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ENG224 - Introductory Lecture

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Ryerson University
ENG 224
David Copeland

ENG224 – Lecture 1 Literature for Kids - Text - Use Family stories o Overt religiosity and clear moral structures are common - Use of children’s literature has changed overtime, these themes are no longer always present - Audience o Determines length, language of book o Children’s lit various from pop lit in that the concern isn’t to sell books, but to have parents as well as children read them and pass them on o Role models are important What is a Child? - Used to be a stage that you would go through that was fleeting and to be finished - In the time of Little Women it becomes something to be adored, and childhood is a time of innocence o Innocence is not something that can be dropped and lost, it is a concept that changes overtime What Qualities Define Children’s Literature? Nodelman invoked 4 large concepts, Perry Nodelman, The Hidden Child (2008) 1. Language a. Simple vision, straight forward action based plots. The stories are so basic that there is no need for the rest b. The naivety of children in books that the reader is always more aware than the characters c. Read for the characters themselves 2. Point of View a. Texts are posted through a child or child surrogate. When you focus concerns through a child they become the concerns of a child. Helps us identify with children b. Kids read forward – adults read backwards. Adults know the world, the stories. Everything children read is new knowledge, “This is a new and curious world.” c. Adults and kids read children’s lit in very different ways 3. Desire’s Confrontation with Knowledge a. Both children and adults think about power, but kids are more ambivalent about it. b. There is something paradoxical about children’s lit. You want kids to be safe and secure yet 4. The Values Associates With Home and Away a. Home place allows kids to be safe. Home is the haven which the child returns to after the adventure b. Adult values that are imposed on kids Children’s Lit 1484 – 1719 - Used to teach rhetoric, morals, goodness, English, religious information - Chapter books o Used to be sold by peddlers, had poems and short stories that had been broken off from large books in them - Robinson Crusoe o Adventure, other worlds, food o Action based story that teaches certain skills - John Newbery, Goody Two Shoes (1743) o Learns to read o Used to sell a point, very good, obedient children – lots of moral instructional themes - Alice in Wonderland (1865) o Pictures are just as important as text o Celebrates a seven year olds point of view - they have something important to say o Alice walks out of the story at the end – wakes up and goes back to the real world (goes home). Same happens in Huckleberry Finn, Wizard of Oz Topics in Children’s Fiction - Setting - Home (and Away) - Fashion
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