The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 15, No 1 (2011)

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large
Emerging-Hoe-15-1

Emerging Voices

Michelle Abate, editor


Body Image and Disfiguration in Allen Say’s Stranger in the Mirror, and David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes

Andrew Hoe


Andrew Hoe his degree in literature from the University of Redlands.  He has worked as a high school English teacher, where his involvement in the school-wide reading program led to an interest in children’s literature.  He hopes to continue his studies with an emphasis on Asian American children’s literature.


The child’s image of his ever-changing physical body, combined with social speculations on his appearance, exists in a charged state of emotional tension.  The child seeks to build a strong, confident body image which appeals to himself, but finds this stressful when social others attempt to make claims on his physicality, on how he should look as opposed to how he wants to look.  In The Image & Appearance of the Human Body, psychologist Paul Schilder argues that

... there exists a deep community between one’s own body-image and the body-image of others.  In the construction of the body-image there is a continual testing to discover what could be incorporated in the body.  When we look at our own body we are curious about it too, not less curious than we are about the bodies of others. (218)

Schilder argues that the child’s body image is an intensely social affair:  the child continuously constructs and revises his body image, necessitating influence from a variety of social inputs, as this process of body image reconstruction follows the child into adulthood and all other phases of life.  Seeing social others in his daily life, the child reader receives a plethora of body types with which to compare his own body image.

Schilder describes body image construction as a normal psychic process that requires social exchange, but his arguments do not mention the dangers inherent if the social order constructs a uniform physical ideal that the child should aspire to (e.g., to have a physique that is tall, broad-shouldered, and muscular for a male, or to be slender-waisted, curvy and silky-haired for a female).  Spitz argues that the child’s body image should satisfy himself, yet the position of a socially-prescribed physical form can come from comments on his body as mentioned above, or from unspoken yet omnipresent social symbols:  clothing and other manufactured goods designed for an ideal body size, posters of healthy, smiling children that the child may/may not look like; popularized media which show children characters with physical characteristics that the child may/may not share.  The child finds that he must negotiate a physical form that meets the standards he sees from social others, a form that must also please himself.

In Body Images:  Embodiment as Intercorporeality, Gail Weiss writes about the possibility of having a non-conformative bodily form, arguing that, in a social sense, “bodies are marked assumptions made about their gender, their race, their ethnicity, their class, and their ‘natural’ abilities.  These assumptions... often tend to go unnoticed until they are violated by a body that refuses to behave as it should....” (2).  Weiss argues that body image can have diverse, possibly overlapping, simultaneous social definitions, and understanding how a person is affected by these definitions first requires specialization into how varying social parameters (gender, race, ethnicity, etc) affects that person’s reception.  Weiss also writes of body image as a social phenomenon with “assumptions” on one’s body created and regulated by a dominating social order that defines what a person should look like and how he should physically develop [1].  A person’s age is yet another parameter on which to enforce social codes of bodily comportment, with childhood arguably being the most salient time at which to begin indoctrination and the encoding of body image ideals, and the development of the child’s body (i.e., how his body looks now, how it will develop, how it should develop), as viewed by his parents and by himself, is similarly at the forefront of his daily preoccupations.  Early childhood is the malleable time where bodily ideals are first introduced, therefore beginning processes of social encoding and defining an idealized body norm for the child.  The child learns to name all the basic parts of his body and receives basic training on their physical functions, healthy maintenance/grooming, and proper social comportment.  If the child is receptive to such instruction, then he is also open to stereotypes about those who are bodily different.  In their 2001 study “Adjusting to Disfigurement:  Processes Involved in Dealing With Being Visibly Different,” psychologists Andrew Thompson and Gerry Kent write about real-life disfiguration and how it is perceived by the self:  “... the way disfigured persons think about their disfigurement, their self and their encounters with others will be influenced by the interaction of self-schemas with the social context.  Such schemes are acquired through early experience...” [2] (677).  As Rosemary Garland Thompson writes, “corporeal departures from dominant expectations never go uninterpreted or unpunished, and conformities are almost always rewarded” (7).  All adults remember either the torment of being taunted on the playground for being different or having taunted others; childhood is where the behaviors of differentiating from and discriminating against are first learned.

An idealized form therefore becomes an oppressive model of bodily configuration that the child must follow or suffer the consequences, or if he has been complicit in taunting others for their physical differences, he finds himself the enforcer of a set of bodily rules that he may fear he himself does not follow, attempting to displace his own fears by projecting them on others.  The child finds that speculation on his developing body in the midst of his own bodily image construction allows others to place territorial claims, that he will lose his agency forever should he allow socially-defined tenets to dictate his physicality without challenge.  Ugliness is defined by how far the child’s bodily image strays from the physical expectations of parents, peers, and the overarching social constructs produced by a defining coded order:  posters, media advertisements, and even manufactured items for popular consumption but designed for a specified, idealized body [3].  The child’s body becomes a testing ground where his own body image is at stake.  In this setting, texts which feature protagonists who face bodily disfiguration become infused with political meaning, and disfiguration itself operates on a highly idealized level:  the child protagonist suddenly develops a physical abnormality--yet the text subverts physical ugliness so that the expected aversion to deformity is deflected, refracted into an identification with the disfigured character who has learned to construct a body image that resists a single bodily conforming model, incorporates the conventionalized physical inputs from his society without being overwhelmed by them, and thus defines for himself a stable, self-validating body image.  In these texts, maturation is an ongoing process separate from the dictates of an idealized physical form, not a conventionalized end result as defined by an enveloping society.

This study focuses on children’s picture books with protagonists who suffer a disfiguration and therefore defy socially-defined body images; their respective disfigurations make them outcasts [4].  Allen Say’s The Stranger in the Mirror and David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes feature protagonists who suddenly develop a disfiguration which upsets the social order around them.  Eventually, each protagonist learns to accept the physical change through a needed denial of the social order, an affirmation of his/her own inner self while apart from the enveloping society, and a reintegration into the social order.  This last phase shows a changed protagonist reintegrating with the social order, a different child from the one who left it.  The child returns an empowered, more complete person who learns to negotiate the social definitions s/he is faced with, along with his/her own bodily definitions of development, into a stable equilibrium.  The child protagonist can then synthesize the two into a more balanced understanding of his/her self.  These texts also offer exemplary models of how the text’s illustrations can offer a visual faculty through which the young child reader/viewer can explore alternate, imaginative bodily configurations [5].  As Perry Nodelman notes in Words About Pictures, “picture books are clearly recognizable as children’s books simply because they do speak to us of childlike qualities... yet... they do so in terms that imply a vast sophistication in regard to both visual and verbal codes” (20-21).  Children’s picture books convey political themes regarding bodily image to a receptive child readership skilled enough to interpret these codes conveyed through images of child protagonists in disfigured bodily forms.

The child who wrests control of his body image from a socially-defined ideal becomes not only a master of his body, but of his own self.  The connection between one’s body image and one’s perception of inner self is well-established.  Kent and Thompson write that “children born with a disfigurement” are prone to negative feelings of self-image, for “their appearance ... engender[s] a general sense of anxiety and dejection, such as the desire of parents for a ‘normal’ child” (699).  Kent and Thompson’s conclusion is not surprising, but it nevertheless makes clear the link between the child’s body and his emotional, inner state.  Disfiguration is therefore connected with internal flaws of personhood; if something is deemed wrong with the body, it is because something is wrong with the personality or soul of a character.  In these stories, the child’s bodily transformations result from social misconduct, for transgressing the bounds of what is socially-defined to be appropriate.  Indeed, their disfigurations become manifestations of their wrongness.  In Extraordinary Bodies:  Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature [6], Rosemary Garland Thompson argues that “disability [or disfiguration] then becomes a personal flaw, and disabled people are the ‘able-bodied’ gone wrong.....  [Bodily] difference thus translates into deviance” (49).  Hence, attempts by the enveloping society to define bodily ideals are really attempts to dissolve a child’s agency, to make him submit to an order that knows better.

Garland Thompson posits body image as a power dialectic between a supposedly more able-bodied, dominant social order and a physically “deviant” minority, where the latter informs, justifies, and confirms the identity of the former; the former identifies itself as proper and right by being what the latter is not (6-8).  By emphasizing an idealized body image that is allegedly superior to the extraordinary body of the person who does not conform to that idealized image, the physically conforming majority enforces “a system of social, economic, and political empowerment justified by physiological differences” (6-8).  In her use of the term “extraordinary bodies,” Garland Thompson focuses more on real life disability than on internalized body image, yet disability and disfiguration can be interrelated; one state can be the result of the other and vice-versa.  Further, the aforementioned texts of bodily disfiguration discussed create physical changes in bodily capability for the child protagonists that are mistaken as disabilities or inferiorities, paralleling Garland Thompson’s argument that disability in our culture is not really a matter of a body’s functioning capacities, but “the attribution of corporeal deviance--not so much a property of bodies as a product of cultural rules about what bodies should be or do” (6).  The children’s book of disfiguration, where the child protagonist develops a new perspective on bodily capability, allows the child reader to separate any real-life bodily difference he may have from socially-enforced negative stereotypes, as Garland Thompson argues.

Allen Say’s Stranger in the Mirror features Sam, a child protagonist who suddenly gains an old man’s face.  Weiss writes that “the body image...must be understood as a dynamic gestalt that is continually being constructed, destructed, and reconstructed in response to changes within one’s own body, other people’s bodies, and/or the situation as a whole” (16-17).  That is, any one person’s body image changes reflect what that particular person feels, or needs to feel, at a particular life instance.  Weiss therefore argues that body images are adapted according to the individual’s need.  Thus, Sam gains his disfiguration in order to work through fears of abandonment should he ever lose bodily faculty.

Sam gains his disfigured, older body soon after his grandfather is sent away.  He “missed the raspy voice and the shuffling of slippers” that were physical manifestations of his grandfather.  The text also states that Sam “couldn’t forget how small Grandpa had looked waving good-bye” (my emphasis).  In other words, Sam interprets his grandfather’s body image at his sending-away as being childlike, being physically small--like himself.  If his beloved grandfather can be sent away, then so can Sam.  Thus, Sam’s great fear in this text is that he will also be sent away--dismissed--like his grandfather, a social decision he connects directly to having an aged, physical body.  The accompanying illustration shows Sam at the doorway of his house with a curiously enigmatic expression on his face, which can very easily be interpreted as sorrow, even uncertainty.  Indeed, the dynamics of darkness and light in this picture and in the rest of this text indicate an internal conflict operating under the obvious physical change in Sam’s body, as he stands before the doorway, about to step into the house (and symbolically into a journey of exploration of his inner self), to cross over into a foyer that is bathed in shadow.  Behind Sam, the outside neighborhood is outlined in lighter shadow, showing Sam the child protagonist who has come from a world of sunlight to explore a darker world of inner self.  As Nodelman states, “dark tends to represent evil, light goodness; many picture books show evil characters in the shadows and good ones in the sunlight--or sad protagonists in the dark and happy ones in the light” (111).  Is Sam a ‘good’ boy?  Is his disfiguration a result of some internal wrongness of personhood?  This shaded picture of Sam shows his uncertainty of his internal sense of self as the true conflict of this story.  Sam’s clothing is typical (grey t-shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers) for a young child.  He has slung over his left shoulder a backpack--a reference to school, the socializing vehicle of children besides the home--and holds a skateboard, which indicates an active physicality and youthful verve required of skateboarding:  balance, coordination, speed, posture, aerodynamic skill, etc, that is at odds with his sad/enigmatic appearance.

Sam wakes the next morning with a suddenly changed body.  The picture of Sam seeing his disfigured self in the mirror for the first time repeats this quality of identifying with a character on the lower left as he stands from this position while gazing with shock at his reflection.  This picture contains a subtle hint of socially-defined physiques and expectations of bodily capability:  Sam is shown in front of an oval mirror with his back to the viewer; the mirror faces the viewer, and it is through this over-the-shoulder view that we see Sam’s disfiguration for the first time as well.  The picture shows that Sam must look up to see the disfigured reflection of himself, because the mirror is intended for an adult’s height.  Sam is not meant to look into this mirror until he has reached the socially prescribed physical height or has fulfilled a proper mature development.  Sam should be growing taller, but here, he has not followed this socially-prescribed development; Sam’s face has aged, but he still has a child’s body.  Further, Sam’s reflection of himself is distorted as he stands on tip-toe to see himself.  The viewer’s perception of this scene is also distorted in that the viewer is placed further back from the mirror and lower than Sam’s shoulder:  neither Sam nor the viewer can see all of Sam’s disfigured face.  The picture is missing the aged Sam’s chin and lower face from this perspective.  This incomplete picture of Sam, caused by the mirror’s adult height and emphasized by this lower and more distant placing of the viewer from the mirror, is symbolic both of this text’s theme of knowing and having confidence in one’s inner self regardless of one’s bodily appearance (once Sam realizes this later in the story, his transformation disappears), and also of how a child’s body image can never be clear as long as it is controlled by a dominating social rule.  Hence, disfigured Sam stands on tip-toe to see himself, to reach for a physical standard that is literally too far for him to reach.

This text is clearly one of body image and physicality.  That “Dr. Chang didn’t recognize Sam ...[until] he saw the birthmark on his back” underscores this.  Sam’s appearance has changed, making facial recognition understandably difficult, but Sam’s personality and ability to speak have not been affected by his physical change.  Dr. Chang cannot recognize Sam from his voice or even by a familiar greeting, but only by seeing a unique marker on Sam’s body, a “birthmark.”  Birthmarks being common among all children, the child reader/viewer can readily understand the message contained here, how important bodily marks are in marking a person as unique, how the child’s body is intimately connected with the child’s identity.  What is ironic in the picture of Sam with Dr. Chang is that Dr. Chang is not looking at Sam, even though it is through the visual medium of Sam’s birthmark that Dr. Chang recognizes Sam.  Instead, he is shown looking up with a slightly confused expression, presumably listening to Sam’s heartbeat and breathing.  The medical science behind Dr. Chang’s attitude as shown in this scene may be lost to a younger child reader/viewer, but that Dr. Chang attempts to know Sam solely through a cold examination of Sam’s strange body is not.  Dr. Chang, as Sam’s primary physician, does not care for Sam’s emotional well-being, how Sam feels about the change to his own body, how Sam’s body image change has affected Sam as a person.  Literally and figuratively in this picture, Dr. Chang cannot see Sam for who he is internally.  Sam knows this, and shows it in his expressionless gaze towards the viewer as he suffers Dr Chang’s physical examination and the gawking of the other doctors.  In a perfunctory manner, Dr. Chang announces that Sam has “idiopathic dermal development.” [7]  The prognosis is that Sam should “wait and see” because “everything else seems to be in order.”  Yet Sam knows that everything is clearly not in order--Sam’s body image has dramatically changed.  He is shown clearly in this scene with an elderly man’s head and facial features disproportionately imposed on a young boy’s body--how is Sam supposed to grapple socially with his change?  The shocked stares he receives even in this scene alone show that Sam will have many difficulties to overcome as his story progresses. 

That a change in Sam’s body has affected his ability to be recognized and acknowledged by his social others is continued when his teacher Ms. Hench stops him when he tries to take his seat:  “Not so fast, little man...   How do I know you’re really Sam?”  When Ms. Hench finally accepts that this “little man” is actually the little boy Sam that she knows, she is so shocked she “dropped her book and sat at her desk.”  The text’s placement of Ms. Hench being close to her desk indicates that Sam was allowed into the classroom.  Yet this is at odds with the illustration of this scene, which shows Ms. Hench, from Sam’s visual perspective, at the door to the class and Sam standing outside the class.  The book that is dropped, as narrated by the text, is arrested in its fall from Ms. Hench, who stands behind the door to the classroom as Sam’s bodily normative classmates stare in awe.  The discontinuity between text narration and pictorial representation underlines Sam’s jarring reception by his social others.  Sam is an outsider in this scene, symbolically rendered by his missing self in this picture.

At recess, Sam is taunted by his social peers.  They insist that he “must have done something bad” to have been granted such a bizarre shape.  This is fitting with what Kent and Thompson describe as a possible real-life reaction to physical disfigurement, “the just world hypothesis,” where social others “assume a person’s disfigurement is deserved and forms a suitable punishment for past transgressions.”  Thompson and Kent go on to say that self-esteem issues related to shame in one’s body image may stem from “a failure to be recognized as a good and able child” (665, 671).  Thus, Sam finds himself unable to separate his physical disfiguration with a possible flaw or negative change with his internal self:  his eventual decision to run away is therefore a self-inflicted punishment.  Since body image and an internal perception of self are intricately bound, it can be interpreted that Sam fears a loss of identity, that an internal shift, proportional to the external distortion of his body, has occurred:  The Sam who conformed bodily, who was recognized by and belonged to the social order, is not the Sam he is now.  In the illustration where he overhears his parents at home whispering at the kitchen table,  Sam is shown as an outsider, hidden in shadow.  Nodelman argues that “shadows are so obviously symbolic that they usually appear only when illustrators need them to symbolize something” (154).  In this scene, Sam in shadow indicates his self-doubt as a result of his disfigured body.  His parents, as bodily normative people and therefore following the social ideal of proper bodily development sit within the recess of the picture, ensconced in the glow of the kitchen light.  They are placed in  the brightened upper left of the picture.  Sam is shown in the foreground, to the darkened lower left.  The line of the kitchen door draws a bold grey line between Sam and his parents, severing Sam from the society of his parents.  His parents are “whispering,” but Sam clearly thinks that they speak of what is to be done about him and his disfigured body.  After witnessing his grandfather’s sending away, what Sam interprets as a rejection due to his grandfather’s aged body, Sam believes and fears that his disfiguration warrants his own social rejection.  Sam tries to run away, attempting to head off his parents’ impending dismissal by first removing himself from their society.

Garland Thompson might argue that Sam’s particularized treatment by his social others is a microcosmic, fictional representation of what she argues as a real-life process of discrimination against the extraordinarily-bodied person:

Constructed as the embodiment of corporeal insufficiency and deviance, the physically disabled body becomes a repository for social anxieties about such troubling concerns as vulnerability, control, and identity...  disability is a representation, a cultural interpretation of physical transformation or configuration, and a comparison of bodies that structures social relations and institutions. (6

Ms. Hench’s attempt to bar Sam from class, his classmates’ jeers on the playground, and his parents’ distant treatment are all attempts to disenfranchise him from equal participation in the social order.  Garland Thompson may further argue that here, the social order uses Sam as a scapegoat and attaches negative attributes to him.  Sam is not “disabled,” but he fears that he will be treated as such, sent away--as his grandfather was--to receive specialized treatment due to his allegedly flawed body.  Sam, without an arsenal of self-confidence and self-knowledge with which to defend himself, readily accepts his outcast status and plans to run away before his social others can do to him what they did to his grandfather.

In all the pictures of Sam in his disfigured body before his attempt to run away, he is shown without his skateboard, presumably because Sam accepts the social definition of an aged person’s body that is supposed to be too frail to skateboard.  Yet the scenes where Sam interacts with the skateboard he takes behind his family’s house are all of arrested action, disproving that assumption of his bodily capability.  Sam is first shown standing on the steps leading down from the backdoor and seeing the skateboard frozen in midair.  He stands to the right of the picture as the skateboard approaches from the left, having emerged from the backdoor of his house that seems cavelike due to its overuse of shadow.  Following Nodelman’s arguments about the association of shadow with evil, Sam can be interpreted as starting to emerge from his internal exploration of self.  He is next shown skateboarding down the street from the left to the right, arms splayed for balance as he sails through a blurred background of houses and sidewalks, indicating his speed of movement.  Finally, he is shown in mid-jump at his school’s playground, body crouched, knees tucked under and arms spread wide in order to gain height--moving from right to left.  The left-right dynamics of Sam’s body in skateboarding action are what Nodelman calls a “ mixture of movement from left to right and from right to left, which tends to imply hectic confusion--lack of direction...” (165).  Sam’s confusion arises from the physical evidence of his bodily image and physical capability--and symbolically, his internal sense of self--chafing against the social definition of his nonconforming body and his internal self as flawed. 

Sam’s body postures are emphasized; they are the body manipulations of a practiced skateboarder.  These scenes are frozen in order to emphasize Sam’s bodily capabilities--his athleticism, coordination, timing, and balance--physical capabilities that he and his social others had presumed disappeared when Sam gained his disfigured body.  That Sam maintains his skating knowledge and can still skateboard even though his body has changed is confirmation to Sam that he is still himself.  It is through the physical lens of his body that Sam makes a definitive realization of his self:  “...what’s the difference [between an “old man” and a child]?  I’m Sam.  Nobody can change that.”  Thus, Sam comes to a greater understanding of his inner self through an understanding of his body and its capabilities, in both its normative and disfigured versions.

As Sam skateboards, he ignores his social others, from the skateboard’s owner from whom he took it, to his social peers at the school playground.  Indeed, it is only by seeing Sam activate his former physical capabilities through skateboarding that the other children finally recognize Sam for who he is:  “That’s Sam, the kid in Ms. Hench’s class!  He does rail slides!”  Yet Sam listens only to his inner self:  “All his worries flew from his mind.  he forgot he wasn’t going home anymore.  He forgot he was old.”  Sam learns to ignore his social others in order to gain a sense of self that can operate confidently without their constant influence:  “They started to clap their hands.  Then they cheered, shouting encouragements.  Sam didn’t seem to hear or see them.  He went on skating.”  Thus, despite the constant social definitions of proper bodily comportment, Sam learns to define a bodily arrangement that is meaningful to himself alone.  According to Weiss and Garland Thompson, the physical body image exists in a social setting, for as Schilder states, “body-images are never isolated.  They are always encircled by the body-images of others” (240).  Sam’s body image will always be influenced by his social others, but here, he has learned to differentiate a portion of his body image as his own creation--control lies with his perception of himself; it is influenced by social others, but nevertheless belongs to himself.  The picture of Sam returning the skateboard to its owner and walking away shows an elderly Sam, still in his disfigured body, with a small, satisfied smile on his face.  As in the picture of himself overhearing his parents talk about him the night before, Sam is juxtaposed from the other children through the interplay of light and shadow:  the bodily normative children are shown in the background, to the upper left; Sam is shown closer to the viewer in the lower right, his features and frontal body shown in shadow as the sun strikes his back.  If Sam’s posture in this scene can be interpreted to be a deliberate turning away from the social order, represented by the children behind him, then the meditative expression on his face and in his eyes can be a turning inward to an inner self. 

Sam’s realization and validation of himself and his stability of identity even through disfiguration is not lost on the child reader/viewer.  The fear of bodily change for the child reader is that as a body necessarily goes through its inevitable cycle of development as it ages, its capabilities and its reception by social others will also change.  With that physical change, the child reader fears a dissolution of self, a change of personality that may not always be for the best.  Sam’s affirmation of himself even through his disfiguration allows the child reader to see that his inner self is not necessarily inextricably tied to his physicality.  What follows is a liberation of self from the social other and its relentless codes of conformity.

Sam recovers his body simply by waking up from a long sleep, though this awakening is also metaphorical in that Sam has finally awakened a deeper understanding of his own body and his identity in contrast to the social definition of body that he must face and will face throughout his life.  The social order is not far from Sam’s mind.  Preparing to leave the house, he feels “as if someone were watching him.”  However, Sam’s recognition of himself in the mirror shows a reintegration of his own youthful body that corresponds to his realization of his inner self when in his elderly disfigured body:  realizing himself grants Sam his original body back.  The picture of Sam seeing his old self in the mirror is a close-up; Sam’s body is missing, but the viewer is in Sam’s place, viewing Sam’s reflected youthful face as if the viewer were the one standing in front of the mirror.  This time, more of Sam’s face becomes visible in the mirror, indicating Sam’s more advanced knowledge of himself than before.  His chin still cannot be seen due to the mirror’s height and his body’s shortness (indicative of his child’s body), but we see that Sam looks into the mirror, in contrast to having to look up at the mirror as an old man.  This is also the picture used for the front jacket cover.

The entire episode of Sam’s disfiguration seems to be a dream, as Sam finds he has awoken on a Sunday morning instead of the school day he expected.  However, the physical evidence of the sandwiches, which he packed while in his disfigured body, causes ambiguity as to whether the episode was truly a dream, as the text seems to hint at.  The blurring between dream and reality brings into question what is to be taken from this story:  if this were all real, why does no-one else besides Sam seem to remember or care that Sam’s body changed dramatically?  If this were all a dream, why did Sam “have” it, so to speak--what was the point of his having this odd dream?  Whether or not what happens to Sam is a dream is an interpretive question without a precise answer.  That no one acknowledges the episode or seems to remember indicates that the episode of Sam’s bodily transformation, real or dream, was meaningful to Sam and Sam alone.  Sam creates his disfigured self in order to answer questions about his physicality that the sending away of his grandfather brings up.  As an old man in a child’s body, he experiences peer bullying and social conformity issues.  Sam needs to experiment with his body in order to discover a stronger sense of self regardless of the strangeness of his body.

David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes also features a child protagonist, Camilla Cream, who needs a drastic change in body image in order to develop a stronger inner self.  While Sam needed to affirm his identity in the midst of a separation from his elderly grandfather, Camilla needs to acknowledge her own likes and dislikes and discriminate them from the likes and dislikes of an enveloping social order.  The first picture of Camilla Cream shows a young girl standing in a walk-in closet filled with an impossible array of clothes--the clothes are the emphasis of the illustration, filling a two-page spread from left to right and continuing past the picture borders without end.  The text states that Camilla loves lima beans, but “she never ate them.  All of her friends hated lima beans, and she wanted to fit in.  Camilla was always worried about what other people thought of her.”  Both the text and the illustration of a frowning, distressed young girl reveal Camilla as a child who obsessively denies a sense of self (represented through her self-negated love of lima beans) in order to satisfy her social others.  In a manner of speaking, Camilla already engages in body image changing by the sheer excess of outfits she has, and with each outfit she dons, Camilla gains a different body image.  Since body image and a perception of inner self are linked, Camilla’s personhood is predicated on conforming to the social dictates of others.  This opens Camilla up to what Schilder calls a “dissolution of body image”:

...we overrate the cohesion of our body....  feeling our body intact is not a matterof course.  It is the effect of self-love.  When destructive tendencies go on, the body is spread over the world.... we also have to remember how much the feeling of our body varies under normal conditions.  When we touch an object with a stick we feel with the end of the stick.  We feel that clothes eventually become a part of ourselves.  We build the picture of our body again and again....  There are forces of hatred scattering the picture of our own body and forces of love putting it together.... (165-66)

Camilla’s story begins as an inability to separate her own desires from the desires of her social others, but becomes a story of body image disfiguration.  In denying her own self in favor of a social order which requires her to wear so many different clothes/shapes, Camilla shows a lack of “self-love.”  Her body image, which reflects her self, will dissolve accordingly.

So begins Camilla’s grotesque disfigurations, starting with the eponymous stripes across her body.  Pictorially, Camilla’s story is intensely filled with color, which Nodelman states “have emotional connotations that allow them to act as signifiers of states of mind....” (141).  Thus, Camilla’s internal struggle as she seeks to realize a sense of self is communicated through the various colors her bodies takes on.  The bodily-normative children are at first amazed, staring at a star-spangled, red-and-white striped Camilla during the Pledge of Allegiance, then laughing uproariously in the next illustration as Camilla becomes a mix between  “checkerboard” (her left forearm), “purple polka dots” (her forehead), and the American flag pattern from the previous picture.  Thus, the distressed state of mind Camilla is in when she stands in her closet manifests itself in her colorful disfigurations.  Camilla’s attempts to please her social others by denying her self-identity has led her to this emotional extreme, where her classmates start “calling out different shapes and colors” so that her body--beyond Camilla’s control--changes accordingly.  The symbolic interpretation is that Camilla’s color changes mirror a plethora of emotional, internal changes that occur whenever she tries to please her social others by altering her appearance, wearing the perfect outfit or dress.  The theme of Camilla’s story is immediately clear:  through her long pattern of self-denial, Camilla has literally surrendered her body image to her social others; in order to cure her disfigured body, she must somehow reclaim her body image and validate her inner self--which is indeed what happens at the story’s end.

The real-life child may recognize Camilla’s plight in the discussions he overhears concerning his own real-life body.  Schilder writes of David Levy’s study on diseased children’s attitudes on the bodies of similarly ill children:

.. children find out about their own body by the talk and observation of others. The attitude of the parents toward scars and the observation of others provoke a great interest in the child’s own body.  Family conversations about health, appearance, or illness in the family may also increase the child’s interest in its own body. (224-25)

According to Schilder, the building of one’s body image necessitates speculation on the bodies of others as much as others will speculate on one’s physical body.  The child’s body image is therefore not a blank Lockean slate ready for social imprinting; he is complicit in observing the bodies of others while his own body is observed.  However, Schilder’s evocation of Levy’s findings shows that the child is very sensitive where his body is concerned, and the possibility exists that any comment, no matter how well-meaning or positive, may be interpreted by the child as an encroachment on his expected physical development.  The manner of Camilla’s disfiguration is the manifestation of this fear, as Camilla’s body really does become a Lockean slate, readily accepting even passing comments as physical commands and responding accordingly.

Dr. Bumble, the Specialists, the Experts and the multitude of those who would define Camilla’s body and its proper behavior all mean well.  Dr Bumble confidently prescribes ointment which he assures “should ... clear up those stripes in a few days.”  The Specialists also prescribe pills (to which Camilla’s body should react accordingly), but not before they take academic ownership of her body as they examine her:  “They squeezed and jabbed, tapped and tested.  It was very uncomfortable.”  Camilla’s outrage is shown in her pained facial expression and the illustration’s striking reddish background.  Nodelman acknowledges that red “conventionally implies ... warmth,” yet also states that this color can also “equally suggest defiance and hostility” (60, 63).  Indeed, reds, pinks and purples increasingly dominate Camilla’s body as her bodily condition worsens.  Camilla’s examination mirrors Sam’s in that the physicians, as the authorities of proper bodily configuration and behavior, all attempt to explain why each child protagonist’s respective body bears such a bizarre shape:  Sam has “some sort of skin condition,” while Camilla “definitely [doesn’t] have chicken pox,” among other pronouncements on her body.  Yet these physicians merely perpetuate the same illness which Camilla suffers from:  the lack of a self-defined body image that exists alongside social appropriations of her body in a stable equilibrium. 

In both text and illustrations, Camilla’s manifold disfigurations progress into increasingly organic, earthy forms that are intensely somatic; similarly, they progress from a physically mobile form into one so cumbersome that she becomes trapped in her own body.  Camilla can feel discomfort at being physically prodded; she can feel the odd contours of her pill transformation:  “It was awful.  When she woke up the next morning, she did feel different... her clothes didn’t fit right.”  The accompanying pictures show first as an anthropomorphized “multi-colored pill”, her movement restricted by her now too-tight clothes and rigid, cylindrical torso; then as a mass of pink-skinned, green haired “squiggly little bacteria tails” and furry blue “virus balls”; then as a rear-view of Camilla slumped in a chair, a grotesque fusion of tree roots, branches, bird feathers and furred tail protruding from her back--so disfigured that she literally cannot stand because she has no feet.  Thus, Camilla has gone from the antiseptic, geometric pill-shape to something ultimately furry, gooey, and slimy.  Camilla’s transformations are both textually and visually shown as multicolored, with pink, white, yellow, and blue grains encapsulating her face; her “bacteria tails” are pink with splotches of green and “different colored,” thus continuing the visual motif of her striped appearance from the text’s beginning.  The prevalence of discordantly different colors and lack of a matching color scheme indicates what Nodelman calls “a jarring energy or excitement” (64).  The increasingly somatic nature of the illustrations therefore parallel the emotional turmoil Camilla undergoes:  changing her body image so many times is as emotionally, internally painful for her as her physical discomfort.

That Camilla’s body feels uncomfortable in its disfigured states mirrors the sensations of any child’s own real-life body, sensations which may not be fully understood.  Camilla feels a vague sense of difference in her pill shape, but in her organic states, she adapts animal body parts--elements that have a strong tactile quality to young children.  For example, Camilla’s body chooses to manifest “viruses” as “squiggly ...tails” and “bacteria” as “fuzzy balls”--these are what Camilla imagines viruses and bacteria to look and feel like.  According to David Gooderham in “‘These Little Limbs...’ Defining the Body in Texts for Children,” animal symbols are meaningful to children especially due to their “somatic” states of being, “uncontrollable by linguistic domestications and taming,” being naturally convenient for the child reader to identify with, since the young child, “with a less well-developed apparatus of cognitive and moral control than that of the adult … lives intensely within a somatic tension” (238).  To the child who wonders about his own bodily development, hearing adults complain about various aches and pains and perhaps fearing if he will one day feel the same if his body grows to his parents’ size, Camilla’s story therefore makes more sense than his parents’ distant, scientific descriptions of what actually happens to the body as it grows.

The animal parts and tree parts which fuse to her body correspond to real-life admonitions to wash hands after playing with strange animals or to bathe after sprawling in dirt--Camilla’s body becomes unclean as it progresses from capsule form to somatic form(s), from free body movement to no movement.  The unclean motif is further established when Camilla is asked to leave school for fear that her disfiguration is contagious, and when the Experts discuss bacteria and viruses when studying Camilla’s body.  Gooderham writes of a clean/unclean dual dynamic, which “introduce[s] a dichotomy” between the child protagonist’s body as “a site of moral … danger,” represented by uncleanly physical appearances, and the idealized “…  site of natural and healthy possibility,” represented by a cleanly appearance (228).  What Gooderham defines as “moral” of course, are the socially-defined values of acceptable/unacceptable comportment—social codes of bodily appearance that the child reader must adhere to; what is “immoral” is the ignoring of those codes.  Where body image is concerned, Shannon’s text advocates a theme of balance:  Camilla’s obsessive attention to socially-defined appearances overwhelms her own body ideals.  Camilla’s over-attention to the socially-defined field has ironically led her to the exact opposite of what she set out to do in the first place:  she has gained a definitely not ideal bodily form.

Camilla becomes most unclean, most somatic, most immobile when her body merges with her bedroom: “Her bed became her mouth, her nose was a dresser, and two paintings were her eyes.”  The illustration of Camilla-as-a-room shows the room as splotched with various wall colors, the walls and floor littered with crystals and tentacles--clearly, a room that is ‘unclean’ from a parental perspective.  The expression of distress on her face can be interpreted as either distress at her parents’ dismayed reactions to her new form or physical pain at becoming something so bloated and unwieldy that her illustration takes up three-quarters of a double-page picture, forcing her parents into the far right corner.  Her immobility is obvious.  Yet even in this most visually severe disfiguration, there is proof that Camilla does have a self definition of body image.  This is visually marked by Camilla’s ever-present pink hair ribbon, which remains affixed to her head from the first picture of her standing in her closet until now, even growing in size as her disfigured body merges itself with her bedroom.  While all other parts of Camilla’s body change color and state, this is the only part that remains a stable pink.  Nodelman writes that “...illustrators often draw attention to significant objects by depicting them in colors unlike those of the remaining objects in the picture.... ” (142).  The illustrations of Camilla’s disfigurations are colorfully discordant, yet the simplicity of the pink hair bow demarcates it as a significant object, as it unifies all of her bizarre body images into a single symbolic exploration of differing body images.  Thus, Camilla’s sense of self is visually shown to be inextricably linked to her body image no matter how severely it changes.

Like Sam, Camilla must acknowledge to herself her own body ideals, to balance them with the social ideals which she confronts on a daily basis.  In finally admitting to liking and eating the lima beans offered to her by the old woman who appears at her door, Camilla reverses her disfiguration:  “...the branches, feathers, and squiggly tails began to disappear... the whole room swirled around.  When it stopped, there stood Camilla, and everything was back to normal.”  The illustration shows a different depiction of this process, for instead of the “branches, feathers, and ... tails” disappearing, the picture reveals a Camilla standing erect with hands stretched out (a visual indicator of freeness of body movement and lack of pain in moving) and the various elements being forcefully expelled in all directions.  Thus, the picture symbolically shows that Camilla’s disfigurations (which come directly from others’ remarks on her body) are not simple transmutations of her body parts into other elements, but that her disfigurations are objects that are placed on her.   Camilla’s body image had formerly taken the body images from social others into itself at the cost of Camilla’s own agency (and resulting in her bizarre disfigurations); in this picture, Camilla has learned to metaphorically shrug off those definitions in order to realize herself.  “I knew the real you was in there somewhere” the old woman says, before disappearing. By eating the lima beans she fears her society hates, Camilla therefore follows the pattern of denying the social order as Sam does by ignoring everyone else when he skateboards.

By the story’s end, Camilla has reintegrated with her society, shown by the picture of her happily eating lima beans with a variety of people in the background, and people sitting to her immediate left and right.  However, her internal change is noted in that her hair bow, formerly pink, is now striped in the same pattern as her first transformation.  The text notes that “some of the kids at school thought she was weird, but she didn’t care a bit.  She ate all the lima beans she wanted....”  Camilla has finally learned to resist the social order’s definitions of body image.  That she still listens to the “kids at school” shows that she is still open to social influence but that she no longer allows the social order to define her body.  Camilla, like Sam, has learned to balance a self-defined body order with input from the social order.

Both Sam and Camilla require a drastic change in body image in order to find their true selves in the midst of an enveloping social order.  Weiss suggests that imaginatively disfiguring one’s body, as these picture books allow readers to do, is a necessary survival tactic of personhood:  “when bodies are at odds with their own body images... distortion may turn out to be the only viable strategy for survival...” (96-97).  Similarly, in their essay on child protagonists who come across overwhelming parental limiters, Kara Keeling and Scott Pollard write that the only recourse for the protagonist is “to become a horror to adults, a protean, monstrous child” (127).  This theme of bodily transformation as the required catalyst to the realization of a stronger self is perpetuated for children even in our modern day popular culture.  At the time of this writing, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, and Dreamworks Animation’s film version of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon have entered theaters to great acclaim.   While the former is a retelling of a well-known fairy tale with the theme of disfiguration through magical transformation, it is noteworthy that the latter has been significantly altered from the novel it was based on so that bodily disfiguration/disability becomes crucial to the story:  Toothless the dragon becomes disfigured/disabled by losing a tail fin and the character of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III loses his left foot; it is replaced by a prosthetic [8].  Why have stories of this type found such strong application in consumer items made for children?

Steven Bruhm’s article on Gothic portrayals of children in horror films may seem out of place in this study of children’s picture books, yet Bruhm’s arguments offer cultural explanations which parallel the ideas of body image construction presented here.  For instance, when writing on the various bodily changes the child character Regan in The Excorcist undergoes (i.e.,  her ability to rotate her head “to face behind her,” “stigmata” on her skin, etc), Bruhm argues that all of Regan’s bodily contortions/capabilities (which are definitely not of a social ideal!) have pragmatic explanations and are within the realm of physical possibility of a bodily normative child of her age:  “my point in all these [bodily] examples:  rather than emphasise the danger of outside threats to the innocent contemporary child, these narratives create an interpretive blankness in the child that goes beyond some Lockean tabula rasa.  We do not know causes, we can only see effects” (102-103).  Bruhm writes of the socialized reception and interpretation of Regan’s bodily appearance and abilities.  Regan’s body is said to be possessed because the unique properties of her disfigured body do not follow a socially-defined, idealized comportment and necessitate a particularized treatment by her social order:  Regan’s body has become a site of evil; due to the aforementioned connection between one’s physicality and one’s perception of inner self, Regan’s internal self has become evil.  In short, Regan’s social order has projected negative elements onto her as much as Sam’s and Camilla’s respective social orders project negative elements onto them (e.g., Sam is an old man and should be sent away; Camilla has become infectious).  This aspect of Bruhm’s argument parallels Weiss’ argument of a continuous body image which one projects onto others as much as one’s body image is appropriated by others.  For instance, parents appropriate the body images of their children:  “...earlier body images are also projected onto our own children as we watch their fascination with/dread of their bodies and as we find ourselves inhabiting their way of living their bodies as the emotional center of the world” (35).  Here, Weiss writes that during the continuous process of body image construction, revision, and reconstruction, body images are never discarded, but remain in simultaneous existence with one’s current body image, which is really a multiplicity of body images.  In this manner, the parent--the primary vehicle for the child’s social encoding outside of school and peer interactions--who is himself in the process of body image construction, regularly makes assumptions on how the child’s body should appear/comport itself based on how that parent remembers his own childhood body and its abilities.  Bruhm and Weiss may agree that children are not blank slates on which to imprint proper social codes of body image, but society nevertheless tends to treat/receive children that way.

Bruhm’s article offers insight into this study of children’s picture books as to why disfiguration stories are so prevalent--even necessary--in children’s literature, though his article focuses on a parent-child/adult-child dialectic relationship.  However, children receive inputs on body image from the entire spectrum of the social order, from parents as well as from peers, television/movie images, teachers, and so forth.  It is easy to see how any real-life child reader may feel overwhelmed by ideas on how he should look and develop.  Thus, imaginatively pushing the constraints of the idealized body image, even to creative heights of fancy (as the children’s picture books in this study allow) seems to be a necessary strategy not only for the child protagonists in this study, but for the real-life children who read about them.  The younger the child is, the more receptive he is to tolerating atypical body images in both himself and others, as the young child is capable of the uncynical, empowering belief that he actually can warp his own body to a radically differing form from the social ideal, that this bodily change can work to his benefit, not his social detriment, which he fears.  As Weiss writes:

Encouraging children to explore the alternative imaginary schemas opened up by changes in bodily morphology is perhaps one of the oldest... tactics available for undermining social constraints on what bodies can and can’t do.  Unfortunately, for those of us who are no longer able (or willing) to believe that such radical bodily transformation is possible, less magical (and entertaining!) tactics will have to suffice. (74)

As powerful and popular as texts mentioned in the preceding paragraph are, it is doubtful whether their older children readers are as capable of this accessing of the imaginary realm of bodily possibility as, say, the younger reader of children’s picture books.

Children’s picture books of disfiguration may offer a cathartic freedom to a child reader, for Gooderham states such texts give “the fantasy of unrestricted possibility … an unambiguous celebration of bodily freedom” to the child reader in his consideration of physical possibilities in his own real-life body (239).  If Sam and Camilla can actively face such divergent possibilities in their physical development in their respective stories, then so might the child reader approach his own development separately from what his social others expect of him.  The child reader’s identity is therefore not a stressful process of following a set of ideal bodily parameters, but a more open one of learning to negotiate social definitions of body with his own body image.   These texts gain a political space, where Sam and Camilla become the agents of their own physical and corollary emotional change and their physical transformations function as adventurous experiments in their own development.

The unifying thread that weaves behind Sam’s and Camilla’s stories of disfiguration is that each child protagonist develops an aberrant appearance that empowers each protagonist to begin seeking a body image that s/he himself/herself has a say in.  Each story, as Weiss writes, allows its respective child protagonist to “imagine a morphological transformation that will overcome [his] bodily deficiencies and limitations... with ease and confidence... it will also allow [him] to explore and test out new and unforeseen bodily capabilities” in his/her own body (74).  Disfiguration, or the warping of codified body images, is the stepping stone to each child protagonist’s internal maturation, interpreted by the child reader/viewer as a necessary step in his own real-life physical evolution.  After his bizarre physical change, Sam finds that he can still and always will skateboard; after her manifold transformations, Camilla learns that she can eat lima beans without feeling bad.  The theme in these texts is clear:  the course of real-life physical development is indeed an unknown to the child reader/viewer, but it is the child—not the social order—who will ultimately define what is necessary from his social others to follow, and what is necessary of himself to incorporate into his body image.  There are many social impositions on the child’s bodily comportment, but in these texts they are ancillary to the child’s initiatives towards how he feels he should look.

 

Notes

1

. This is not to imply a solely negative side to social influence on the child’s body image, or social interaction which focuses on the child’s body and its capability (sports, dance, etc).  Indeed, according to Schilder and Weiss, children are as complicit in the process of observing/commenting on others’ bodies as they are subjected to their body images being appropriated by others.  Rather, I point out the potential of negative effects of any single social bodily ideal on the child.  This is most obvious when the child deals with social peers who ridicule him for his physical appearance, but if the child were an ethnic minority, or had a physical uniqueness, seeing the portrayal of a child in a television ad (representing a certain ethnicity or an idealized physicality) would also force that child to question his own body image, to possibly negate his unique physicality and therefore negate himself. 

Further, Schilder asserts that children can “push [their] own body-images completely into others” as much as social others can “push” body images on him, what he calls “some ... continuous interplay” of body image exchange (234).  I contend that the potential for negativity in body image exchange between social other and self comes when a child feels he must conform to a socially-defined, idealized body image.

2. Kent and Thompson use the term “schema” or “self-schema” in place of the term “body image.”

3. Though Weiss mentions children’s body images, she makes use of the Symbolic Order with respect to body image as it affects the perception of a female body.  I deliberately avoid the capitalized case in order to focus more on what happens to the child. 

4. The types of disfiguration stories within the realm of children’s picture books are legion: several categories are arguably unique, yet can also be said to to overlap with other categories.  To definitively name each and every type is beyond the scope of this study.  I argue that all disfiguration stories in children’s literature subvert an idealized social body ideal, but do so in different ways.  For instance, this study focuses on child protagonists who are at first unsure of their respective disfigurations, but eventually find confidence in themselves despite their non-conforming bodies; there is a type of disfiguration story (e.g., William Steig’s Shrek! or Karen Beaumont’s I Like Myself!) where the child protagonist takes pride in having a grotesque/bizarre physical form from the start.  Further, there is also the issue of body image in older children’s literature and YA texts.  Children’s picture books tend to portray a sympathetic, elastic, even playful attitude to bodily image, for the reader is meant to sympathize with the disfigured protagonist.  By contrast, in fiction for older age groups, body image tends to become rigid and inelastic; physical marks on/proposed changes to the protagonist’s body are negatively portrayed.  J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter becomes extremely self-conscious about how visible his signature forehead-scar is; Scott Westerfeld’s Tally Youngblood (Uglies) becomes a physically imposing, feral “Special”; Neil Gaiman’s Coraline receives her first hints of wrongness when her Other Mother proposes the putting out of her eyes and their replacement with black buttons. 

5. Schilder identifies the body image construction process as an intensely optic, visual one:  “The optic impressions concerning our own body, which are so important for the formation of the body-image, are in no way different from the optic impressions we have concerning the bodies of others” (234).  By viewing illustrations where children protagonists become disfigured, such as those found in children’s picture books, children readers/viewers are presented with alternate body images which challenge any one idealized body image originating from social others.

6. “Extraordinary bodies” is Garland Thompson’s term.  Given its aptness and relevance to this study, any further use of this term will be in her original context.  Garland Thompson’s work is foundational to any study of bodily disfiguration (and any physical disabilities resulting from the disfiguration).  However, it is important to note that Thompson uses the terms of “self”/“cultural self” to mean those who adhere to these body norms, and “other”/ “cultural other” to mean those marked with disfigurement and not adhering to social codes of normal bodily comportment (8).  Garland Thompson argues that the extraordinarily-bodied person is made into an abject “other” due to his non-conforming physique.  However, I focus on how an idealized body image may be enforced on a child reader (well-meaning comments from adults on his physical development, visual bombardment from popular media, taunts from peers, etc), and how picture books of disfiguration subvert this idealized body image.  For these purposes, I use “self” to  refer to the child reader, and “other” refers to any social influences which informs the child’s body image (adults, peers, etc).

7. From the linguistic roots of Dr. Chang’s prognosis, we can glean that Sam’s condition is “idiopathic,” or “ideal-driven,” and perhaps a symptom of an internal, emotional change, such as Sam’s need to face his fear of bodily changes that developmental states (old age being one) require. 

8. Hiccup first appears in Cowell’s picture book Hiccup the Seasick Viking, which is not a disfiguration story, but Hiccup’s small physical body is compared to his father’s massive frame and those of other Vikings.

 

Works Cited

Beaumont, Karen.  I Like Myself!  New York:  Harcourt, 2004.  Print

Bruhm, Steven.  “Nightmare on Sesame Street: or, The Self-Possessed Child.”  Gothic Studies 8.2. (2006):  98-111.  Print.

Cowell, Cressida.  Hiccup the Seasick Viking.  New York:  Orchard, 2000.  Print.

---.  How to Train Your Dragon.  Boston:  Brown, 2004.  Print.

Gaiman, Neil.  Coraline.  New York:  HarperCollins, 2002.  Print.

Garland Thompson, Rosemary.  Extraordinary Bodies:  Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York:  Columbia UP, 1997.  Print.

Gooderham, David.  “’These Little Limbs…’  Defining the Body in Texts for Children.” Children’s Literature in Education 27.4 (1996):  227-241.  Print.

How to Train Your Dragon.  Dir. Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders.  Dreamworks, 2010.  Film.

Keeling, Kara and Scott Pollard.  “Power, Food, and Eating in Maurice Sendak and Henrik Drescher:  Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and The Boy Who Ate Around.”  Children’s Literature in Education 30.2 (1999):  127-143.  Print.

Kent, Gerry and Andrew Thompson.  “Adjusting to Disfigurement:  Processes Involved in Dealing with Being Visibly Different.”  Clinical Psychology Review 21.5 (2001):  633-682.  Print.

Nodelman, Perry.  Words About Picture Books.  Athens:  Georgia UP, 1988.  Print.

Say, Allen.  Stranger in the Mirror.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1995.  Print.

Schilder, Paul.  The Image & Appearance of the Human Body.  New York:  International UP, 1950.  Print.

Shannon, David.  A Bad Case of Stripes.  New York:  Scholastic, 1998.  Print.

Steig, William.  Shrek!  New York:  Farrar, 1990.  Print.

The Princess and the Frog.  Dir. Ron Clements and John Musker.  Walt Disney, 2009.  Film.

Weiss, Gail.  Body Images:  Embodiment as Intercorporeality.  New York:  Routledge, 1999.

Westerfeld, Scott.  Uglies.  New York:  Simon Pulse, 2002.  Print.

 

 

Andrew Hoe


Volume 15, Issue 1 The Looking Glass,May/June 2011

Site design and content, except where noted, © The Looking Glass 2011.
"Body Image and Disfiguration in Allen Say’s Stranger in the Mirror, and David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes
" © Andrew Hoe, 2011
Send general correspondence regarding The Looking Glass c/o The Editor



The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680