Original Research

Humour and the locus of control in The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler)

B. van der Westhuizen
Literator | Vol 28, No 3 | a168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v28i3.168 | © 2007 B. van der Westhuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2007 | Published: 30 July 2007

About the author(s)

B. van der Westhuizen, Subject Group Afrikaans and Dutch, School of Languages, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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The purpose of this article is firstly to distinguish between the notions “external locus of control” and “internal locus of control”, secondly to indicate ways in which the locus of control in humour in “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler can be identified and thirdly to indicate possible ways in which emphasis on the internal locus of control in the young reader can assist him/her in the development of a general mental/- psychological well-being.

Different kinds of literary humour contribute to the ways in which young listeners/readers can identify with stories, poems, dramas and films. The young listener/reader can recognise him/herself in humorous situations, in the humorous use of imagery, wordplay and illustrations/visuals. He/she can also identify with or distance him-/herself from or reject the characters, the values represented and the author who created the text.

When in interaction with the works of authors who use negative as well as positive kinds of humour to point out the dos and don’ts, the rights and the wrongs in life, the horizon of a young listener’s/reader’s experience can be expanded. Such a reading would contribute to the development of the young reader’s cognitive, emotional, social and moral values as it links up with an unconscious or conscious decision about the locus of control in his/her life.


J Donaldson; The Gruffalo; Humour; Locus Of Control


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