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Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

Children’s Literature in

Relation to Society;

Focusing specifically on Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and AA

Milne’s ‘Winnie-The-Pooh’.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

Contents Page 1 - 2 – INTRODUCTION; (A brief introduction to the assignment, including a small history of the authors and children’s literature) Page 3-7 – Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Carroll’s novel in relation to society at the time, and the effect it has potentially had on author and his writing) Page 7-9 – AA Milne’s ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ (Analysis of Milne’s characters – their potential disorders and how Milne’s happy childhood affected his writing) Page 9 – Conclusion (Essay closing) Page 10 -11 – Bibliography and figure references.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

Introduction… Within this essay, I aim to focus on children’s literature, focusing particularly on the works of AA Milne and Lewis Carroll, two incredibly popular authors, whose work is still distributed today, within the 21st Century, and their relationship with the society within the time, and how the changes have reflected society today. During the 17th Century, literature for children was primarily aimed at educating and moralizing the children, in favour of driving out their sins. Only one known text remains from 17th Century children’s literature, being ‘The Primer’ (Owen, J. 1652)1. Within the late 17th Century, fairytales became more fashionable, however, were not written down, merely shared through verse and chorus. Children’s literature began arising within the 18th Century, upon printed form, of which told stories with morals, leaving the reader a chance to learn from the relatable protagonist within it. This was also when fairytales started to become popular, told particularly through verse, as in the 17th Century, and now

i. AA Milne

illustrated through woodcuts2. Children’s fictional stories also

allowed them an escape from everyday life – an opportunity to explore, more often than not, a fantasy world of which they would later, take the morals, and apply to their lives. Within the 19th Century, children’s literature took a radical change, and it is suggested that at least ten per cent of the titles released in Britain were to entertain and instruct the young citizens. Coloured printing became cheaper 1

th

British Library. (2011). Historical Survey of Children's Literature in the British Library, 17 Century. Available: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpsubject/literature/chillit/childhist/childhistorical.html. Last accessed 2nd January 2012 2 th British Library. (2011). Historical Survey of Children's Literature in the British Library, 18 Century. Available: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpsubject/literature/chillit/childhist/childhistorical.html. Last accessed 2nd January 2012


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. as the 19th Century progressed, enabling the printer Edmund Evans to print a lot of cheaper and easily distributable children’s books3. During the 20th Century, books became classified in libraries, with comics being listed as newspapers. It was also the beginning of very many much loved characters, such as the work of infamous writer Beatrix Potter and the ‘Peter Rabbit’ series, as well as ‘Rupert Bear’, ‘Paddington Bear’ and ‘Noddy Goes to Toyland’. I aim to focus on Lewis Carroll4’s most popular works including ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, and ‘Alice Through The Looking-Glass’, as well as poems such as ‘The Jabberwocky’ and ‘The Hunting of the Snark’, all of which contain a modest amount of fantasy and make-believe, and his writing is typically suggested to classed as ‘literary nonsense’. I also plan to explore Milne’s most popular works mainly focusing on the stories of ‘Winnie-The-Pooh’ and his friends, living within 100 Acre Wood. Milne5 wrote many other novels and plays, but large majorities ii.

Lewis Carroll.

were out shadowed by the enormous success of the

‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ series, as Milne also penned the plays ‘Toad of Toad Hall’, ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘Wurzel-Flummery’.

3

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British Library. (2011). Historical Survey of Children's Literature in the British Library, 19 Century. Available: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpsubject/literature/chillit/childhist/childhistorical.html. Last accessed 2nd January 2012 4 Unknown author. (2012). Lewis Carroll. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll Last accessed 1st January 2012 5 Unknown author. (2011). A. A. Milne. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Milne Last accessed 1st January 2012.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

‘Alice in Wonderland’… ‘Alice in Wonderland’ author, Lewis Carroll, had sense of nonsense about him from a young age. In 1840, eight year old Carroll received a letter, from his father Archdeacon Dodgson, who was away in Leeds.

‘Then what a bawling and tear of hair there will be! Pigs and babies, camels and Butterflies, rolling in the gutter together – old women rushing up chimnies and cows after them – ducks hiding themselves in coffee cups and fat geese trying to squeeze themselves into pencil cases – at last the Mayor of Leeds will be found in a soup plate covered up with custard and stuck full of almonds to make him looks like a sponge cake that he may escape the dreadful destruction of the town’

This letter is perhaps what begun the nonsense literary for Carroll. Within the novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’, tells tales of ‘babies turning into pigs, bread-and-butterflies, little girls stuck in chimneys, talking puddings and people leaping into soup tureens’6 (Wullschlager, J. 1995), suggesting the muse his father granted him. Twelve year old Carroll proceeded to write a poem to his brother, about turning a sister in to mutton broth, which ends ‘never stew your sister7’ (Carroll, L. 1844), and this was perhaps the official beginning of his literary nonsense. Carroll wrote within the Victorian times, a time of rigidity, and strictness, in which everything was determined by punishment. The novels focus on children a great

6

Wullschlager, J. (1995). Lewis Carroll: The Child as Muse. In: - Inventing Wonderland. 2nd ed. Methuen London: Methuen Publishing Limited. p31. 7 Wullschlager, J. (1995). Lewis Carroll: The Child as Muse. In: - Inventing Wonderland. 2nd ed. Methuen London: Methuen Publishing Limited. p32.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. deal, however at the time of writing, Britain was undergoing a state of industrialization and Victorian citizens became more aware of the children labor and exploitation going on at the time. As child labour played a huge factor during the Victorian era, Carroll’s nonsense writing perhaps created a ‘silly’ world for them to escape in to and suggests even an escape from himself. Carroll presents the world of children as a dangerous place, undermined by the threat of death and a constant presence of adults who are powerful but often, at times, absurd, hence determining a Wonderland for Alice to explore. It appears as though Alice is trapped within a world of which she cannot conform and needs an opportunity to find herself, and this is done so through discovering Wonderland – Alice also perhaps reflects Carroll himself - who was rumoured to have a dangerous obsession with young girls, although it was never clarified as to whether he acted upon this obsession or not, however this could potentially be his release – being a child trapped within an adult’s body. Carroll’s writing is ultimately defined as ‘fantasy’, and the Alice series are not specifically aimed at children. It is proposed that ‘if not written specifically for children, had an important formative effect on all fantasy, including children’s fantasy’ (Prickett, S. ; Carpenter, H. 1995)8. Carroll’s writing feasibly suggests moral for adults – implying that sensibility is somewhat over-rated and a sense of nonsense allows you to discover yourself. During the Victorian era, much of life was very restricted – women were expected to be housewives – they did not have suffrage rights, the right to sue, nor the right to own property and they were not offered a the opportunity of developing an education. Children within the Victorian era would work hard, especially during this time of industrial revolution, and attend school. It is suggested that the character of Alice took a keen interest in the French language, at one point within the novel stating ‘Où est ma chatte?’ - French for ‘where is my cat?’, after coming to the conclusion that the mouse within chapter two speaks French; a language commonly featured within young Victorian

8

III Sullivan, C.W.. (1992). Fantasy In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. p100-101.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. girl’s education9. However, many adaptations of this have been drawn up – Donald Thomas’ list (1932) included the reworking’s of which heavily feature German leader, Adolf Hitler; of which the protagonist Alice, becomes the notorious villain, ‘playing croquet across Europe’ in 1934, ‘Alice in Rationland’ (1939) and the Punch series titled ‘The Voter in Wonderland’, who ‘had to choose between the Tweedle-twins at the 1950 general election’.10 Alice portrays a satirical escape for those who are trapped within whom they feel they should be, the protagonist due to give them the inspiration to break free from conformity.

Not only did cultural goings-on at the time affect Carroll’s writing, but society in changing has changed the film adaptations of the character of Alice. Alice within the novels, goes by the name of Alice Liddell, and falls down the rabbit hole, whilst sitting on the river bank alongside her sister. The original Alice was only ever drawn in black and white, but is now, globally renowned for having blonde hair, often tied back by a ribbon, and wearing a sky blue dress, with a pinafore. At the time, women would often be stuck in the kitchens, and this perhaps suggests why Alice’s attire at the time. The Disney adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ showed the protagonist as fitting this description (see figure iii.)

Figure iii. - Disney's Alice, from 'Alice in Wonderland' 9

Gardner, Martin (2000). The Annotated Alice: the definitive edition. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company. 10

Brooker, W. (2005). Analysing Alice. In: Brooker, W Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture. New York & London: The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. p78-79.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. Burton’s more recent adaptation of the novel, features a lot of a darker edge, and Alice’s costuming is incredibly fashionable, perhaps suggesting that today’s society focuses a lot on appearance – she is often changing dresses, as well, which is not seen in the previous adaptations (see figures below) Burton’s adaptations also show Alice as a character who doesn’t not fit in… in the carriage on the way to the party they are late to attend her mother states ‘You are not properly dressed’, to which Alice bitterly replies ‘Who’s to say what is proper?’ – Wonderland is her escape – where she is not pressured in to making decisions she doesn’t want to take part in, etc. figure iv: The first dress we see Alice is wearing is clearly uncomfortable – but she must wear this to conform with everybody around her. figure v: the second dress we see Alice wearing is made to fit her by the Mad Hatter – it is loose, and it’s fashionable


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. today, but would not have been allowed in her ‘real world’. figure vi: The following dress the viewer sees Alice wearing is made for her by Red Queen – it is red and black in colour and makes a statement – something Alice is clearly trying to do, through Burton’s adaptation of Carroll’s novel.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

‘Winnie-the-Pooh’… Another incredibly popular fantasy series is the ‘Winnie-The-Pooh’ series, written in 1926, by AA Milne, is also classed as ‘fantasy’. Milne lived a happy lifestyle in Victorian Britain, and his writing came from this, rather than disappointment, such as Carroll’s. Reconciliation is always a part in his series, and they always have a happy, closing ending. During 1926, the United Kingdom was dominated by the General Strike, a time in which coal miners went on strike in an (unsuccessful) attempt to disallow the British Government from lowering wages and worsening their working conditions.11 Whilst Britain struggled under the circumstances, Milne composed a sequence of stories about a small, jolly, yellow bear, living in a wood, alongside his best friends. Although, initially aimed at children, there are several morals within this story of which can relate to adults, represented through the main protagonists, Winnie-thePooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore, all of which are fictional, talking animals. The character of Piglet, a small pig, of which is defined by his fear of everything – quite simply he is a physical representation of fear – possibly using his character as a reflection of the countries minority – Piglet always finds his strength in the end – when put alongside his friends – suggesting that when united, like the British miners, you can overcome what you face. The character of Tigger, a bouncy, and very proud tiger, potentially suggests the shallow society of which Milne lived in, and which we live in now. Eeyore is the pessimist of the group – always having to be cheered up by his friends. This constant sense of being down gives the impression of depression, and as a child, may not be noticed, but to an adult reader, it is perhaps much clearer. However, the character may also be representative of various mental disorders – Pooh perhaps

11

Unknown. (2011). 1926 United Kingdom General Strike. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926_United_Kingdom_general_strike Last accessed 2nd January 2012.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. suffers an eating disorder, Piglet suffers from irrational fears, Tigger that of ADHD, Kanga and Roo, a single parent bringing up a child alone, Rabbit suffering OCD and Eeyore, as earlier stated, depression and perhaps that these are something not to fear, and that the sufferer is no different from anybody else. It is also acknowledged that the human protagonist, Christopher Robin, suffers schizophrenia – as a boy in the World with no friends – and whose stuffed animals come to life, in the Hundred Acre Wood. It is advocated that ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ are ‘classic examples of the domestic fantasy, a genre that encapsulates the distinctive features of fantasy in general, and interrelates the adult and children’s forms of it’ (Hunt, P. 1992)12. Milne’s books are popular with both adult and child alike, and have long become a part of British culture. It is suggested that the books ‘tell a story with universal appeal to anyone anywhere who finds himself, like most children, at a social disadvantage’ (A. Lurie, 1990)13. The books satisfy the fantasy desires set by both adults and children, of which may overlap, implies ‘fantasy puts its roots down into subconscious human universals and thus can transcend its local surface features’ (Jackson, R. 1992)14 – as you grow up, you take what you remember from your childhood, particularly fantasies along with you – and these affect what you become and your life experiences as well as giving the reader as sense of fulfillment. Hunt states ‘many of the key elements of fantasy are there in ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ – adventure, the secondary world, the heroic and controlling figure and the anti-hero, the alien race, the anthropomorphism, team stereotype – and sexism’ (Hunt, P. 1992)15 – these central themes of which all occur within the ’Alice’ stories. Authors such as Claudia van Strassenbahn, in her 1985 book ‘Der feminine Untertext in Winnie-the-Pooh - Untersuchen zur 12

Hunt, P. (1992). 'Winnie-the-Pooh' and Domestic Fantasy In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. p112-124. 13

Lurie, A. (1990). Don't Tell the Grown Ups. Boston: Back Bay Books. p. 145

14

Jackson, R. (1981). Fantasy; The literature of subversion. London: Methuen.

15

Hunt, P. (1992). 'Winnie-the-Pooh' and Domestic Fantasy In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. p112-124.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. Bärenmotiven’16, suggests that the interesting notion of the lack of female presence within the series. Strassenbahn notes how there are only female character, the single mother Kanga, and the males fear her – for she is not only female, but she is intelligent. During the 18th Century, up until the early 20th Century, the World was faced with what was known as ‘First Wave Feminism17’, focussing on granting women the right to vote. This was when Virginia Woolf began writing, including the novel ‘A Room of One’s Own’. This movement took place during Milne’s time as an author – and the lack of female presence perhaps suggests his resilience towards this – Christopher Robin’s mother is never mentioned within the series, and Milne’s only female is abandoned and intelligent, left a single parent, and the reader is only aware she is a female, initially due to carrying her child.

Figure vii- Winnie the Pooh and friends

16

Wilcockson, C. (1995). Winnie-the-Pooh: von Strassenbahn's feminist interpretation. Available: http://www.poohsoc.org.uk/Archive/Papers/CW950620.html Last accessed 2nd January 2012. 17 Unknown. (-). Waves of Feminism. Available: http://georgetowncollege.edu/Departments/ws/1st,_2nd,_3rd_wave.htm Last accessed 2nd January 2012.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

Conclusion… In closing, Milne and Carroll’s writing seems to reflect what occurred in the country at the time – focussing on events such as First Wave Feminism, the Miner’s Strike and general Victorian lifestyle; not conforming to the strict regimes. Literature has been used as an escape from reality, for children and adults alike – more often than not, portraying an idyllic world of which its reader is allowed to penetrate and explore, and picture perfectly in their minds. It is generally an escape from the society they are living in – ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ both shows the protagonists escaping from their disappointing, conforming lifestyles and enter a world of which isn’t available to anybody except it’s reader, entering Wonderland, or Hundred Acre Wood. These stories do not leave the reader, as they enter adulthood – the morals and escapism are still available much later on in life. However, ‘the interests, concerns and values of [that] society’s dominant class pervaded its literature, including its children’s books’ (Butts, D. 1992)18 – implying what is going on socially and culturally at the time of this literature is shown throughout the writing – and can still be seen today. Film adaptations of old novels, such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ are drastically changed in order to fit in with the citizens within the culture today – it is modernized, only sticking very loosely to the original plot, bringing it globally-renowned actors and actresses in order to purely gain viewers, and also bought to life in 3D. Children’s literature today, is a lot more mature – aimed at encouraging children to grow up quicker, and focuses a lot more on fantasy and the world of magic, as opposed to directly handing out morals.

18

Butts, D. (1992). Introduction In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. P. x-xi


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke.

Bibliography... th

th

British Library. (2011). Historical Survey of Children's Literature in the British Library, 17, 18 and 19th Century. Available: http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelpsubject/literature/chillit/childhist/childhistorical.html. Last accessed 2nd January 2012 Brooker, W. (2005). Analysing Alice. In: Brooker, W Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture. New York & London: The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. p78-79. Butts, D. (1992). Introduction In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. P. x-xi Gardner, Martin (2000). The Annotated Alice: the definitive edition. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company. Hunt, P. (1992). 'Winnie-the-Pooh' and Domestic Fantasy In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. p112-124. Jackson, R. (1981). Fantasy; The literature of subversion. London: Methuen. Lurie, A. (1990). Don't Tell the Grown Ups. Boston: Back Bay Books. p. 145

Wilcockson, C. (1995). Winnie-the-Pooh: von Strassenbahn's feminist interpretation. Available: http://www.poohsoc.org.uk/Archive/Papers/CW950620.html Last accessed 2nd January 2012. Unknown. (-). Waves of Feminism. Available: http://georgetowncollege.edu/Departments/ws/1st,_2nd,_3rd_wave.htm Last accessed 2nd January 2012. Unknown author. (2012). Lewis Carroll. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll Last accessed 1st January 2012 Unknown author. (2011). A. A. Milne. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Milne Last accessed 1st January 2012. Unknown. (2011). 1926 United Kingdom General Strike. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926_United_Kingdom_general_strike Last accessed 2nd January 2012. Wilcockson, C. (1995). Winnie-the-Pooh: von Strassenbahn's feminist interpretation. Available: http://www.poohsoc.org.uk/Archive/Papers/CW950620.html Last accessed 2nd January 2012.


Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Assignment Two; Research File/Portfolio| Popular Genres; Alan Clarke. Wullschlager, J. (1995). Lewis Carroll: The Child as Muse. In: - Inventing Wonderland. 2nd ed. Methuen London: Methuen Publishing Limited. p31 & 32 III Sullivan, C.W.. (1992). Fantasy In: Bloom, C and Butts, D Stories and Society; Children's Literature in its Social Context. London: Macmillan Academic and Professional LTD. p100-101.

Figure references… Figure I; Walt Disney’s Alice: http://www.shescribes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/alice2m.jpg Figure ii: Carroll’s Winnie the Pooh: http://aldona.sportjunk.net/files/winnie-the-poohevil_1267215064_1275601410.jpg Figure iii: AA Milne image; http://content.answcdn.com/main/content/img/getty/2/2/3254922.jpg Figure v: Lewis Carroll image; http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/images/lewis-carroll.jpg Figure IV: http://violetfolklore.typepad.com/.a/6a0105358c3b5f970b0120a571c86f970b-500wi Figure V: http://shopeatsleep.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/AliceInWscrapEdit.jpg Figure VI: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Q7399iUS2Q/S8J7G7shh_I/AAAAAAAAARA/2aduSpt_ox4/s1600/New-Alice-in-Wonderland-MiaWasikowska-Photoshoot-alice-in-wonderland-2010-10340861-1183-1450.jpg Figure vii: http://www.duetsblog.com/uploads/image/pooh-and-friends.jpg


Society and Literature