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The Graveyard Book and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone: The new nature of Childrens Literature - Essay Example

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In the last twenty years, the nature of children’s literature has changed. Children’s literature has begun to engage in discourse the directly confronts the darker and less joyous sides of life. …
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The Graveyard Book and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone: The new nature of Childrens Literature
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Download file to see previous pages No longer are the worlds idealized to the point where innocence can be maintained at an unrealistic level. The heroes of some of the modern literature have been through terrible circumstances, their lives turned from a horror that is realistic to a universe that sheds the horrors of the real life predicaments, only to lead the heroes into reflections of it through adventure that is dramatic and fraught with dangers. Two novels that use this contrasts of worlds are Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Graveyard Book. Harry Potter begins his journey from the home of his Aunt and Uncle who, while perhaps not physically abusing him, have mentally abused him for the first eleven years of his life. Harry has been made to live in a space under the stairs, the home not having a space for him because his cousin has a bedroom and a second bedroom. His cousin, in comparison to Harry, is spoiled, all the toys he desires and any attention he wishes are lavished upon him by his mother and father. Harry, on the other hand, is treated as if he is their slave, doing chores that his cousin would never be given and instructed through threats and emotionally harsh behavior (Rowling 1999). In The Graveyard Book, the protagonist is a two year old child when the terror that affects his life occurs. A character that is called ‘the man Jack’ kills the child’s family, leaving him to wander away and into a graveyard. The fantastical beings of the graveyard decide to raise the child, calling him ‘Nobody‘, which is often shortened to ‘Bod’. The nature of the child’s life is full of adventure, which eventually culminates in engaging ’the man Jack’ in a confrontation (Gaiman and McKean 2010). The nature of the story is based upon death, the themes that emerge founded in this general theme, just as the themes of Harry Potter are centered on death. Both Harry Potter and Nobody have lost their parents at a very young age. However, the interesting literary context that occurs in both books is that the acceptance of this fact is taken as a part of life, the conflicts growing as age puts new cognitive information into the context of the events that take their families. As the concepts of death become more clearly and cognitively available to the young protagonists, their engagement with the villains becomes more complex. One of the ways in which Harry Potter frames its topic manner in a way that brings charm to the tragedies of his life is through engaging the British culture through combining elements of the past and the present to evoke nostalgia as a sentimental narrative. The presence of the wizarding world is full of Victorian English trappings, the nature of Diagon Alley a part of the historic Britain aesthetic and reminiscent of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, despite the time period differences. Through the use of nostalgia, the Harry Potter series is able to create charm that buffets the very serious nature of the themes that are presented, some quite questionable in regard to the level of development required to understand some of the actions of the characters. According to Blake, the nature of the nostalgia touches on a core issue within the British culture as it tries to identify its self post-globalization and in the information age. Blake (2002, p. 8) states that “we perforce exist in modern life, but most of us want to live somewhere else”. He goes on to say that “We copy the old rather than turn to the new. England is the land of the mock-Tudor suburb and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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