‘Texts’ Battling COVID-19: A New Historicist Reading of My Hero Is You Published by UNICEF

  • Malik Haroon Afzal School of Humanities, University Science Malaysia (USM)
  • Muhamad Rashidi Mohd Pakri School of Humanities, University Science Malaysia (USM)
  • Nurul Farhana Low Abdullah School of Humanities, University Science Malaysia (USM)
Keywords: COVID-19, child fiction, new historicism, literary and non-literary texts, self-fashioning


New Historicist approach assumes power to be using texts and co-texts as tools to build as well as retain a certain set of ideology. Since the pandemic has re-defined the personal space of individuals as a precaution to avoid the containment and the spread of COVID-19, the world has come across an ideology of restraint, to live and survive. In other words, social distancing is about to become a new normative structure throughout the world. The study strives to view, how texts and co-texts are being used by the world powers to fashion selves those comply with the new normative, i-e., social distancing and personal care. It also shows the representation of COVID-19 in the literary discourse produced during this pandemic and re-validates Stephen Greenblatt’s constructs of power, subversion and containment in this particular context. The essay, having analysed the child fiction My Hero is You published by UNICEF, finds that this pandemic has changed the dynamics of world politics by bringing all the world governments on one page to fight with COVID-19 and that they are relying heavily on literary as well as non-literary discourses to introduce and implement the new normative of social distancing and personal care. The study also suggests that this pandemic has also accorded the draconian image of power a new form, as this time power is trying to inculcate the ideology that favours humanity; and with the help of these ‘texts’, power wants to construct selves those comply with this new normative.    

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How to Cite
Afzal, M. H., Mohd Pakri, M. R. and Low Abdullah, N. F. (2020) “‘Texts’ Battling COVID-19: A New Historicist Reading of My Hero Is You Published by UNICEF”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 5(12), pp. 300 - 305. doi: https://doi.org/10.47405/mjssh.v5i12.573.