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‘At Times Like This It’s Traditional That a Hero Comes Forth’: Romance and Identity in Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!

  • Emily Lavin Leverett
Chapter
Part of the Critical Approaches to Children's Literature book series (CRACL)

Abstract

Emily Lavin Leverett negotiates Pratchett’s use of intertextuality in her discussion of tropes from medieval English romance in this chapter. Medieval English romance is often governed by what Helen Cooper calls ‘memes’: repeated elements of stories that shift and change to stay relevant and alive in culture. Terry Pratchett is an expert on memes, going so far as to suggest that the knowledge of these memes, what he calls ‘narrative causality’, does not merely influence stories, but traps people. Caught in the idea of what one is ‘supposed to be’ according to the narrative, people fail to choose their own paths and construct their own selves. In Guards! Guards!, Leverett argues, Pratchett rejects narrative causality through the character of Captain Samuel Vimes of the Night Watch: Vimes forges his identity against, rather than in line with, narrative expectations.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Lavin Leverett
    • 1
  1. 1.Methodist UniversityFayettevilleUSA

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