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Study progress - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Study progress
As I'm studying children's literature this year, I think I'll add occasional updates because it will help keep me motivated and might be of interest to some of you...

I was very happy with my mark for the first essay. Not a distinction, but not all that far below, so I'm operating comfortably at the 2.1 level, which is absolutely fine. For the first essay, I chose the option on the history of fairy stories and how it relates to the history of childhood. For the second essay (due beginning of December), I am going to do the one about discussing the competing models of boyhood depicted in Little Women and Treasure Island.

I still haven't finished Little Women. I read the book in the summer and thought that was it. What I didn't realise is that though Good Wives was published as a separate book in the UK, and that's how I read them as a child, the OU are counting LW and GW together as one book. I therefore had to catch up with Part 2. I didn't like it much when I was young and I like it even less now. Good Wives just seems to go on and on and on. This is one disadvantage of reading an ebook, you don't get any sense of how much book is left. When I look at the percentage bar, it seems to have been stuck on 75% for days. That can't be right, can it?!! Is the ghost of Louisa May Alcott adding more and more Marrying Everyone Off scenes onto the end??

Anyway, I have a long train journey tomorrow, so surely I can get it finished then? So that's my current goal, finish GW by Saturday and start reading the essays about the books and 19th century ideas of gender on Sunday.

[Cross-posted from Dreamwidth by way of a backup http://heleninwales.dreamwidth.org/18539.html. If you want to leave a comment, please use whichever site you find most convenient. Comments so far: comment count unavailable.]

Current Mood: busy busy

5 comments or Leave a comment
birdsedge From: birdsedge Date: November 17th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I realise their is some historial value in your set books I would argue that neither Treasure Island nor Little Women qualifies as a book for twenty-first century children. I would hate to have to slog my way through them now as an adult and as a child I just wasn't interested.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: November 17th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I possibly gave the wrong impression, but Treasure Island and Little Women are being read solely for the light they shed on what, historically, was regarded as suitable reading for children. Though having said that, there have been some fairly recent movie versions. Interstingly, Christian Bale played both Jim in Treasure Island and Laurie in Little Women, two very contrasting roles!

But there's masses of other stuff we have read about, like 'A pretty little pocket book' and fairy stories and if you do the other essay option, you need to cover the whole history of 19th century children's literature, but I'm not good at writing essays with wide, shallow topics and prefer narrow and deep.

Generally the course starts with the first children's books and works forwards in time through things like Tom's Midnight Garden and then things like Coram Boy and Junk to end up with one option for the final assessment being this year's Carnegie medal winner, which in this case is the third part of the Chaos Walking Trilogy, Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness.

The over-arching theme is 'instruction or delight' and we're looking at how much of each occurs in each story.
birdsedge From: birdsedge Date: November 17th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, that's OK, I realised they were part of the historical aspect of your study, but I'm just saying that they are so not my cup of tea now or ever. I guess if they were all you had to read, you probably enjoyed them. But I'm not even sure Stevenson wrote Treasure Island for kids. Just as fairy tales were appropriated for children, so were some adventure tales. It would be interesting to know what age group of children found these titles accessible and acceptable reading.

But Treasure Island is relatively late (1880s). Little Women is about 20 years earlier, I think. It arrived in my stocking one Christmas when I was about eight or ten (an abridged version I suspect) but never got on with it. Too didactic. POsitively preachy, in fact.

Thanks for posting your children's lit notes. They are bringing back a lot of the stuff that's been lurking quietly in the back of my mind for the best part of forty years. It's good to be able to trake it out, give it a shake and repack it neatly.
dendrophilous From: dendrophilous Date: November 18th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
In the version of Little Women I read as a kid (which I loved), they left off Good Wives and apparently moved Beth's death up by several years--she died, but I don't think any of the girls left home or got married. When a movie version came out when I was in high school or college, I was very confused about where they got the rest of the story from!
craftyailz From: craftyailz Date: November 18th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm torn between which of the essays to do. In the advice on the other option they ask a series of questions and I wonder about writing an essay around answering them, but I think I prefer option 1.

I'm not very good at essay writing, but intend to give it a go - seeing as we've no substitution this year - after the tutorial tomorrow.

Good Luck
5 comments or Leave a comment