How does the absence of parents function to provide order (or disorder) in literature written for children?
Children's literature is an essential part of their linguistic, social, and cultural development, providing more than just entertainment, as West stated: “when I am writing for adults, I'm just trying to entertain them. But a good children's book does more than entertain. It teaches children the use of words, the joy of playing with language...” (West 1990). The language in children's literature enables them to compare their experiences with others, notably experiences of falling in love, conflict, or growing up, an aspect which has always been an essential purpose of children's literature. Children's literature can be dated as far back as the middle ages, despite considerable debated assertions that there was none prior to the 17th century. They included fables, biblical stories and narratives of local legends. However during the 17th century, the religious rise of Puritanism witnessed the recognition of the importance of childhood reading. The necessity of biblical knowledge was stressed, along with the notion that children's minds were similar to 'blank slates'. (John Locke 1693). Following this, children's literature continued to expand, hitting a cultural peak during the Victorian era. The romantic movement lead to an abundance of interest in childhood prompting children's literature to blossom, thus there was an explosion of different genres, including school stories, adventure and fantasy.
Imaginative and fantastical children's texts were popularised during the Victorian period, as mentioned before, the most influential text being Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Now if we focus on fantasy adventures in children's books, it is noticeable that in most occasions parents appear to be dead or missing, a classic, beneficial literary devise used by several writers. In some... [continues]
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