The Top100: What's Best for Kids?
Posted 23 September 2005 - 12:11 PM
Posted 23 September 2005 - 01:57 PM
Posted 05 October 2005 - 06:24 PM
(I've broken it up for easier reading.)
They may mean
(1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he cant bear to think of. Or they may mean
(2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil.
If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism . . . .
There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker. Nor do most of us find that violence and bloodshed, in a story, produce any haunting dread in the minds of children. As far as that goes, I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformers. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.
The other fears the phobias are a different matter. I do not believe one can control them by literary means. We seem to bring them into the world with us ready made. I think it possible that by confining your child to blameless stories of child life in which nothing at all alarming ever happens, you would fail to banish the terrors, and would succeed in banishing all that can ennoble them or make them endurable. For in the fairy tales, side by side with the terrible figures, we find the immemorial comforters and protectors, the radiant ones
Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet, 05 October 2005 - 06:30 PM.
Posted 05 October 2005 - 10:23 PM
Add it to Bruno Bettelheim's Uses of Enchantment, and bring on the (original) Brothers Grimm in all their grimness
Also, Narnia, Tolkien, Harry Potter, and (for somewhat older young persons), Buffy.
Edited by BethR, 05 October 2005 - 10:24 PM.