“It Never Hurts to Keep Looking for Sunshine”: The Motif of Depression in Works for Children and Youth Inspired by Classical Antiquity
The paper analyzes a handful of works for children and youth that are based on mythology and deal with depression, a topic that is becoming more frequent in contemporary children’s and young adults’ culture, mainly because of the need to break the mental health taboo. These are the newest edition of Laura Orvieto’s Storie di bambini molto antichi (2014, first published in 1937), Rachel Smythe’s digital comics Lore Olympus (2018–2020), Patricia Satjawatcharaphong’s short animation Reflection (2010), and the webcomic series Therapy created by Anastasia Gorshkova (2019–2020). They provide examples from literary and audio-visual culture for very young readers and more adult teenagers and youth, raising the issue of deep sadness utilizing storytelling and not in a didactic way. Some of the protagonists struggling with the problem are far from lively characters in conventional interpretations of the myths (including Hades, Hydra, or Medusa), so the texts play upon stereotypes entrenched in the culture. It appears that children’s works inspired by classical antiquity have significant interpretative potential and educational value – as well as the ability to surprise the audience.
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