Down the Rabbit Hole [Lesson 2]

               In class, we first discussed what would make a good novel for children. An intriguing character, a meaningful plot, a captivating setting and an appropriate theme is what according to us would make a book that is enjoyable and suitable for children to read. Of course an accessible and readable style are necessary in order for children to grasp the story and have an understanding of what the story contains and tries to tell them. The first books ever were actually the classics that were retold. The stories that have been told from generation to generation finally made it to paper once the press was invented. The main topics of these stories were innocence and adventure. Alice in Wonderland is a book that fits perfectly in this genre. She visits Wonderland and returns to the real world again, while being entangled in all different sorts of adventures and meeting new people who seem a tad weird. Alice herself has no idea what has come to her and basically just lets it wash over her, this representing her innocence.

            Being a true Tim Burton fan, I have seen the movie ‘Alice in Wonderland’ loads of times. Ashamed that I have not read the actual story up until now, I chose to do so while I can put it to use in the Youth Literature course. It turns out that the book differs a lot from the movie. The character Alice is much younger, much more innocent and if you ask me much more selfish than the character that is portrayed by Tim Burton.   
            My first impression of the book was that the writing style differs a lot from everything that I have ever read before. It takes some time getting used to, but after the first chapter or so you glide through the book like you are in wonderland yourself. The into Alice’s head, dreamily way that the book is written is what both annoyed me and made me enjoy it at the same time. While it gives the Wonderland that the is wandering through a good description, it tends to be a bit annoying when we read the somewhat foolish thoughts that Alice is having.

The insights that I gained during the discussions in class is that the book is that it is actually written as a protest to the way that British girls are raised and treated. Alice is a lightheaded, nitwit kind of girl that should know  better than to talk to herself and be rude to people because she thinks she is so much better than them. I did notice that Alice was very rude to people that tried to be nice to her, but I never gave it much thought that Alice is actually portrayed that way to convey a message to the British culture back in those days.
              Me and the people that took place in our discussion all agreed on the fact that the way Alice talks to herself and others annoyed us to bits. She talks to herself about how absolutely brilliant she is while the whole talking to herself bit makes her look like a complete idiot. We did all like the story but the fact that we all came across the same type of things that we did not like was rather funny.
            The patterns that we found in the book were somewhat similar as well. Everybody had something to add, such as the use of a word with a different meaning than Alice is used to because the way it sounded was almost the same. The returning moments in which Alice is shrinking, growing and then shrinking again was a pattern that we see as well. While discussing we thought this pattern gave us an insight to the naivety of Alice. It is not really normal, according to us, to drink from a bottle while not knowing who put it there or what will happen once you have sucked it dry.

For next week, we have the theme of imperfect world. Upon seeing the Hunger Games on the list I was a happy girl once again. I am a big fan of the series and have read all the books multiple times. Reading them once again for this course will not be a punishment for me, and I look forward to discussing the book with my classmates.

Literature: Love it or Fall in Love With it [Lesson 1]

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On seeing the course ‘Youth Literature’ on my schedule, my heart jumped a little. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved reading and up to this day you can find me curled up with a book in my bed almost every single night.

So why is reading important? As for me, it changed my life. I am one of those readers whose life has changed a lot while living a double life in the books I have read. A better question for me would be why would reading not be important? It gives us insight in other people’s lives, gives us general knowledge, improves our language, grammar and reading skills and above all lets us escape into worlds unknown. Reading simply helps us understand ourselves, others and the world around us so much better.

The good question was who loved literature or who did not. The problem seemed to be that the people who did not either have not tried at all or just have not found the book that opened their literary loving hearts yet. The thing was that adults or teachers have pushed books upon us which made us loathe reading for all the wrong reasons.

The kind of reader that I am is one that hears the words when I read, visualise everything that I read, a reader that listens to music while reading and a reader who feels the emotions of the characters. That pretty much sums up everything that we discussed in class. I have always wondered why I get tired while reading but I guess I now have the answer to that question, my head is working too hard while reading!  It seems that I was not the only one in class  who did one or more of those things while reading, so there is no need for feeling special unfortunately.

My first impression of the books that we had to read was sheer happiness. I have read about 80% of the books that we must read and I certainly do not mind to have to read them all again for this course.  I have a good feeling that I will absolutely love this course, and now I am back to reading Alice in Wonderland for the umpteenth time.