Adults in 20th Century Children's Literature Analytical Essay by Sarah6099

Adults in 20th Century Children's Literature
A discussion of the role of adulthood versus childhood as depicted in Enid Blyton's "Five on a Treasure Island" and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone".
# 68542 | 1,765 words | 6 sources | APA | 2006 | GB
Published on Aug 25, 2006 in Literature (Children) , Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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The paper uses as a starting point the comment of children's literature critic Peter Hunt, that 'before 1970, it might be said, adults were, on the whole, reliable: since then they have not been.' It analyses language and plot to compare and contrast "Five on a Treasure Island" and "Harry Potter", as examples of pre- and post-1970 children's literature, respectively and draws conclusions about the extent to which adult characters have changed over time. Then, shifting emphasis to Rowling's work, the paper discusses more complex literary theory including a psychoanalytic analysis of the protagonist's relationships with his father, uncle and nemesis, and asks how we can really know which characters function as adults and which as children.

From the Paper:

"However, it is not difficult to contest this view with obvious instances where adults are unreliable in Five on a Treasure Island. Throughout the story, adults cause the problems that the children have to work to solve. Moreover, despite Quentin and Fanny's essential reliability, there are also crucial times when they fail to protect the children in the most basic and obvious ways, for example, when they are trapped on the island in chapter fourteen. They also fail to protect the children in more subtle ways. The children are exposed to distinctly adult problems like the family's lack of money. Julian, Dick and Anne's parents mention casually that Quentin and Fanny would appreciate 'a little money' (p. 2), and later in the book Quentin thinks nothing of disappointing George by selling the island to make money."

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APA Format

Adults in 20th Century Children's Literature (2006, August 25) Retrieved December 15, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Adults in 20th Century Children's Literature" 25 August 2006. Web. 15 December. 2019. <>