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Lecture 10

English 2033E Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Moral Authority, Oswald Bastable, The Story Of The Treasure Seekers

Course Code
English 2033E
Clarissa Suranyi

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Unit 10 E. Nesbit The Story of the Treasure Seekers
Nesbit attempts to confine herself to plausible events that may happen within an
ordinary London environment. There are both male + female characters, indoor and
outdoor environments, and the entire family is a group hero. The adventures in this
novel take place at the level of pretend. The author contrasts the exotic plots of the
adetue sto ith the oe udae eet of the Bastale hilde’s lies. The
realism lies in the techniques Nesbit uses to make the novel seem real.
This story is full of references to adventure tales: the children are voracious readers and
act out adventures from books and cheap pulp literature. They are not only enthusiastic
readers, but they are also discriminating readers, with clear ideas about their own
The narrator of the story is Oswald Bastable, the tells the story according to his own
ideas of hat ooks should e like: he does’t like stoies that egi in medias res he
likes to have all the information upfront, and he likes action. At various points in the
novel he continues to address his readers directly with a combination of friendliness,
aggressiveness, and competitiveness:
1. Fiedliess: Osald alludes to a shaed ultue of hilde’s gaes askig his
readers if they have ever played the game. This sets up a relationship of equality
between narrator and reader.
2. Aggessieess: he he alludes to his othe’s death he is alost ude, fedig
off the eade’s spath.
3. Competitiveness: Occasionally he adopts a defiant, boastful tone.
By address reader directly Oswald creates an atmosphere of child-to-child
ouiatio. But it as itte  a adult ho is etilouizig a hild’s oie.
Nesit sutl deelops he o theo of hilde’s liteatue. The adults the hilde
like best are often writers: Albert-next-doo’s ule, ad Ms. Leslie. These go-ups
are different because they remember what it is like to be a child. Nesbit implies that
these are essential qualities for any writer.
Albert-next-doo’s ule ad Ms. Leslie hae a aility to speak to children in their own
laguage. Nesit iplies that a good hilde’s ite takes the side of the hilde
against the grown-ups (which she does when she points out that grown-ups rarely
apologize to hilde. A good hilde’s ite is also a ventriloquist: someone who can
authetiall aptue a hild’s oie.
It is clearly important to Nesbit to establish trust with her audience of children but there
are several things that remind us that behind Osward is an adult: Oswald is a naïve
narrator, readers are expected to see situations more clearly than he does. His game of
guess the aato lasts fo less tha a page. At the ed of the oel, Osald eliees
that he has tiked us all. At this poit Nesit is ikig at us oe Osald’s shoulder
making a joke from adult to adult. It undercuts the chummy, equal relationship Oswald
tries to set up with his readers.
On various other occasions we laugh at Oswald and the others because of their naïve
interpretation of events:
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