I’m writing a book on evil children in the popular imagination.
Wait–that’s not quite right.
Right now, I’m writing a proposal for a book I intend to write on evil children in the popular imagination. Anyone who has tried to write a book proposal (or a thesis/fellowship/dissertation proposal) knows that it is a counter-intuitive process. You are essentially writing a summary of what you think you will eventually argue. However, you can’t possibly know what you’re going to argue because you haven’t done the research yet. And most of us figure out what we’re trying to argue in the middle of writing the argument anyway, right?
What I’ve come up with so far is that the evil child has no singular meaning. Rather, there are categories of evil children, and they each perform different cultural work. My book is broken down into chapters based on these categories, which so far are
3) The Possessed Child (e.g., The Exorcist )
5) Vengeful Child Ghosts (The Changeling )
6) The Feral Child (Mama )
9) Lolitas and Nikitas (Hit Girl from Kick-Ass )
10) Monsters that Masquerade as Kids (Case 39)
I might also consider issues of genre. What does it mean to have an evil child depicted in a young adult novel, for example? Why are there so many evil children in video games? Why were 1980s horror paperbacks filled with scary kids?
Anyway, that’s what’s behind the evil children posts.