American Literature. Jennifer. Haytock (Ed.). United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Pp: 103- 118. (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108654883.010).
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Child literature
Received: 2022/07/6 | Accepted: 2022/08/1 | Published: 2022/08/1

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