Cultural Themes In Children's Literature

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Introduction Children’s literatures are not very complicated. In fact, the themes are kept simple in order to adjust to the learning and cognitive abilities of the child. Two of the primary objectives in children literature are to entertain as well as to teach them life’s lessons. For the same reason, most writers of children’s literature adhere to themes of adventure, friendship, family and love. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, for instance, circles on the themes of adventure and friendship. Frederick Douglas, on the other hand, centers his literary themes on adventure, friendship, slavery and religion while Marjane Satrapi and her ‘Persepolis’ also centered on themes of adventure, family and coming of age. It is quite noticeable…show more content…
Most parents in their lifetime must have taught that it is good to have friends or perhaps taught on how to be a good friend. This cultural value may have been handed down for generations that the genesis of such value could not be accurately determined. Aside from cultural influences, it is also understood by society that friends are essential to children’s development. As observed by scholars, friendship benefits children by “creating a sense of belonging and security and by lessening stress” (Yu, S., Ostrosky, M., & Fowler, S., 2011). Children, as well, as part of their inherent behavior, are inclined to find someone whom they can call as friends. According to scholars, 75% of preschoolers have friends while 80% to 90% of adolescents have mutual friends and best friends (Gurian, A., & Pope, A., 2014). Most likely, this cultural and social orientation towards the value of friendship is the reason why themes of friendship are commonly reflected in in children literature. In fact, as early as the 6th century B.C., the Greek slave Aesop with his world renowned fables has tackled on themes of friendship such as the Lion and the Mouse, The Dove and the Ant, the Swallow and the Crow and many other short stories that highlight the moral of friendship (Aesop's Fables, 2007; Horgan,…show more content…
Children, for instance, view their parents as heroes while their lives circled on the comfort of their own homes. For the same reason, stories that emphasize the value of family or have family themes can easily caught their interest. A character who sacrifices for his family or a family that survives adversity through their collective efforts, for instance, is a common theme in some children literature. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is an example of children literature that is centered on family values and the sacrifices of its members for the sake of the family. Persepolis is a graphic novel that talked about the experiences of the author, herself (Sharma, P.R., & Aravind, A., 2014). In talking about her childhood experiences, Satrapi narrates how her family survived the political and social crises of Iran and how it impacted their family. The ideological and political differences of Satrapi’s family from the prevailing culture of Iran have threatened to cause divisions within the family. Satrapi, herself, was sent by her parents abroad to avoid persecution from Iran’s culture police. Other salient features of family themed children literature is the element of growing up. Just like Satrapi’s Persepolis, children literature such as the famous Ugly Duckling and the Archie and Veronica series, for instance, have elements of growing up combined with family
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