Department Chair

Lisa Berglund, Ph.D.

Date of Award


Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.


English Department


Lisa Berglund, Ph.D.

Department Home page

First Reader

Barbara Bontempo, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Adrienne Costello, Ph.D.


Storytelling traditions from all corners of the globe are active experiences that involve both teller and listener. We tell stories to keep history alive, to impart lessons, to awake cathartic emotions, and to be simply entertained. Storytelling, therefore, is an act of self-preservation. Not only do we keep our ancestors in our memory, but as we see with the famous tale of Shahrazad (or Scheherazade), we also tell stories to save ourselves and those we love within our families and community. The characters in modern twentieth and twenty-first century children’s literature further this tradition of salvation through storytelling by using stories to save their own lives or those of others, or even that of the reader.

The texts examined are The Capture by Kathryn Lasky, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, and Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. By showing young readers how valuable the storytelling experience is, we keep it alive and reaffirm that this it is vital to our spiritual and physical survival. Through Shahrazad’s ongoing tradition, we can find salvation through storytelling.

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