“What’s in a Gnome?”
DOI link for “What’s in a Gnome?”
“What’s in a Gnome?” book
Gnomeo and Juliet (Kelly Asbury, 2011) is part of a long line of Shakespeare adaptations for children. In this self-aware adaptation of Romeo and Juliet garden decorations play out the narrative. The film further features an elaborate weaving of intertextuality through various references to other Shakespeare plays, including As You Like It, Hamlet, and Taming of the Shrew, aimed to add additional layers of meaning to the plot, which range from playful and funny to encouraging critical reflection on the events in which they are used. This chapter demonstrates how the film uses irreverence and intertextuality to make Shakespeare accessible to children as it allows them to engage with his work, as well as encourage a critical interrogation of the plot in relation to gender roles and the negative effect of the patriarchy on (young) men and women. The analysis will centre on the various types of relationships that are at the heart of the film. The first is the relationship of the author to the work, visible when Gnomeo challenges a statue of Shakespeare about the plot of the original play. This is followed by the familial relationships between the title characters and their parent, peer relationships with their friends and enemies, and finally the romantic relationship between Gnomeo and Juliet. The chapter concludes that while Gnomeo and Juliet aims to show the negative effect of the patriarchy, it nevertheless still enforces some of its views.