ELE 616 Readings and Research in Children’s Literature Spring 2011 A PRISM for viewing literary bears
Why analyze literature? To discover the full spectrum of the content 2
A little Newtonian physics Isaac Newton first used the word spectrum (Latin for “appearance” or “apparition”) in print in 1671 in describing his experiments in optics. Newton observed that, when a narrow beam of white sunlight strikes the face of a glassprism at an angle, some is reflected and some of the beam passes into and through the glass, emerging as different colored bands. NationMasterEncyclopedia> Visible light 3
Spectrum requires a prism Estonian composer ArvoPärt: I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener. about his music: Alina 4
Prism as a filter Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin: The biographer finds that the past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image. Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1979). ‘‘Angles of Vision’’, in: Mark Pachter (Ed.), Telling Lives: the biographer’s art. Washington, DC: New Republic Books. Cited in Debate and Reflection: How to Write Journalism History 5
A prism to view the full spectrum of literature Personal 6 Real Invented SMiley face
Personal? Do you feel as if you’re involved; part of the action? That these are real people we’re dealing with—who have some identifiable personalities and personalities you can identify with? 7
Real? Is there something that makes you feel that this could have happened? Even when it couldn’t in real life? 8
Invented? Is this story invented, created by one or more authors? 9
SMileyFace? Does it seem generic, impersonal? 10
Two Continuums Real Invented Personal SMiley Face
Put ‘em together! Real Per so n a l SM il e y Invented
Application to Literature??? . . . and bears????
Top Left Sector of Matrix 14 Up close and Personal—and Real! Real Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of that culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. (Wikipedia) Personal Invented
A Norwegian ursine folktale White Bear King Valemon White-Bear-King-Valemon is a Norwegianfairy tale collected by the artist August Schneider in 1870, after a peasant woman, ThoreAslaksdotter (b. 1832), in Setesdal. The tale was for the first time retold and published in Peter Christen Asbjørnsen’sNorske Folke-Eventyr. NySamling (1871) [Norwegian Folktales. New Collection]. 15 Folk costumes from Setesdal—every region of Norway has its own distinctive style!
The tale of the white bear 16 White-Bear King Valemon by Theodor Kittelsen. Read the rest of the story here!
Bottom Left Sector of Matrix 17 Invented, but Personal Real Personal Quality literature, sometimes adaptations, or else original writing, with universal appeal and meaning for everyman and everywoman Invented
Quality literature about bears A Bear Called Paddington Almost everyone knows that Paddington is a bear who usually wears a duffle coat, a rather shapeless hat and, on occasions, Wellington boots. Many people also know that his favourite food is marmalade and that he originally comes from Darkest Peru. All about Paddington Read How it all startedback in 1956 18
A personal race of bears from another world Panserbjørne Panserbjørne are Armoured Bears who live on the far northern island of Svalbard in Lyra’sworld. Panserbjørne are innately different than humans even though both have the capacity to reason and speak. They are able to work metals using sharp claws and an opposable thumb. They are known for their strong armour they fashion from sky-iron. 19
Real SMileys! Top Right of the Matrix 20 Real Recognizable stories, but unoriginal and shallow
A real, smiley, bear? Gloomy Gus, Walt Morey (1970, repr. 2000) Mr. Morey has done and redone this kind of thing (Gentle Ben, Home Is the North, Kävikthe Wolf Dog, Angry Waters), which makes him something of an expert but makes the set-up something of a cliché. . . . so much is tangential that it takes forever for the full circle to close -- and then there’s the doubtful plot to down whole with the lump in your throat that the best of boy-cum-bear relations can’t dissolve. Review from Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 1970. Reproduced in NoveList. 21 Read “The Wild and Wooly Man Who Writes Kids’ Books” by Larry Leonard (original copyright 1986) from Oregon Magazine
Invented SMileys[perhaps contrived?] Bottom Right of the Matrix 22 Generic, unoriginal, impersonal, shallow Invented
An abecedarian search As a young child is tucked under her animal quilt, she realizes that one of the animals is missing. So begins an abecedarian search that will have all the animals coming to life and leading her on an adventure. Unfortunately, while the concept is creative, its execution is very poor. The search is so convoluted that young readers will get lost along the way, just as the main character does when she repeatedly loses track of her mission. Review from Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005 A confusing example? 23
24 Important to consider! Evaluation is subjective No absolute positioning There may be some consensus, but people will likely not all agree about where a book should be placed Evaluations can change also, with time and changes in mood, etc.