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Avondale Research Centre

Scripture, Spirituality and Society Research Centre


Uncle Arthur’s bedtime stories stands as the principal and archetypal Seventh-day Adventist children’s literature text. It is heavily inscribed with distinct ideologies, which are specifically referential to Seventh-day Adventist dogma and faith. As children read these texts, they are exposed to, and affected by, these ideologies. This thesis seeks to expose the overt and covert ideologies of the text so that their power can be recognised and their value evaluated. This is accomplished through a brief investigation of the author and the publishing institution that conceived the texts, then through an explanation of the development and aims of critical literacy reading processes. These reading processes are then applied to the text in order to render explicit the belief structures constructed into the text which sustain the stories’ proposed ‘truths’ and ‘meanings’.
This investigation has revealed that Uncle Arthur’s bedtime stories assumes levels of authority over truth, interpretation and the reader, which it does not intrinsically command. This assumption of authority allows the text to propose and defend one-sided ‘truths’, spurious arguments and potentially unethical behaviour.

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