Examining Siobhan Dowds Book Bog Child English Literature Essay Free Essay

This essay examines Siobhan Dowds book Bog Child ( 2008 ) which was the Carnegie Prize victor in 2009. We will besides analyze another Carnegie Prize victor Philip Pullmans Northern Lights ( 1995 ) . The essay will analyze how these books fit into the history and tradition of childrens literature. First, we will turn to the history of childrens literature, so that we can find how it has changed since its beginnings.

The importance of childrens literature can non be denied. It is portion of our history turn toing educational, cultural, and societal facets of society, alongside personal development. In the mid fifteenth century, all kids were referred to as misss, ( Romaine, 1999 ) and kids ‘s literature was none existent. The earliest known histories of childrens books were the pocketbooks, of the seventeenth-century known as chapbooks. The pocket books slogan was Instruction with Delight ‘ .

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These books were aimed specifically at the multitudes, and pedlars in England would go the countryside selling them. The in-between categories began to purchase the pocket books, and between 1500 and 1700, book audiences had significantly increased. The start of recognized kids ‘s literature is considered London in the early 1740s.

The first popular book was published was by John Newbery and called A Small Pretty Pocket-Book ( 1744 ) . Newbery continued to print the pocket books throughout the 18th century. Harmonizing to Matthew Grenby by nature, the books were… ‘didactic, learning the alphabet, civic history, and good behavior, ‘ ( Grenby, 2009, p.40 ) .

Ideas about childhood began to alter in the 17th century. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( 1712-78 ) in his book Emile: or – on Education ( 1762 ) , espoused kids would turn up decently if it were non for big influence. By the 1880s, the birth rate in Britain had fallen, and smaller households became the norm.

This brought about a society holding clip to pass with their kids. However, Humphrey Carpenter posits there were added factors at work at this clip… ‘one suspects excessively that the late Victorians tended to shower more attending on their kids because of the uncertainness of the grownup, public universe, ‘ ( Carpenter, 2009, p.69 ) .

For realistic fiction, and Empire edifice books, parents of the twenty-four hours turned to the books of Robert Louis Stevenson ‘s Treasure Island ( 1883 ) , and Kidnapped ( 1886 ) . Kim Reynolds claims that at this clip kids ‘s fiction… ‘was used rather consciously as a signifier of societal control, ‘ ( EA300, DVD1 ) . For the first clip, books began to be published that were directed specifically at gender. The ‘golden age ‘ of kids ‘s literature, which was from the 1860s to the 1920s, witnessed yet more alteration.

A distancing of didacticism and a concentration of pleasing kids through literature had begun. Fantasy in narratives arrived to the Victorians through the writers: Reverend Charles Kingsley, Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, Kenneth Grahame, Beatrix Potter, and J. M. Barrie, they were followed subsequently by A. A. Milne. By the sixtiess, new books were on the skyline. Nicholas Tucker claims these were… ‘in melody with cultural alterations [ … ] more concerned with the subjects of single fulfillment, ‘ ( Tucker, 2009, p.154 ) .

Adults are responsible for regulation, protecting, and the defining of kids ‘s literature. Representation of childhood worldwide varies and are characterised by their complexnesss and diversenesss. There is a premiss that childhood is different from maturity, in that kids have different capacities and demands, and that to this terminal, grownups have conceptualised kids.

Children ‘s literature focuses on political orientation and power dealingss. Peter Hunt believes all kids ‘s literature should be investigated for its suitableness to teach and please. He espouses that… ‘ideology, all the attitudes that constitute a civilization should be examined in footings of motive, ‘ ( Hunt, 2009, p.12a ) .

In this the twenty-first century, literary critics of course champion differing positions. Jacqueline Rose postulates that kids ‘s literature is a cultural safe house when composing for kids. She asserts that it is… ‘committed to taking its readers back to a fabulous clip when the universe was cognizable, ‘ ( Rose, 1984, p.9 ) . Kim Reynolds is critical of Rose ‘s theory. She maintains her ain attack to kids ‘s literature, which comes under the categorization of transformative energies, is the right theory… ‘It efforts to map the manner [ … ] and contributes to the societal and aesthetic transmutation of civilization, ‘ ( Reynolds, 2009, p.99 ) .

Children ‘s literature is capable of linking to romantic perceptual experiences of our childhood. As grownups, we become pensive of our yesteryear and usage books as a agency of escape, returning to a romantic clip of freedom and felicity. Judy Blume hypothesises… ‘it is merely grownups who have forgotten who say [ … ] if merely I could be a child once more, ‘ ( West, 1988, pp.11-12 ) .

Both Rose ‘s and Reynolds theories have viability. Furthermore, Reynolds is non wholly at odds with Rose ‘s theory. Indeed, she agrees with several cardinal points of it. Reynolds besides acknowledges the fact that Rose ‘s article was written a one-fourth of a century ago. However, what she does neglect to make is to recognize that arguments have progressed, as have critic ‘s sentiments. Ergo, what was feasible in 1984 – is non needfully feasible presents.

Comparing the two books Northern Lights and Bog Child, we can witness similarities. Both books can be considered fantasy, with Bog Child considered a time-slip phantasy. At this point, it is deserving adverting what is meant by a bog kid. The peat bogs of Ireland aid to continue the skeletal remains of these organic structures harmonizing to Van Der Sanden… ‘Fen peat, which has a high chalky content, will continue skeletons, but bog peat conserves soft tissues much better, ‘ ( Van Der Sanden, 1996, p18 ) .

The grave of Mel the Iron Age bog kid who dates from AD 80, is uncovered by Fergus and his uncle while illegitimately delving for peat. Her narrative bit by bit unravels as she haunts Fergus ‘s dreams, in this case, the peat bogs of Northern Ireland metaphorically symbolises Fergus ‘s clip of childhood. The chronotope is linked to the Christian political orientation of Paradise. When Fergus hears Mel in his dreams he enters the fabulous clip of kairos, which does non stay by the ordinary additive clip of chronos, ( Nikolajeva, 2009 ) .

Both books come under the class of bildungsroman, intending they show throughout their narrative the growing of the supporters from pre-adolescence to adulthood. Furthermore, both books take a strong ideological stance, and present kids with a mental image of the supporter ‘s universe. Indeed, the writer John Stephens postulates kids need… ‘a system of beliefs by which we make sense of the universe, ‘ ( Stephens, 1992, p. 8 ) .

In a bildungsroman novel, we witness a moral instruction as in Northern Lights. Here, we are shown a advancement from childhood artlessness to emotional and rational adulthood. When this happens, we are taken from the universe of phantasy, to fall in the universe of pragmatism.

Adults albeit inadvertently frequently enforce their ain political orientations onto kids. Peter Hunt asserts when speaking about kids ‘s literature… ‘the function of grownups in reading, and interceding [ … ] has to be examined in footings of motive [ … ] do these texts truly belong to kids, or are they merely aimed at them, ‘ ( Hunt, 2009, pp.12-13b ) . We need to oppugn here what motivates authors of kids ‘s books.

Do writers accidentally write for themselves utilizing childhood memories or, are they chiefly composing for kids and for the love of the narrative text, or a combination of both? Hunt asks us to retrieve that… ‘texts for kids do non portray childhood [ … ] but portray childhood as the authors wished it to be seen for political, sociological or dramatic grounds, ‘ ( Hunt, 2009, p.14c ) .

We can see grounds of this with the fictional ‘Jordan College ‘ in Philip Pullman ‘s Northern Lights. Jordan College is portion of an fanciful Oxford College set in an alternate existence, and an embroidery of the existent Oxford College. In some respects, it is similar to Exeter College, which is the writers ‘alma mater ‘ .

This is a premier illustration of an writer utilizing his ain history and accommodating it ( albeit as fantasy fiction ) to narrative text. Furthermore, we have here an educational nexus between both of the books. Lyra ‘s narrative starts in the college and Fergus is taking his test with an purpose to come ining university.

Another illustration of an writer speech production from experience is Siobhan Dowd whose parents are Irish. In her young person, she on a regular basis visited a household bungalow in County Waterford, and subsequently a household place in Wicklow Town. Once once more, we see portion of an writers ‘ history being used.

Dowd ‘s book Bog Child is set in Northern Ireland in 1981 when IRA activity was at its extremum. This period known as the ‘Troubles ‘ began in the sixtiess. History shows us that at the clip of the Troubles kids grew up in a universe of mottos, laies, poesy, discourses, and spiritual announcements.

In Bog Child, we are witness to imperialism. The Catholics and Protestants are warring as the British Army tries act as conciliators. An alternate position of the period is that the British can be viewed as Empire edifice one time once more.

We can besides detect imperium in the text of Northern Lights. An illustration of this is Lyra Belacqua ‘s behavior towards the ‘gyptian ‘s. ‘ She shows both, derision and a longing for their lifestyle bordering on colonialism.

The book Northern Lights is set in a historical background. The start of the narrative rapidly alterations from our existence into an alternate 1. In the surrogate existence, Lyra the eleven-year-old female supporter of Northern Lights grows up rapidly as she is surrounded by academe. She tries to happen her uncle who in truth is her male parent.

On her travels, she befriends a speaking bear, a male child named Will, and a kin of enchantresss. In Northern Lights, the Magisterium represents the Catholic Church, which has strayed from its roots. The administration has become dark and malevolent perpetrating maltreatment, anguish, even fall backing to slaying, which in the name of faith can be equated to Bog Child and to the start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The books could be accused of endangering kids ‘s artlessness as they are both set in a war environment. In Pullman ‘s instance, he challenges spiritual political orientations. His Dark Materials are viewed by some as being against Christianity. Indeed, Pullman ‘s himself admits to non being spiritual, he claims he is now an atheist… ‘I see no grounds of God anyplace, ‘ ( Wagner, 2010, online ) .

Furthermore, Dowd ‘s book indirectly inquiries the political orientation of political relations and faith: The Catholic Church versus the Christian religion being behind the start on the Troubles. Dowd besides shows sensitiveness by protecting artlessness. Speaking of Fergus ‘s immature siblings his female parent provinces… ‘they ‘re excessively immature to see Joe in the province he ‘s in. ( Dowd, 2009, p.164a ) .

Fairy narratives have been around since the birth of kids ‘s literature, the first being published in Italy in 1550. Indeed, fairy narratives or narratives were frequently found in chapbooks. The narratives were frequently off-color and were merely suited for sharing amongst grownups. It was non until the 1820s that the narratives began to be adapted for kids. ‘Once upon a clip, ‘ has to be the most recognized phrase in kids ‘s books – even in grownups ‘ books as lampoon.

Dowd ‘s Bog Child uses fairytale. Mel speaks to Fergus the boy supporter in his dreams. We observe in her narrative: ‘One winter twenty-four hours ‘ , which can be likened to the fairytale unwritten tradition. Even the Northern Lights writer Philip Pullman salutes fairytale stating he prefers the all-knowing storyteller as it is… ‘part of the old fairytale tradition [ … ] the 19th-century fresh tradition, ‘ ( Lane, 2004, online ) .

Since the construct of kids ‘s literature, it has been graded into two classs. There is the ‘prestigious ‘ book as in Philip Pullmans Northern Lights. In apposition to this, there is the fiction that through the entreaty of its narrative becomes ‘popular ‘ with kids. Popular literature is viewed by the literary elite as being inferior. Pullman describes crossover fiction as … ‘the tricksiness and games-playing of modern and post-modern literary fiction, ‘ ( Pullman, 2002, online ) .

An illustration of the popular is J. K Rowling ‘s Harry Potter series of books, crosses boundaries. These sorts of books have become known as crossing over books intending they appeal to both kids and grownup likewise. With the assistance of crossing over fiction, kids ‘s literature has come to the bow. This is in portion due to the quality of the text, and the reader ‘s quality in reading them. Crossover fiction provides a sharpening of the senses in the manner we read. As we read, we form a dichotomy reading both as an grownup and as a kid.

That being said some books have jobs traversing the gender divide. Alice provinces… ‘I like some male child ‘s books, but some miss ‘s books are a spot girly, ‘ ( EA300, DVD1 ) . We have to theorize here that Alice has read books refering to both genders. This is in contrast to the gender books of the yesteryear where books where dedicated to a peculiar gender and kids were non encouraged to step out of their reading gender.

Rachel Falconer poses the inquiry… ‘do grownups seek comfort and security by cross-reading kids ‘s literature, ‘ ( Falconer, 2009, p.368a ) . Additionally, Falconer believes that by… ‘engaging with kids ‘s fiction, it presents challenges to an grownup ‘s nucleus sense of individuality, ‘ ( Falconer, 2009, p.268b ) . In bend, this increases their self-awareness, and inquiries the many established standards of kids ‘s literature.

Pullman uses intertextuality as a method of battle to show his prowess. Indeed, through his usage of intertextuality His Dark Materials can be seen to hold specious links to Ursula Le Guin ‘s ‘Earthsea ‘ books among many others, and is why Pullman ‘s books are heralded for his usage of intertextuality.

Another illustration of this is in Northern Lights were a member of the Jordan College module asks Lord Asriel… ‘is this, the Barnard-Stokes concern ‘ ( Pullman, 2005, p.24 ) . Here, we have a nexus to our universe from Lyra ‘s universe. This is a mention to the ‘Many-Worlds Interpretation ( MWI ) ‘ and is an attack to quantum mechanics… ‘other similar universes, which exist in analogue at the same, infinite, and clip, ‘ ( Vaidman, 2002, online ) .

Fergus the eighteen-year-old male supporter of Bog Child has as his wise man his Uncle Tally. Fergus falls in love with Cora the archeologists ‘ girl. In Bog Child, we witness a immature adult male of 18 – a true kid of the twenty-first Century, who is non afraid to be seen out and about, looking after his younger siblings. Furthermore, as a modern-day kid he is still populating at place with his parents.

There is a strong sense of household throughout the book. Fergus and his parents try to screen the younger kids from Joe ‘s imprisonment in Long Kesh. His brother is a member of the Provisional IRA and is on hungriness work stoppage in the narrative. In world, Bobby Sands led the hungriness work stoppage of 1981 and died on the 5th of May that same twelvemonth.

The hungriness strikers were on work stoppage because they have been classified as common felons instead than political 1s. The strikers considered themselves freedom combatants ( BBC, 2007 ) . However, there was ever a spiritual undertone to their work stoppage. In Bog Child, there is a strong sense of mutuality between Fergus and his female parent particularly when discoursing Joe ‘s hungriness work stoppage.

Indeed, his female parent is determined to acquire Fergus off excessively university and off from the Troubles every bit shortly as possible. Both parents rely to a great extent on Fergus ‘s degree headiness, particularly when it came to doing a determination about get downing to drip-feed Joe against his wants.

In Bog Child, there is a deficiency of place security for Fergus and his siblings, which can be equated to Lyra ‘s life style in Northern Lights. Here, there is the menace of the remotion of the devils belonging to kids. Lyra ‘s devil Pantalaimon has the moniker of Pan and is a personification of her psyche, which takes on many carnal signifiers.

Pullman ‘s trilogy of books is called His Dark Materials, the book Northern Lights being the first of them. There is really small temper in the trilogy, which is unusual in that human existences find humour aid in times of hardship.

In contrast, Dowd ‘s book uses rather a spot of temper that is directed at household and friends. When Fergus is asked to set L home bases on the auto by his female parent, he complains… ‘But it ‘s like stating the whole universe in large letters, I ‘M A PROVO, a holder of a probationary license, ‘ ( Dowd, 2009, p.27 ) . Then, of class, there is temper in the bundles that Fergus has been unwillingly smuggling over the boundary line. He suspects they contain Semtex.

When Owain pulls the contents out of the Jiffy bag, they declare… ‘Condoms, [ … ] and the hemorrhage Pill, ‘ ( Dowd, 2009, p.250 ) . In this episode, Dowd has used the metaphors of Jiffy bag, Condoms, and the Pill. Dowd besides uses unfamiliar Irish slang and duologue to great consequence through the parlances of the native linguistic communication as in ‘PROVO, ‘ ( EA300, DVD-ROM ) .

Imagery plays a big portion in both kids ‘s and big literature. However, we are non speaking about the still images that an creative person or a lensman produces, with the battalion of significances that an image can convey. We are speaking about narrative imagination, portrayed via text and intertextually.

For illustration, in Bog Child, there is the imagination of Fergus taking his forenoon tally. He is stopped in his paths by a noise that at foremost he does non recognize. It is Owain playing his trombone, and intertextually it brings to mind an image of telecasting footage he had seen of President Kennedy ‘s funeral, ( Dowd, 2009, pp.210-211 ) .

Additionally there is the image of the balaclava have oning IRA Provisional soldiers firing guns into the air over a grave, ( Dowd, 2009, p.206 ) . As grownups, we can associate to this intertextuality as we have seen the same thing on the telecasting intelligence. Yet, another instance of imagination is in Bog Child. Joe ‘s ticker symbolises metaphorically the numeration of yearss sing his hungriness work stoppage.

That in bend, could be linked to intertextuality. Alternatively, the ticker could be a metaphor for a life standing still, and Fergus ‘s life traveling frontward. The image on the front screen of Bog Child ‘s book is a male child with hid weaponries outstretched and symbolises freedom.

The book Northern Lights is full of symbology the most outstanding being Lyra ‘s Alethiometer were pictural symbols are used to stand for words. Then, there is the armoured bear, besides known as, ‘ice bears. ‘ Here the bear wears ‘sky-iron, ‘ which is considered the equivalent of Lyra ‘s daemon/soul.

Another symbol, for privation of a better word, is Pullman ‘s usage of Dust. He uses this scientifically to stand for atoms that form and explicate the universe. Dust has many niceties, for illustration, in the first book of the Bible… ‘for dust thou art, and unto dust, shalt thou return, ‘ ( Genesis 3:19 ) . However, Pullman uses the metaphor to overthrow both the beginning and the terminal.

For a book to win the honored Carnegie Medal, it has to be of outstanding quality. There are many standards to be met and non all will be applicable to the nominative rubric. The headers for these standards are the secret plan, word picture, and manner. The book Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal in 1995.

In 2002, the 3rd volume of the trilogy The Amber Spyglass ( 2000 ) became the lone kids ‘s novel to win the desired Whitbread Prize. The book Northern Lights has been adapted into movie, a picture game, audio books, and a phase production of His Dark Materials in 2003.

Bog Child has been published in the undermentioned states, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, and Japan. It was the victor of the undermentioned awards in 2009: Carnegie, The Edgar Allen Poe, Sheffield Children ‘s Book, and the CBI Bisto Book of the twelvemonth, UKLA Children ‘s Book, and the US Cooperative Children ‘s Book Centre.

In add-on, the book has been nominated and shortlisted for many other literary awards. Adrian Flynn has adapted the book into a drama book, ( Flynn, 2009, online ) . The book Bog Child is really much in its babyhood, giving it small opportunity for as many versions as Pullman ‘s plants.

Both books trade with the existent universe and an fanciful 1. They both have immature supporters, with the books being hailed as portion of the new aureate age of literature. Pullman ‘s work is viewed as literary and complex. Dowd ‘s book is hailed as a political, emotional, historical narrative, with a secret plan is full of surprises. It has a strong moral tone, which highlights the impact of political struggle.

In decision, Bog Child can be seen to educate readers by its considerate handling of the political state of affairs in Northern Ireland during the clip of the Troubles. Dowd handles the portraiture of how the Troubles impeded on the lives of its public, and how they coped with it by agencies of fortitude and temper. The subjects of the books are genuinely thought arousing. We witness personal duty, household relationships, civilization issues and beliefs, and the coming of age.

Dowd ‘s lucid, intense prose portrays an accurate history of people and civilization. She handles with huge sensitiveness the history of Fergus ‘s moral quandary refering his brother ‘s hungriness work stoppage. A surprising and heart-warming turn is that of Fergus ‘s relationship with Owain, in malice of the danger to himself for cohorting with a British soldier. The humourous event of happening out what the Jiffy bag contained brought a welcome alleviation to a violent grownup universe in which kids become guiltless victims.

Pullman sees himself as a title-holder of his beliefs and challenges authorization and orthodoxy. This is seen by some as a backward measure, in that Pullman enforces a moralising conformance in his work. However, there is no challenging the glare of Pullman ‘s work. His book Northern Lights transports us with great assuredness to another dimension in clip.

His characters are complex yet credible. His sophisticated faultless prose is inventive and scarily realistic. The deficiency of a household is influential in making independency in the kids. Pullman strengthens traditional gender functions by demoing Lyra as smart and independent.

Understanding the history of kids ‘s literature helps us understand the betterments made and the way in which it is going. We have observed how the foundational elements of kids literature have barely changed. We still need a secret plan, a scene, subject, character, and a point of position.

These elements can loosely be attributed to our manner of life. Therefore, if we have a cardinal apprehension of life, we can understand all signifiers of literature. Indeed, it is going progressively difficult to separate the difference between maturity and the childhood boundaries of literature.

Be we immature or old we use linguistic communication, have attitudes, desires, even our physical visual aspect can be the same. Of class, grownups have the advantage of life ‘s experiences to steer them. However, in our engineering driven twenty-first Century kids are turning up faster. They understand more and at an earlier age than we did.

The entreaty of crossing over books is subjective, and an single determination for grownups, as is the current tendency of fantasy literature. However, one thing Children ‘s literature has taught us is things do non stagnate ; there will ever be something new and more appealing on the skyline.

We can non discourse kids ‘s literature without mentioning to critics. Critic ‘s theories and sentiments are indispensable to demo us what could be and how things have changed. In life, we are our ain critics, but literature needs changing sentiments for us to do judgements. You can take to hold or differ with critics, but what we must non lose sight of is the more critics differ in their sentiments, the greater attention they will take of their ain work, go forthing readers to harvest the benefits of their priceless attempts.

We were shown at the beginning of this essay how kids ‘s literature chose to teach and please. Mercifully, we have discovered that kids ‘s modern-day literature still does instruct and delectation. The books we have examined have instructed us in many ways. They have shown us moral fortitude, consideration of others, courage, company, love, trueness to friends and household, how tradition and history has an impact on us, and the many other things that kids ‘s literature encompasses.

Then there is the delectation we encounter at the prowess of an writer. They transport us into universes we ne’er imagined could be possible. They remind us of the romanticism of our young person and delight us with a narrative good told. These properties make us covetous of their trade. We have seen that kids ‘s literature is booming, and long may the tendency continue. By maturity, we have learned the true pleasances of reading books. As agents, to our kids it becomes incumbent on all of us to guarantee we pass on the pleasances of reading a good book.

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