• Resistance, Imagination and the Power of Story in Kashmira Sheth's "Boys without Names"

    Joyce McPherson (see profile)
    Children's literature, Children--Social life and customs, India, History, Modern
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    International Conference of the Children's Literature Association
    Conf. Org.:
    The Children's Literature Association
    Conf. Loc.:
    Tampa, FL
    Conf. Date:
    June 2017
    child slavery, India history, India Studies, multicultural literature, Sheth, Children’s culture, Modern India
    Permanent URL:
    In "Boys without Names," Kashmira Sheth demonstrates the power of story not only for imagination but as a means of resistance and agent for change. Young Gopal is kidnapped in Mumbai, India and forced to work in a sweatshop, where the boss forbids the boys to use their names or even communicate. As his environment grows increasingly oppressive, stories or "kananis" provide a window of escape to his inner life. His stories connect him to his imagination by imparting meaning to physical objects, and they inspire the courage needed to survive. The potential of storytelling grows, however, when Gopal transfers the power of story to the other boys. The forbidden act of storytelling becomes a means of resistance, and the boys are empowered to reclaim their identities by sharing their own stories. They begin to narrate their secret dreams as well as their painful histories. When they relate to one another on a deeper level, they face their past traumas as a necessary step in their re-humanization. The revelation of the power of stories in "Boys without Names" inspires readers to be agents in telling their own stories in order to discover the potential of imagination and hope.
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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