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Lecture 2

ENGB35 Lecture 2: The Purple Jar Analysis

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Natalie Rose

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Lecture 2: The Purple Jar Anaylsis
Maria Edgeworth’s story “The Purple Jar” (1796), and consider moral of the story, the values it
presents, and its implied child reader:
Theme: the importance of prudency
Moral: one must think of the future carefully when making decisions
olong-term vs. short-term pleasures (understanding instant gratification and needs)
oRosamond impulsively wants pretty material possessions
oRosamond’s mother believes objects without uses are not valuable; Practicality >
oAutonomy; making one’s own informed decisions
Ignorance has consequences, prudence is rewarding
Rosamond must live with the choice of the miscoloured vase for the
month, rather than having new shoes which she needed more
oLate 18th century, women were stereotyped as superficial and irrational; this is
why they do not deserve equality
Mother: teaches Rosamond this lesson harshly
Father: quick to judge her and refuse her based on her appearance, not the
reason why she looked the way she did
ICR = empiricist, middle class consumer, rational
Romanticism Cont’d:
With the rise of romanticism, children appear to act like children. They are not just little adults,
or illustrations. Ex. ‘The Children of George Bond of Ditchleys’ (1768) boys and girls are not
clearly categorized the way they are stereotypically today. Key tropes from this era include:
Innate wisdom of innocent child (ex. Anne of Green Gables)
oRural privileged over urban
oImagination vs. rationality (ex. Alice in Wonderland)
oJourney innocence experience (Ex. The Golden Compass)
Rebellion-disobedience (immoral/innocent; to be managed or encouraged?)
20th Century
Victorian and Edawardian ‘Golden Age’ of kids lit
oRealism (school, home)
Social and Psychological ICRs
oChildren shaped by environments (ex. The Hunger Games)
oPsychoanalytics ICR needs to manage fundamental rives
and complexes (ex. The Cat in the Hat)
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