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Voices In The Park by Browne, Mortal Engines by Reeve and Little Women by Alcott

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‘Some idea of a child or childhood motivates writers and determines both the form and content of what they write.’ -- Hunt The above statement is incomplete, as Hunt not only states that the writer has an idea of a child but in the concluding part, he states that the reader also has their own assumptions and perceptions of a child and childhood. Therefore, in order to consider Hunt’s statement, this essay will look at the different ideologies surrounding the concept of a child and childhood, the form and content in which writers inform the reader about their ideas of childhood concluding with what the selected set books state about childhood in particular gender. The set books used are Voices In The Park by Browne, Mortal Engines by Reeve and Little Women by Alcott to illustrate different formats, authorial craft and concepts about childhood. For clarity, the page numbers used in Voices In The Park are ordinal (1-30) starting at Voice 1.
The dictionary definition of a child is a young human being, an immature person and offspring (Oxford, 1976). This idea is reflected in Mead’s statement ‘that children to adults are representative of something weak and helpless in need of protection, supervision, training, models, skills, beliefs and ‘character’’ (Montgomery et al, 2003, p vii). The emphasis is on the concept of the child by adults rather than the size or mentality raising the notion that a child, and therefore childhood, is not just a biological concept but also an ideological one (Falconer, 2009). This ideology makes an oxymoron of Children’s Literature according to Rose (Hunt, 2009a) as adults write, publish and purchase books with each set of adults having their own ideas about childh...


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..., Milton Keynes, The Open University
Unicef (2006) [online] www.unicef.org/protection/files/Trafficking.pdf (accessed 21/5/2011)
Wadsworth, S. (2009) ‘Louisa May Alcott and the Rise of the Gender-Specific Series Books’ in Montgomery H and Watson N (eds), Children’s Literature Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan in association with Open University, pp.39-48
Watson, N. (2009) ‘Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868-9) Introduction’, in Montgomery H and Watson N (eds), Children’s Literature Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan in association with Open University, pp.13-17
Whalley, J. (2009) ‘Texts and Pictures: A History’ in Montgomery H and Watson N (eds), Children’s Literature Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan in association with Open University, pp.299-310



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