Unruly Girls and Unruly Language: Typography and Play in David Almond’s My Name is Mina.
Abstract: Over the last sixteen years Almond has experimented with ways of depicting an unruly wildernesses into which his protagonists adventure in search of space and time to come to terms with aspects of themselves and their world that they find difficult to control. This essay focuses on My Name is Mina (2010), the prequel to Almond’s groundbreaking debut Skellig (1998), in which Mina, Michael’s female accomplice in Skellig, is given a voice. The story takes the form of a journal supplemented by a first-person narrative in which Mina tries to understand and express the ways in which she finds herself unable to fit in. Her struggles with her unruly nature and where it might take her are evidenced in the variety of styles and formatting used throughout the novel to create striking double-page spreads. In these the semantic and iconic aspects of written language are used to invite an ambiguous and at times tense relationship between the reader and the female protagonist. This essay will draw on elements of multimodal analysis, feminine writing and the feminist künstlerroman to explore ways in which unruly girls and unruly language create paradoxes that encourage critical and creative engagements with the text and its protagonist.
Keywords: multimodal fiction; David Almond; feminine writing; feminist
künstlerroman; hybrid novel; typography; unruliness
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