LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Kids Will Be Kids…

on April 4, 2013 1:26pm

When reading The Five Children and It, I personally enjoyed how much the kids were depicted as real children with real desires. We have previously discussed throughout the course of how much children were idolized as little innocent beings that had almost angel-like qualities. They were unrealistic because their characters were written by an adult who desired for children to act a certain way. Nesbit on the other hand flipped the Victorians on their head with this novel. She received much critique for portraying the children in her novel as real; which in today’s world seems slightly ridiculous, but she was breaking the mold.

When it came to the wishes of the kids, their wishes were very real for what a child might want. I picture the Victorians expecting children to wish for perfect manners, the ability to read as many books as possible, or to always be obedient to their parents. But Edith Nesbit accurately sees children for who they are, and that’s big dreamers with realistic expectations. The children keep asking the Pssamead for food, which if I was to put myself back in my 8 year old state of mind, I would have asked for the same thing! Especially if I was hungry enough! Also, the wish to fly made perfect sense when climbing in to the mind of a child.

In other words, the change from the Victorian era to the Edwardian did wonders for children’s literature. No longer was the child expected to have morals constantly thrown at them, but they were able to be a child and enjoy their life. Edith Nesbit was one of the firsts who started to embrace that and show adults that a child’s life should not be perfection and lessons but fun with some learning.


2 responses to “Kids Will Be Kids…

  1. I agree with your article because as we have seen in the other books the children have their minds in a more unrealistic world. We obserse in The Water Babies how Tom becomes a water baby and how his imagination help him become a succesful man from poverty. In Peter Pan we observe the theme of never growing up and how he never gets old and we know that its not possible, otherwise people will never grow to become more responsible. Nobody wants to have responsability while in Five Children and it Nesbit turn the mind of a child into a realistic world where they wish for real things that are necessity to them. The children first wish to be “ as beautiful as the day” this wish is is too fanciful to be changed because they need to accept who they are no matter how they look. Making this novel as real as possible received much critique because Nesbit wanted to show the world what really goes on in a child mind not all those fantasies which are not possible in the previous books. The wish about food is really very true of you to mention because I did the same thing during my youths years. I came from a Latin American country with low food availability and I remember to be asking my mother for food everyday even after dinner because I wanted more so when I came to the USA it was a big impact on me to see all the types of food that was available in the market.

  2. sconage says:

    Depicting the children as real children is what made we really enjoy this book because in the previous books the children characters didn’t seem that real to me. However, I could actually relate to these children because they seemed more real like. For the most part the children wishes were all wishes that young children would ask for, but I am not sure if young children would ask to be beautiful. They may have asked to look like their favorite character on a tv show but I am not sure about the beautiful thing. It was really funny to always see the children ask for food because young children do always seem hungry than usual, maybe it’s because they were are always active throughout the day.

    Nebesit portrayal of the characters as real children was an excellent choice because she opened the doors for other authors to do the same and that is probably why children literature today is abundant in that portrayal. This portrayal l also helps young children to better relate to the characters in the literature that they read.

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