Children’s Literature Essay



Write a thoughtful, well-organized essay of 2000 words on one of the following topics. Be sure to support your statements with specific references to the primary texts. We do not encourage you to go to secondary sources but if you do choose to use them to support your own conclusions, you must acknowledge your sources. Although you may use other works as appropriate, unless you choose topics one or possibly four, your main focus must be on one or more works covered in Lessons 7–14. Except for topics one and possibly four, you need not go beyond the primary works on the course. If, however, you choose to study a work that is not on the course, you must obtain the approval of your tutor first. Remember, failure to obtain this approval may result in the rejection of the essay. Before beginning your third essay, please re-read your tutor’s comments on your first and second essays. If necessary, review the section of the Course Information entitled “Tips on Writing Essays.” Remember to treat each topic in a single, unified, and coherent essay with one central focus. Your tutor may deduct marks or reject an essay if it does not meet all the requirements, including that of length. 1.Read two to four books by one of the following: Beatrix Potter, Robert Munsch, or Paulette Bourgeois. Do not choose texts that are required reading on the course. In a comparative essay, analyse the works you choose, discussing similarities and differences in such things as technique, style, use of motifs, and symbolism. Remember to consider both the illustrations and the text in your analysis. 2. In a comparative essay, discuss the nature and function of education in two or more works from the course. 3. Discuss the theme of survival in two works from the course. How does the main character from each text relate to the landscape in which he or she finds him or herself? 4. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone owes a debt to the work of earlier British fantasists such as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Write an essay in which you discuss these influences and their effect on Rowling’s book. 5. Choose one or two poems in Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie. Analyse these poems in terms of the characteristics of nonsense verse. Compare Lee’s poems with the nonsense verse found in Winnie-the-Pooh. 6. The myth of a paradise lost is a recurrent theme in children’s literature. Analyse the nature of such a lost paradise in at least two works from the course, and explain its impact on each of the main characters. 7. Compare and contrast one work of literary fantasy with one work of realistic fiction. Consider, among other things, how the characteristics of these two genres affect the development of the main character. 8. Compare and contrast the portrayal of children in nursery rhymes with those in realistic fiction. Pick five nursery rhymes in which children play a significant role, and discuss the characteristics of the children in the rhymes as compared to the children found in one children’s novel. 9. Domestic spaces are crucial in many works of children’s literature. Choose two such books from the course and compare how these spaces contribute to the development of the main characters. 10. Consider what qualities make boy’s books distinct from girl’s books. Choose one of each from the course and write an essay that compares the nature of each genre. 11. In the view of some critics of literature, the single most important technical choice a writer of fiction makes is that of narrative point of view. In a comparative essay, analyse the nature of the narrative focus of two novels on the course. You might consider the effects of this focus on such elements as structure, theme, plot, and characterization in the novels. 12. Choose three works from the course and discuss the significance of food in relation to the main character. Reading List: Textbooks Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting Bourgeois, Paulette. Franklin in the Dark David, Alfred, and Mary Elizabeth Meek, eds. The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves Hautzig, Esther. The Endless Steppe Jacobs, Joseph, ed. English Fairy Tales Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories Kogawa, Joy. Naomi’s Road Lee, Dennis. Alligator Pie Le Guin, Ursula. The Tombs of Atuan Lewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe MacDonald, George. The Princess and the Goblin Milne, A. A. Winnie-the-Pooh Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Green Gables Munsch, Robert N. The Paper Bag Princess Opie, Iona, and Peter Opie, eds. Puffin Book of Nursery Rhymes Paterson, Katherine. The Great Gilly Hopkins Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Russell, David L. Literature for Children Richler, Mordecai. Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are Sutcliff, Rosemary. The Eagle of the Ninth Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web

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