Mousaion - Special issue 2, January 2010
Volumes & issues
Special issue 2, January 2010
Author Molly BrownSource: Mousaion 28, pp 1 –13 (2010)More Less
According to what physicists call the "string theory landscape", the number of possible universes may be infinite. This theoretical conception of space-time stresses multiplicity by suggesting that "whenever the universe ... is confronted by a choice of paths at the quantum level, it actually follows both possibilities, splitting into two universes" (Gribbin 1992:202). Such a perspective is naturally appealing to writers of postmodernist fantasy, several of whom have explored the literary opportunities inherent in such a premise. However, one might assume that the shifting potentialities inherent in the replacement of a universe with a multiverse would be inimical to the essential qualities of youth literature which, as Nikolajeva has argued, is generally based on "simplicity, stability and optimism" (2002:25). Yet this article hopes to demonstrate that the idea of alternate universes has, in fact, been particularly suggestively manipulated in contemporary young adult fiction.
Thus it will be argued that writers like Diana Wynne Jones, in works like the Chrestomanci series and The homeward bounders, and Philip Pullman, in the controversial His dark materials trilogy, have actively used the concept of heterotopia to explore the ramifications of choice in ways that encourage adolescents, who may be confused or daunted by the decisions lying ahead of them, to confront the possibility of their own agency and thus, ultimately, to make and accept responsibility for their own choices.
Negotiating a new cultural space : aspects of fantasy in contemporary South African youth literature, with specific reference to Because pula means rain by Jenny RobsonAuthor Gina Leigh RobsonSource: Mousaion 28, pp 14 –25 (2010)More Less
This article will examine how contemporary South African authors are using fantasy in literature for adolescents as a site for postcolonial endeavour, with reference to Because pula means rain (2000) by Jenny Robson. Discussing how texts for adolescents can be used as "bibliotherapy", and how authors writing for adolescents must be aware of the dangers of the "top-down" power hierarchy inherent in any text written for a younger audience, this article examines how these texts have become interesting sites for postcolonial critique. In Because pula means rain, the narrative is woven around young Emmanuel's quest to belong in his local community. Emmanuel, a young boy with albinism, is ostracised from his black community because of the 'whiteness' of his skin. Emmanuel is thus an interesting site of double othering - he is neither black nor white, but is stuck in an 'in-between' liminal place of double negation. It is from this place of ostracism that he begins his journey, and through it Robson opens up a space for counter-hegemonic discourse. This article will examine how Because pula means rain successfully makes use of liminal fantasy as a subversive technique, to interrogate a new space for Emmanuel to investigate his own identity.
"Haai, Jaco Jacobs! Wanneer skryf jy 'n regte boek?" 'n Bestekopname van Afrikaanse kinder- en jeugboeke (1999-2009)Source: Mousaion 28, pp 26 –49 (2010)More Less
Ten years after Betsie van der Westhuizen's (1999) argumentation, this article attempts to take stock of the state and place of Afrikaans children's and juvenile books in the Afrikaans literary system. By making use of analyses of production profiles, selected published texts in scientific journals and the broad media, interviews with role players and histories of publishers, the interaction between the broader Afrikaans literary system - which includes authors, illustrators, publishers, media, reviewers, literary histories, academics, readers and other role players - and the subsystem of children's and juvenile literature is investigated synoptically here.
The following factors are identified as themes for discussion: (i) restructuring of publishing companies involved in Afrikaans children's and juvenile books after 1994; (ii) markets for Afrikaans children's and juvenile books; (iii) visibility of Afrikaans children's and juvenile books in the broader media; (iv) academic foundation of the genre of Afrikaans children's and juvenile books; and (v) development of local authors and illustrators.
Author Asma AyobSource: Mousaion 28, pp 50 –64 (2010)More Less
The fairy tale, as it was called in the 19th century, is that tale in which a certain amount of magic is taken for granted (Purves & Monson 1984:23). Fantasy, stereotyping and "happily ever after" are concepts that embody the spirit of the fairy tale. For centuries, both fairy tales and folklore have taught children to cope with things they are afraid of (Friedmeyer 2003). While fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White and the seven dwarfs shed light on human interaction, they also draw children into worlds filled with stereotypical characters and settings. Simultaneously, it must be noted that fairy tales have their roots in folk tales and, therefore, were not initially intended for the amusement of children, but for communities as a whole (Purves & Monson 1984:24). To the same extent that oral folk tales constantly change in their retellings, literary fairy tales have been embodied in different ways according to particular socio-historical cultural and aesthetic settings (Canton 1994:16). Over the years, not only has Disney stepped in and set the standards for feature-length fairy tale films in the world of cinema, but Disney Studios have been able to retain a market stranglehold on fairy tale films up to the present (Zipes 1997:89).
Author Mia StanderSource: Mousaion 28, pp 65 –84 (2010)More Less
Reading promotion is important, not only in terms of a child's development, but also in terms of issues regarding high levels of literacy and a reading nation. One way to ensure that children develop a love of stories and reading is to listen and pay attention to their preferences. It is a reality that, in line with the top-down principle, decisions regarding what the child should read and what the child likes, are made on his/her behalf. Major changes after 1990, such as the end of the privileged position of Afrikaans within the government system and the consequent collapse of the school and library market, have led to a new approach - the more reader-directed approach - which entails that publishers and authors have begun to ask: "What do children want to read?" With the emphasis on findings regarding the reading preferences of Afrikaans-speaking children (seven to 12 years), some trends in the categories visual appearance, themes, content, language and book series are discussed. These trends are not a form of reading promotion, but act as indicators for reading promotion in so far as they present a directed platform as to what would appeal to the child.
Author Ella WehrmeyerSource: Mousaion 28, pp 85 –100 (2010)More Less
Because of its significant role in the education and moral development of children, children's literature often has ethical, nationalistic, cultural and didactic functions. Animal characteristics are often specific to a particular culture and therefore are imbued with certain behavioural characteristics peculiar to that national culture. They also lend themselves to significant implicit authorial comment.
This article examines how behavioural characteristics of the animal characters in the popular stories of AA Milne's Winnie the pooh (1926) and C Perrault's Puss in boots (1695) and their translations are condoned, condemned or changed in terms of implicit national or cultural values. The study takes into account the social milieu and literary trends of the period in which these tales entered the subsystem of children's literature. It shows that the authors used implicit as well as explicit means to comment on both positive and negative characteristics, and even to approve negative characteristics. Some translators were, in turn, aware of these characteristics and transformed them into the national and cultural mould of the target language culture.
The study is based on a combination of theoretical models of discourse analysis, which take into account the sociological function of language. Although primarily focusing on the English texts, the German, French, Russian, Chinese and Japanese translations are also discussed.
Author Cecilia Du ToitSource: Mousaion 28, pp 101 –116 (2010)More Less
Globally, children living on the street is a tragic reality of city life in developing countries. Due to the death of primary caregivers in the wake of the AIDS pandemic and escalating poverty in South Africa, even more children may be forced onto the streets, resulting in an inexorable increase in social problems such as crime, violence, drug abuse, prostitution, teenage pregnancy, STDs and child exploitation. Many children, however, manage to escape, against all odds, the dire consequences of social upheaval or a dysfunctional home. Many South African youth novels attempt to give a realistic portrayal of these children's problems and the resilience that the protagonists need to acquire and exercise in order to survive, let alone prosper. In this article, the youth novel A red kite in a pale sky, by a South African author Dianne Hofmeyr, serves as a matrix for the application of a theory of resilience. The question is asked to what extent resilience steers the actions taken by the protagonist when faced with other characters' failure and total collapse. While depicting coping mechanisms is hardly the purpose of a literary work, the use of narrative texts to address troubling issues is considered a channel of communication and support for learners, and a vehicle to gain some understanding of complex psychosocial issues. Most street children attend school, if only for a short time, and can be guided by teachers who recognise that the health of a society is reflected in the care of its young.
Author Rachael Jesika SinghSource: Mousaion 28, pp 117 –130 (2010)More Less
This article examines the teaching of reading in an additional language (in this case, English) in the foundation phase. In the South African context, additional language acquisition is faced with many complexities. Whilst children are taught in their mother tongue in the foundation phase, English is introduced from grade 3 onwards and thereafter becomes the language of learning and teaching (LOLT). In addition, parents are free to send their children to schools of their choice. In some instances, the school that a child may attend teaches through the medium of English, which is not the home language of the child (Mgqwashu, 2007:2). This article firstly examines the unique situation that occurs in South African schools where learners in the foundation phase attend schools whose language of learning and teaching is an African language, English or Afrikaans. The foundation phase curriculum and assessment policy is examined next in order to establish the manner in which reading is expected to be taught in South African schools. The work of Krashen (1987) and Cummins (1988) on second language acquisition is then discussed against the South African scenario, together with methods of teaching reading. The research focuses on a case study of the experiences of a foundation phase teacher on teaching reading to English first additional language (EFAL) learners whose home language is an African language. The article then proposes some essential tools and skills that every foundation phase teacher should possess in order to teach reading effectively. Finally, recommendations on changes that are needed in South African foundation phase classrooms in order to promote reading, are made.