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To show how single events or experiences propel a child form innocence
into adulthood, I shall use the following texts, "Jane Eyre" a novel
by Charlotte Bront, "The Flowers" a short story by Alice Walker, "The
Stolen Party" a short story by Liliana Heker, "The Lesson" a poem by
Edward Lucie-Smith and finally "Diana, Her True Story-In Her own
words" an autobiography by Andrew Morton.
Childhood is a muddled time where children are oblivious to what goes
on in the surrounding environment, they think that everything is good
and safe and are just unaware of the reality. Children generally learn
the truth from their actions, parents, and sometimes it is a single
event, which will be remembered from that moment on, to open their
eyes to the real world. I am going to show how this change in a person
occurs in the texts above.
"Jane Eyre" a novel by Charlotte BrontÃ«, the novel is written in third
person narrative, given form Jane's point of view, giving the story a
very honest, personal view on her life. "Jane Eyre" is about a young
girl of 10 years old called Jane; she grows up as an orphan due to the
death of her parents when she was a year old. She was sent to live
with her aunt in Gateshead. She is not accepted into the aunts' family
and she is open to daily cruelty and neglect throughout her childhood.
Near the beginning of the book Jane is sent to the "Red Room" this is
to punish her bad behaviour. The experience of being unfairly treated,
is the first time she realises how unfair people and life can be
towards her, because she is being punished for something her cousin
started, by picking on her. Miss Abbot and Bessie already have a bad
opinion of Jane, and with this bad action she is open to the worst
punishment in her eyes possible, the Red room, and to make Jane more
afraid Miss Abbott says "say your prayers, Miss Eyre, where you are by
yourself, for if you don't repent something bad might be permitted to
come down the chimney and fetch you away", by saying this actually
being in the room has been made worse something more to be afraid of.
Charlotte BrontÃ«'s description of the red room is sombre, full of
darkness and mystery, but to Jane a frightening room, but this is most
due to the talk about it previous to being in it. The room is
described with "red" being the main surrounding feature of the room,
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"curtains of deep red damask", "the carpet was red", "the foot of the
bed was covered with a crimson cloth" everything was dark colours and
all furniture "darkly-polished old mahogany", the main colour red
signifies death as it is the room in which her uncle died, but also it
reflects her anger, the way Jane feels. After the colour of the room
is described then BrontÃ« goes on to the way it feels and sounds, "This
room was chill", "it was silent", "solemn", all words tell of the fear
and insecurity she feels and when she says "The housemaid alone came
here", alone being the main word revelling how it is not right to be
alone in this room, by the ways Jane describes the room obliviously
has a big effect on her.
Because of her uncles death in the red room Jane believes there to be
a curse on the room, and this is revealed when she says, "the spell
which kept it so lonely in spite of its grandeur". The atmosphere in
the room starts to play tricks on her mind, her imagination working
against her, making her feel uneasy. Left on her own she asks a lot of
rhetorical questions "Why could I never please? Why was it useless to
try to win anyone's favour?", "Why was I always suffering, always
browbeaten, always accused, forever condemned?" by asking these
questions answers her own questions of belonging and opens her eyes to
the wrong in the family and generally.
Charlotte BrontÃ« uses pathetic fallacy when describing the weather
"the wind was howling in the grove behind the hall", Jane thinks of
her uncle and what it could have been if he was here, but as he is not
she calls her self "uncongenial alien" to the family. At this part of
the book where she thinks of her uncle a lot she is split and she does
not know what she is seeing in the room and the room starts to mess
with her head and Jane looses control.
As shown now the experience of being in the red room has affected Jane
and this is an experience, which changes her, as there are references
later in the book. So this single experience she has found that she is
unfairly treated and does not belong where she is.
"The Flowers" the short story by Alice Walker, its name is significant
as flowers are a symbol of innocence because of its beauty and as it
is easily broken, delicate, but also it is a symbol of death. "The
Flowers" is about a young girl called Myop who is aged 10 years old,
Alice Walker uses flowers to show the loss of Myop's innocence, when
she sees something that will change the way she thinks about life.
Walker describes about Myop's daily life and home using sights,
smells, tastes, sounds and the general feelings of the atmosphere,
"The air held a keenness that made her nose twitch." and "a golden
surprise that caused excited tremors to run up her jaws". Everything
up till the fifth paragraph is innocent and these images are projected
in the goodness and upbeat sense of the story, "she felt light and
good in the warm sun", "and nothing excited for her but her song" this
sentence says it all nothing but her song matters and she is a child
with no responsibilities, "where the family got their drinking water,
silver ferns and wild flowers grew" and "along the shallow banks pigs
Flowers are mentioned throughout the poem "silver ferns", "pretty
ferns and leaves, an armful of strange blue flowers with velvety
ridges and a sweetsuds bush full of brown, fragrant buds" "roses root"
"wild pink rose", even in the second half of the story where the mood
changes and saddens the theme of flowers is carried on.
Then she comes across the remains of a body that had obliviously been
hung; the description of the body is given in great detailed.
The discovery of the body by Myop in a way distinguishes her flame of
her childhood, at the beginning of the story Myop is a happy child
shielded from the bad in the world, there are words like "skipped
lightly", "excited", "beat of a song" compared with the second half of
the story with words like "strangeness", "not as pleasant", "haunts",
"gloomy" the mood has changed Myop has burst out of her shielding
bubble and now sees the reality of life.
The language can be difficult if you read it once but you can get a
rough idea of what's going on. The story is split into short
paragraphs, four describing an innocent child's life and the last four
an adults life, the change is fairly obvious.
"The Stolen Party" the short story by Liliana Heker, it is about a
young girl called Rosaura who's mother is a servant, so when the
mistress Senora Ines invites the Rosaura to her daughters party her
mother is not best pleased as she knows how she will be treated like a
"servant's child" but as a young girl she was intrigued by the thought
of being invited to a party, something rare to her lifestyle and
although her mother knows and explains to her the difference between
the rich and poor, this seems not to sink in to Rosaura as she
believes that that has nothing to do with anything. She goes to the
party and helps Senora Ines a lot with the party, she felt proud of
herself by the end of the party, as she was very popular and was
complimented throughout the party. The part of the story I am going to
talk about is the end, where all the children were given a present a
yo-yo or bracelet and as she waits impatiently for a gift she talks of
what she may get, to her disappointment she is handed a money and she
is so upset by this discrimination just as she is the servants child.
This story shows how children think in a different manner to an adult,
the mother knew there was a firm line between the rich and themselves,
but Rosaura did not think like her thinking and believed that she
would not be treated like a servant just because her mother was one
and she naturally thought when she was helping that it did not mean
This single action of not receiving a gift, but money although a
trivial matter has opened her eyes to the adult life where things are
not as perfect as she would like to think.
The language of the story is fairly simple to understand written with
excitement like a child yet always her adult thoughts passing through.
There is a lot of speech in the story and detailed description of
actions and happenings during the party also the actions of her when
offered the money.
"The Lesson" a poem by Edward Lucie-Smith, is about a young boy being
told that his father has died by his headmaster and he explains as he
goes through different emotions.
This single event of his father's death has a great effect on the life
of a child, this boy does not know how he should feel, he tells of his
emotions in a mixed up order, he first cries for knowledge of his
father's death then for shame and then relief. Shame because he
thought of using this newly found grief to get attention and to "bind
the bully's fist for a week or two". The boy describes in the second
verse "the noise was stilled in the school assembly when my grief came
in", people noticed his grief for the first time not him but the
tragedy that happened to him. Through these new feeling of pride and
attention through a hard time can change the behaviour of a child
The language is simple, the boy expresses the changes of his feelings
openly and there are two verse, the first the chain of emotions and
the second the experience of walking into the hall, like the up side
of his fathers death.
"Diana, Her True Story-In Her own words" an autobiography by Andrew
Morton, is a book about her life from start to end, I am going to
concentrate on the part of the book when her mother left and she grew
up with her father although her mother was around to see her
occasionally, but she was always stuck in situations where she had to
choose between mother and father, one of these situations is when she
was given two dresses one from her father and one from her mother to
wear for her holy communion and had to decide which one to wear.
When a child is put through such pressure by parents which she equally
wanted to please then it makes you either fall apart or become
stronger, as I have seen she ahs grown to learn from the mistakes made
by her parents and learnt not to make her children suffer when it came
to divorcing herself, she knew what was best.
The language is intense feelings being strung into the words and you
can feel what she did, her stability. The book is full of small
happenings during her childhood that changed her perception on her own
life as she grew up.