Chapter 2: Gifted Children


Narratives about psychically gifted children examine principles of child development and childrearing as well as the effects of abuse. Ray Bradbury’s “The Small Assassin” (1946) and “The Veldt” (1950) imagine the dangers children would pose if they had power before they learned moral restraint whereas Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life” (1953) examines the dangers of permissive parenting. Later texts, like the multiple versions of Carrie (1974, 1976, 2013) and the films Chronicle (2012) and Dark Touch (2013), examine the effects abuse, the children symbolizing school shooters, their “gifts” standing in for guns. Another branch of gifted child narratives, which includes Firestarter (1980, 1984) and a series of music videos by M83 (2011-2012), is also interested in the effects of abuse but of the kind inflicted by institutions rather than parents or schoolmates.