The Hope of the World: The Story of Jesus and its Influence in the Formation of Identity in Working Class Girls in Britain 1900-1945

Brewer, Sandy. 1999. The Hope of the World: The Story of Jesus and its Influence in the Formation of Identity in Working Class Girls in Britain 1900-1945. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of this thesis is to investigate how the British Sunday school story of Jesus functioned in the formation of identity of working class girls 1900-1945. In doing so, the thesis argues that the British Sunday school network during this period provided an effective institutional base for the promotion of a popular version of developmental theory known as child study, the influence of which fed into the establishment of the pedagogies of storytelling and the educational use of pictures. It explains how the Sunday school story of Jesus was one of the most accessible narratives available to working class children, but argues that this was a reframed version of the story which was formulated to take into account insights into child psychology gained through developmental theory and which acknowledged the varying needs of different age groups. The title of the thesis, The Hope of the World, is taken from a Sunday school picture of Jesus and is used here because it is seen as emblematic of the Edwardian view of children as the potential redeemers of the nation.

The thesis analyses the books, pictures and ephemera telling the story of Jesus which were produced for circulation in the Sunday school and argues that, through accident rather than design, these narratives invariably made a greater appeal to girls than boys. It shows that despite the reframing of the Jesus story as a fairy tale, adventure story and chivalric romance there were always problems encountered in producing an image of Jesus which would make a lasting, positive impression on boys. The thesis concludes by arguing that for working class girls in particular, the chivalric romance provided them with the means of identifying with Jesus, their knightly Saviour, through which they could negotiate their negative feelings about their own subordinate socia-economic positioning and that this was an effective means of inculcating the notion of altruistic citizenship.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00028685

Keywords:

Jesus, Working Class, 20th Century, Britain, Sunday School

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies

Date:

April 1999

Item ID:

28685

Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2020 15:57

Last Modified:

05 Jun 2020 15:57

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/28685

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