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Day: a study of the presentation of bereavement in novels for secondary level children

Day: a study of the presentation of bereavement in novels for secondary level children
Day: a study of the presentation of bereavement in novels for secondary level children
This thesis comprises critical reflection and novel. Claims for originality in the novel lie in the combination of the specific geographical location of Leeds, the 1970s setting, the narrative time frame of twenty?four hours, and the use of the mundane not as a setting from which to escape but as one in which epiphanous moments can be found. These key decisions were made early in the evolution of the novel and are discussed, along with other issues such teenage sexuality, in the first section of the critical reflection. The novel’s main character, fourteen?year?old Daniel, is grieving over the loss of his mother, and bereavement becomes the focus of the second section, which comprises the main thrust of the reflection. In response to similar research undertaken in 1985, I take forty?nine novels for ten to fourteen?year?olds written between 1997 and 2010 and analyse the presentation of bereavement therein, providing original data and opening up the novels to a scrutiny to which many have never been subjected. The previous research concludes that children’s novels offered little of value for bereaved children. I question whether writers for children have a duty to do anything but entertain by engaging with critical opinion past and present, and argue that it is impossible for a writer to avoid awareness of the age of the reader, that novels can affect children, and that consequently the writer must show moral and artistic responsibility in the presentation of important themes. My research suggests that gender differences are still present but are less emphatic, and that some novels present bereavement in a sanitised, irresponsible way or fail to present it at all. I also find the resolution of grief through the use of ghosts or visions neither realistic nor helpful. In the final chapter I explore ways in which the reading impacted positively upon the writing of Day and conclude that not only do the best of the novels treat bereavement with wit, insight and sensitivity, but that the eclectic mix of theme, character, voice and style across the books will provide inspiration for future projects for years to come.
Schofield, Alistair
d41ff56c-89fa-4361-afed-39d4c6ba3080
Schofield, Alistair
d41ff56c-89fa-4361-afed-39d4c6ba3080
Smith, Rebecca
855a318f-1376-4e0d-b554-530ad45a4956

Schofield, Alistair (2011) Day: a study of the presentation of bereavement in novels for secondary level children. University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 325pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis comprises critical reflection and novel. Claims for originality in the novel lie in the combination of the specific geographical location of Leeds, the 1970s setting, the narrative time frame of twenty?four hours, and the use of the mundane not as a setting from which to escape but as one in which epiphanous moments can be found. These key decisions were made early in the evolution of the novel and are discussed, along with other issues such teenage sexuality, in the first section of the critical reflection. The novel’s main character, fourteen?year?old Daniel, is grieving over the loss of his mother, and bereavement becomes the focus of the second section, which comprises the main thrust of the reflection. In response to similar research undertaken in 1985, I take forty?nine novels for ten to fourteen?year?olds written between 1997 and 2010 and analyse the presentation of bereavement therein, providing original data and opening up the novels to a scrutiny to which many have never been subjected. The previous research concludes that children’s novels offered little of value for bereaved children. I question whether writers for children have a duty to do anything but entertain by engaging with critical opinion past and present, and argue that it is impossible for a writer to avoid awareness of the age of the reader, that novels can affect children, and that consequently the writer must show moral and artistic responsibility in the presentation of important themes. My research suggests that gender differences are still present but are less emphatic, and that some novels present bereavement in a sanitised, irresponsible way or fail to present it at all. I also find the resolution of grief through the use of ghosts or visions neither realistic nor helpful. In the final chapter I explore ways in which the reading impacted positively upon the writing of Day and conclude that not only do the best of the novels treat bereavement with wit, insight and sensitivity, but that the eclectic mix of theme, character, voice and style across the books will provide inspiration for future projects for years to come.

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More information

Published date: October 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367400
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367400
PURE UUID: 0cd47e0d-c766-4c41-a383-93065cfed50f

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2014 12:52
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 01:59

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Contributors

Author: Alistair Schofield
Thesis advisor: Rebecca Smith

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