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Discuss how Neil Gaiman's 'The Graveyard Book' (winner of the uk carneagie prize) along with Louisa m Alcott's 'Little Woman' an - Essay Example

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Children’s literature and the nature of the fairytale structure Introduction Children’s literature has seen a great number of changes in the last two centuries, the nature of how moral and social structures are addressed within novels intended for the young reflecting social belief systems of the time period in which they were written…
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Discuss how Neil Gaimans The Graveyard Book (winner of the uk carneagie prize) along with Louisa m Alcotts Little Woman an
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Download file to see previous pages In looking at three novels from three different time periods, the examples of how children’s literature have both evolved and stayed surprisingly the same can be appreciated. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott provided a template for society during the 19th century, the efforts of the sisters in her story framed by the social construction that defined the culture of the time. In Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome, the stories are based upon the adventures of children as two groups meet and interact, one group in a dinghy named Swallow, and the other group in a dinghy named Amazon. The stories were written in the early 20th century creating a reflection of the moral discourse and the nature of perceived childhood of the time period. The last novel, The Graveyard Book, written by Neil Gaiman, was published in 2008 and reflects the darker aesthetics that have emerged in the last decade. The three novels provide rich insight into the changing nature of children’s literature, while also providing context for the similarities that exist within the genre that have transcended time. Childhood and Children’s Literature The history of children’s literature is long and filled with imaginative methods in which the world was interpreted for the younger mind. Through stories that granted a message of morals, ethics, politics, sexuality, gender, or social construction, children have been instructed on how to understand many of the complex issues of life. According to Lerer (2008, p. 1), “The history of children’s literature is inseparable from the history of childhood, for the child was made through texts and tales he or she studied, heard, and told back”. The nature of children’s literature is within its ability to transform thought, to define a topic that will influence the way in which that topic is experienced and framed by the child who has been exposed something specific within a story. Stories provide context for the many experiences that seem too large or beyond the scope of a child’s ability to comprehend. A story can break something into smaller pieces that will be more easily digested, thus creating a broader and more developed understanding. Childhood has been framed throughout history, although its modern concept is a relatively new idea. Furthering the nature of modern childhood, the child is now considered for investment, through both economic and emotional considerations that in previous societies were not nurtured. Children became important as they proved their importance. Marx Wartofsky, a twentieth century philosopher, stated that a child is “ what they are taken to be by others and what they come to take themselves to be, in the course of their social communication and interaction with others” (Lerer 2008, p. 2). Therefore, the way in which the communication between literature and the child is developed is through the nature of the social connection that is made between society and childhood. As children rose in viability as a consumerist segment of society for which advertisers could focus their wares, the nature of engaging the imagination began to evolve to a higher level. Stories such as Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll are were conceived in that late 19th century time period as ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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