ERIC Number: ED219802
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Quest for Values in Contemporary Adolescent Fiction.
A comparison of a highly acclaimed, recent realistic adolescent novel, Richard Peck's "Are You in the House Alone?" with J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" yields some surprises. For all its realism of subject matter (including rapes, birth control, and corrupt adults) and its skillful exposition of the traumas of growing up, too often Peck's novel sacrifices moral depth and honesty to simple, cynical reader expectations. The obviously unrealistic and romantic "Peter Pan," however, deals with the same tensions of maturity in more subtle and complex ways. In spite of its strong elements of romantic nostalgia, a careful reading of the book reveals that Barrie does level some profound criticisms at Peter's rejection of the adult world. While Peck's novel is more inclined to recrimination than reconciliation, Barrie manages to balance the real losses of childhood's end against the deep consolations of adulthood. Ultimately Barrie's book grapples more honestly with the moral complexities of life than does Peck's and many other modern "realistic" adolescent novels. Teachers shouldn't let trendy sensationalism distract them from teaching abiding issues. (JL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Barrie (J M); Peck (Richard)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council of Teachers of English (15th, Saskatoon, Canada, August 15-20, 1982).