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Lecture 21

HUMA 2680 Lecture Notes - Lecture 21: Peer Pressure

Course Code
HUMA 2680
April Sharkey

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Early Times: Children’s Literature
AP/HUMA 2680
March 20th 2014
oGraphic young adult novel written by Mariko Tamiki and illustrated by Jillian
oThere’s depression, breakdown of conventional family, sex, peer pressure, and
many other problems of the book.
oThere is a style known as the problem novel that is full of several problems that the
protagonist is caught between.
The story is often told in first person
The protagonist has a relationship with an adult outside the family
The settings are urban
Sexuality is openly and frequently discussed
Parents are absent, either physically or emotionally.
oThese points regarding problem novels can easily be related to Skim.
oTamaki plays with ideas that come out of the texts of children but is not trying to
communicate to children through her book.
oWhat are the parallels with children’s books?
Issues around family and relationship with adults (Harriet the Spy, Comet in
Moominland, Where the Wild Things Are, Alice)
The notion of home as a specific space (Where the Wild Things Are)
Friendships (Harriet the Spy, Comet in Moominland)
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Focus on school (Bridge to Terabithia, Harriet the Spy)
Identity (Alice in Wonderland, Harriet the Spy)
Journeys (Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, Comet in
Culture – pop culture (Harriet the Spy)
oIssues that are part of the sub-text:
Social variables – race, class, gender, age, ability, sexuality (Bridge to Terabithia,
Harriet the Spy, Where the Wild Things Are)
Power (Harriet the Spy, Alice in Wonderland, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe)
Insider/outsider status (Alice in Wonderland, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe)
Focus on teen angst/teen drama
Relationships – sexual
“Problems” – drugs/depression/sexual orientation/suicide/bullying/peer pressure
oThis book can be looked at in three ways i.e. a young adult novel, an illustrated
book, and a diary.
oFor Kim, being a witch is a game and so are tarot and all these other things. She is
not serious about any of them.
oThe relationship between Skim and Ms. Archer is taboo as Skim is sixteen years
old but Ms. Archer is an adult.
oThere are several clues in the story that show that just like Skim; Ms. Archer too is
somewhat an outsider (hippie).
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