Power and the Subversion of Stories

Tat Heung CHOI*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Language is a multiplicity of meaning-making systems, which are connected with social, cultural and psychological networks. Focusing on issues of power, this article is concerned to explore how the readings of a European folktale triggered attempts among teenage girls in Hong Kong to make their own feminist and subversive interpretations in English. The reconstructed stories are more than a partial reproduction of the conventional text, they are also a useful reflection of the teenage girls' literacy and gender experience, as well as of their generic and social knowledge. With a resistance to textual conventions, the teenage girls demonstrate their written competence to create alternative subject and reading positions, which are textually motivated by their sense of difference. The material realisation of the stories is also characterised by splits and instabilities, in the negotiation of a new boundary for femininity. This negotiation demonstrates how the teenage girls are on the move, facing and settling contradictory possibilities in acquiring literacy and social roles. Along these lines of observation, the synchronic view of language, characterised by regularity and internal consistency, needs to be challenged in second-language writing instruction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)282-294
    Number of pages13
    JournalPower and Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Education
    • Sociology and Political Science


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