Don't Drink the Water: Colonialism and Pete Hautman's Godless

Matthew Prickett


Nodelman's thesis of childhood as a colonized state, with every aspect controlled and mandated by adults, purposes that children and teenagers can be controlled through a variety of pressures.  A colonial reading of a story can be used to determine typical controlling factors and to examine how such colonization subverts childhood, or adolescents.  In Pete Hautman’s Young Adult novel Godless, religion is the controlling factor under examination.  While Hautman’s novel does not insult or belittle religion, it does showcase how an adult’s use of religion is one of the greatest powers he or she has over a teenager.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680