The Importance Of Motifs In Children's Literature

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Motifs have a major role to play in children’s literature. One such motif that is utilised in children’s literature that is hugely significant is “The garden”. Motifs such as “The Garden” have been utilised as a setting in children’s literature and furthermore, the utilisation of the motif “The Garden” can signify a variety of perspectives on a child’s text. This assignment will highlight the significance of “The garden” as a motif in a selection of children’s stories and novels. Innocence, Christianity, escapism and growth will be central themes in identifying the garden as a significant motif in children’s literature. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Through…show more content…
Wullschlager (1995) believes that the motif “The garden” is based on Christianity and in particular, the Garden of Eden. Secondly, Wullschlager (1995) highlights that “The garden” is a place of innocence and the perfect place for a child to spend their time. This seems to suggest that the Garden of Eden is child centred and focuses on the innocence of the child. Similarly to this, Rose (1984) demonstrates that the image of innocence that is portrayed of children has an adverse effect on the image portrayed of adults. Rose (1984) demonstrates adults as guilty and sinful characters. A clear and vivid example of this is in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll (1865) highlights in his book the child entering into a garden and on her journey, the child encounters adults who are portrayed as mad or corrupt. Carroll (1865) demonstrates to the readers that it is the adult Queen who is corrupt and her sole aim is to oversee the death of Alice. This creates tension and it highlights the linkage between the Garden of Eden and “The Garden” as a motif in children’s literature. This highlights that the Queen is portrayed as a corrupt and evil character which has direct associations with Eve in the Garden of Eden, who also finds herself becoming corrupt. This seems to suggest that the motif of “The Garden” is central to the corruption in both stories. Furthermore, C.S Lewis’ (1950)…show more content…
The significance of “The Garden” is clearly visible in Francis Hodgson Burnett’s (1911) book The Secret Garden. In this novel, we encounter various aspects of children’s literature that I have engaged with already such as- growth, Christianity with the connection with the Garden of Eden and innocence of the central character. However, it is the struggles of the central character Mary Lennox that are the focal point of the story. Mary becomes an orphaned child and did not experience the care and love that every child should experience in their youth. However, “the garden” provides Mary with a place of freedom and gives her a new lease of life. She encounters two characters in the garden- Dickon and Colin, who she can relate to through their own personal struggles in life. “The garden” in the story allows the children to develop and grow and it is in the garden that Colin and Mary are supernaturally healed of their ailments. This supports Lurie’s (2004) point that the garden is a central place for children to overcome their struggles and the significance of the garden in helping the characters prosper and grow. Furthermore, Dickon identifies the magical aspect of nature to the characters and this magical aspect associated with the garden allowed Colin and

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