sábado, 27 de octubre de 2012

What is Literature for Children?

Literature for children is a modern term that relates literature to children. Literature consists of any written production from books, poems, plays to advisory leaflets and so on.  Within our framework, we also know that capitalism controls the world and with their well-known market devices and narrow-minded empiricism they force societies to create a new type of subject where citizens find themselves as consumers. In the past writers were taken as prophets as Dante Alighieri or Friedrich Nietzsche or Albert Camus or people that involved themselves in real political causes using literature as a tool to change their cultural reality as Jean Paul Sartre or Simone De Beauvoir or Rodolfo Walsh. Since last century several writers were demeaned themselves to become specialists and they only have written to attract a specific public. Thus, some writers become specialists and write not to defend ideals or existence but to defend their own pockets as social sluts as the Nobel prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa.  Children are as anything else a polymorph social construct created by different societies; however, in this particular case: Children are as literature, they are human production. The following text answers the question: What is literature for children? This question requires a search for the origins where three major exponents appear:  Charles Perrault, Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen.
Literature for Children has its foundations in oral tales, that later were collected and published by writers. Thus, it was possible for some of those tales to become a real success and eventually to outlast time and generations. Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a French writer who collected some of those stories in his book  called “Stories or Tales from Times Past; or, Tales of Mother Goose (1697)”, published under the name of his son, which included traditional tales such as: “The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, and “The Master Cat” among others.  In 1785, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was born and the following year his brother, Wilhelm Carl Grimm was born too, in Hesse Germany. They both studied law at Marburg University, nevertheless Jacob’s interest in philology made them collect tales from oral sources and to publish those tales in order to preserve them as literary history. Owing to their work, they have been recognized around the world as the brothers who contribute to preserve literature. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author of tales such as “Snow White”, “Ugly Duckling” and “Little Mermaid” among others.  Andersen was inspired from his travels around Europe which were his source to write his well-known stories.
These authors made possible to create a literature for children and contribute to safeguard oral tradition and immense imagination to remain in the world. Those stories are the origin of Literature for Children. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know how those stories were modified and introduced to societies in order to convey meanings. The next entry is going to deal with that subject. Having said that, It is important to know how the authors mentioned above contributed to create a legacy that seems to stay forever alongside mankind. Consequently, they have hidden messages which can be analyzed from different points of view.
The following authors have each a different conception about literature for children.  For a start, Vladimir Propp (1895-1970) was a Russian intellectual who analyzed fairy tales in order to find patterns that are shared by those tales. In his book, “Morfológiya skazki” (1928) denotes stages or functions in which events occurs in tales. As a result, Propp had a lineal conception, in which events happened as a continuum. Indeed, he had a diachronic view which was supported by his 31 functions. Broadly spoken, this is a list that support his theory.

Bruno Bettelheim (1903-1990) was an Austrian psychologist and writer. His book, “The use of Enchantment: The meaning and importance of fairy tales” was a Freudian analysis on traditional fairy tales. The Austrian psychologist expressed that children that reads fairy tales incorporated symbols and conceptions as: “life and death”, “sorrow” or “misery”. These experiences enable children in their path to adulthood because they had had contact wit hard situations in life through reading fairy tales.

Maria Tatar is an academic professor at Harvard University who published several book about fairy tales and the psychological devices it uses.  Tatar claims that we internalized those fairy tales and we recycled them. Fairy tales are shapeshifted into cultures denoting that those stories have a universal meaning and importance for mankind. Maria Tatar says that fairy tales helps us to express our cultural contradictions and anxieties.

Kieran Egan is an educationalist that has elaborated a new educational perspective in order to have a new Educational approach. Egan analyses Traditional tales as a tool that serves to help students to engage with new content. As a matter of fact, he refuses the idea that the child can not make abstractions of a situation, and he adds that a child can understand abstract elements of fairy tales such as: “a dragon spiting fire, chimeras, mermaids, or little red riding hood escaping of the belly of the wolf”.  Children understand easily fantasy and the author of “Teaching as Storytelling” says that any subject can be taught by means of a narrative model .
 Fairy tales give us elements to make life easier, so we can go through hard aspects of reality. This is literature for children: a device to  endure reality but what do we do with reality when we are adult? Fairy tales give us an escape, a happy ending that does not appear in our realities. The answer to this question is that we have to keep moving at a certain point of our life from our past. Woody Allen's "Crime and Misdemeanours" portrays this dichotomy between a fictional reality and the reality itself and how to find a new meaning. 

Web Souces:

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D.D. L. Ashliman (February 21, 2010.). Charles Perrault's Mother Goose Tales. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault.html. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

D. L. Ashliman (2010). Grimm Brothers' Home Page. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm.html. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].
Kieran E. (27th February 2012). Beyond these Times: Lessons from the future. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB5CSR7qp_I&feature=relmfu. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

DR. Ross J. (2011). The Imaginary Museum. [ONLINE] Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BjMJlmQ6UvM/TdHvGrg_wiI/AAAAAAAADRk/7f5Jxk52Bzs/s400/Professor%2BMaria%2BTatar.jpg. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

Flor Ld (2011). 
Bettelheim, bruno psiconalisis d elos cuentos de Hadas. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/FlorLd/bettelheim-bruno-psicoanlisis-de-los-cuentos-de-hadas-pdf. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

SFU (e.g. 2011). Faculty Profile: Dr. Kieran Egan, Education. [ONLINE] Available at: DR. Ross J. (2011). The Imaginary Museum. [ONLINE] Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BjMJlmQ6UvM/TdHvGrg_wiI/AAAAAAAADRk/7f5Jxk52Bzs/s400/Professor%2BMaria%2BTatar.jpg. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012]. Read more: http://www.americanessays.com/tool-box/apa-format-citation-generator/#ixzz2AXYOh3dC. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

Tatar, M. (2010). Harvard Thinks Big 2010 - Maria Tatar - 'Once Upon A Time'. [ONLINE] Available at: http://vimeo.com/couchmode/user3424342/videos/sort:date/10325274. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

University of Southern Denmark (June 26th, 2012). Hans Christian Andersen's life and works – research, texts and information.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/index_e.html. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

WTAA (2008). WAA. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/kris004gesc01_01/kris004gesc01ill13.gif. [Last Accessed 27th, October 2012].

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