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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Enriched and empowered : nature's influence on the psyche in two Afrikaans youth novels : research article

Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

In this article two Afrikaans youth novels are analysed in order to determine to what extent nature and elements of the natural environment can influence a child's experience and view of life. In "Gamkab" (Betsie van Niekerk) and "Om 'n kierie te keer" (Pieter Pieterse) their natural surroundings expose the characters to challenges and adventures which form a context in which their ways of thinking are challenged and stimulated. This develops their ability to make decisions and solve problems, thereby broadening their life experience and developing their life skills. Theories on reader identification are used to argue that stories like these have the potential to expand and develop reader consciousness. These novels are of importance to the South African child of today, because they introduce various contemporary issues, such as entrepreneurship, social responsibility and multicultural interaction. In identifying with the characters, the reader is confronted with pertinent topics such as peer pressure, teenage insecurities and fears, and problematic family relationships. From the analysis of the novels, which focuses on the enriching and reinforcing contribution of nature, it is apparent that through nature's challenges the characters are empowered to overcome their problems and improve their personal circumstances. This foreshadows the potential empowerment of the reader.


Hierdie artikel ondersoek twee Afrikaanse jeugromans met die doel om vas te stel watter rol die natuur en elemente van die natuurlike omgewing kan speel in die verruiming van die kind se lewenservaring en -uitkyk. In "Gamkab" (Betsie van Niekerk) en "Om 'n kierie te keer" (Pieter Pieterse) bied die natuurlike omgewing uitdaging en avontuur aan die karakters, maar ook 'n uitdagende en stimulerende konteks vir ontwikkeling op die vlakke van denke, besluitneming en probleemoplossing, vir die wysiging en verbreding van karakters se denkwyse en lewensinsig, en vir die inskerp van praktiese lewensbeginsels en -vaardighede. Teorie oor leseridentifisering word betrek om te argumenteer dat verhale soos hierdie die potensiaal het om ook die lesersbewussyn te verruim. Hierdie verhale is van aktuele belang vir die Suid-Afrikaanse kind van vandag, aangesien die jong leser bekendgestel word aan beginsels soos entrepeneurskap, sosiale verantwoordelikheid en multikulturele interaksie. Die leser word, via die proses van identifisering met die verhaalkarakters, gekonfronteer met algemeen relevante kwessies soos groepsdruk, tienervrese en problematiese gesinsverhoudings. Uit die verhaalanalise, met die fokus op die invloed van die natuur op 'n verrykte denk- en ervaringswêreld, blyk ook die bemagtiging van die karakters om probleme te oorkom en hulle lewensomstandighede te verbeter. Die potensiële bemagtiging van die leser word hiermee geïmpliseer.

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/content/literat/30/2/EJC62092
2009-08-01
2016-12-09

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