Get Critical Children: The Use of Childhood in Ten Great Novels PDF
By Richard Locke
The ten novels explored in Critical Children painting teenagers so vividly that their names are immediately recognizable. Richard Locke lines the 130-year evolution of those iconic baby characters, relocating from Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Pip in Great Expectations to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; from Miles and vegetation in The flip of the Screw to Peter Pan and his smooth American descendant, Holden Caulfield; and at last to Lolita and Alexander Portnoy.
"It's remarkable," writes Locke, "that such a lot of vintage (or, as an example, unforgotten) English and American novels should still specialise in young ones and youth now not as colourful minor characters yet because the severe heart of attention." regardless of many ameliorations of fashion, atmosphere, and constitution, all of them enlist a specific kid's tale in a bigger cultural narrative. In Critical Children, Locke describes the methods the youngsters in those novels were used to discover and stay away from huge social, mental, and ethical difficulties.
Writing as an editor, instructor, critic, and essayist, Locke demonstrates the best way those nice novels paintings, how they spring to existence from their information, and the way they either invite and withstand interpretation and impress rereading. Locke conveys the range and persevered energy of those books as they shift from Victorian ethical allegory to big apple comedian psychoanalytic monologue, from a toddler who's an agent of redemption to 1 who's a narcissistic prisoner of guilt and proud rage.
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Extra info for Critical Children: The Use of Childhood in Ten Great Novels
There is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, and sincere earnestness” (560). What makes this self-advertisement more than conventional Victorian bombast—Carlyle’s gospel of work—is how precisely and powerfully David distinguishes the intense professional discipline required for literary work, which encompasses both romance and reality, from the brutal Evangelical “realism” and criminal hypocritical “respectability” of Murdstone and Uriah Heep. . I do my duty” (85). Rather than making the usual opposition between irresponsible, dreamy, romantic literary fancy and hard, realistic, Victorian practical material action, David describes C harles D ickens ’ s H eroic V ictims his literary vocation as the ultimate—and heroic—civilizing force in modern England and its empire.
In this world of Hobbesian self-interest, Wemmick does care for his deaf, aged father, but it is characteristic of Dickens’s dark realism that Wemmick is also seen moving among the wretched prisoners of Newgate “as a gardener might walk among his plants” (199). Thus Wemmick fosters and thrives on punition. His private personal virtue does not erase his professional complicity in a cruel social system. And the secrecy with which he surrounds his private life taints it with something of Jaggers’s paranoia.
He makes dreadful mouths as he rules the cyphering-book; and now he throws his eye sideways down our lane [of small boys], and we all droop over our books and tremble” (91). Throughout the book, adults steal from children. A waiter in a pub ends up eating David’s meal—a scene that is brilliantly doubled when the glamorous, six-years-older schoolboy Steerforth appropriates David’s seven shillings on the first day of school and uses them to throw a night-time “feast” laid “out on my bed in the moonlight,” a “royal spread” for the boys in their dorm room (88).