I Sowed the Dragon's Teeth

  • Rhiannon Ball

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Karl König’s model represents how community shapes the individual, and in turn the individual shapes community. It thereby begins to express the complexities and interdependences of a successful journey into life, and the ‘layering’ of a human biography which is inevitably shared with, and influenced by, others.

The novel, I Sowed the Dragon’s Teeth, is structurally organised under character symbols which follow König’s defined social layers: family; village, district, street; the community of language; and humankind. The final chapters repeat the symbol of family, as an indication that the processes of growth and development; of both character and plot; are cyclical or multidimensional. The narrative itself demonstrates how a person’s social development is not completely linear, rather a process often returning to its origins. This critical commentary is similarly organised to reflect these layers of social development and equally seeks to connect and comment upon them as a whole.

As König’s work, in areas of both philosophy and sociology, is an important area of inspiration for the creative and critical aspects of my own, the approach of this thesis is necessarily interdisciplinary in nature. While it draws from the work of other fiction writers, it is equally grounded in areas of human science. The effect is one in which characters and events can be analysed in their own right, but also through the lens of real human experience. As much of the novel’s historical aspects are researched and grounded in real human history, this further proves a more insightful approach. Consequently a diverse range of terminology, sources and further reading importantly inform the discussion of this work.

The work of Rudolf Steiner notably influences some of the theoretical arguments put forward in this commentary. His ideas concerning a reexamination of the relationship between the individual and the rest of humankind were instrumental in prompting my own. Indeed, Steiner’s unique insights into the responsibilities of any community to its individual members, prompted my interest both in intentional communities as a vehicle for social reform, and the setting for a novel. In the novel, Dyffryn Tŷ Farm can be seen as just such a vehicle. In contrast to the exclusive vehicle Craddock and Walter seek to propel, tangibly, into the future, the members of Dyffryn Tŷ utilise interaction with individuals, such as Miao, to inclusively disseminate alternate social ideas.
Readership for I Sowed the Dragon’s Teeth is partly intended for an adult audience interested in these philosophical, sociological and historical inspirations. That is, adults interested in initiatives for social change, chiefly the Camphill Movement; WWII historical fiction; and fiction inclusive of central characters with disabilities. To a greater degree, the novel is intended as a work of young adult fiction, due to archetypal themes of friendship, getting into trouble, familial struggles, and concern over identity.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJacqueline Yallop (Supervisor)

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