ERIC Number: ED220859
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Judy Blume and Beyond.
An English instructor examined 9 Judy Blume adolescent novels and interviewed 12 students (grades 6, 7, and 8) who had read the novels to look at the world as it was presented in the books and to compare the instructor's own perceptions with those of the adolescent readers. The study revealed that the books did in fact dwell on the problems of adolescence, but some of the more complicated problems such as drugs and alcohol were generally excluded. Although the teacher's analysis of the books seemed to show that the problems were dealt with fairly superficially, the young readers were still consoled to know that other people had the same problems they had. The Judy Blume world was affluent, contemporary, and middle-class, one where only the fathers worked outside the home. Parents played a minimal role in the books, and schools were negatively portrayed, consisting of boring classes and unimaginative teachers. Blume readers felt that the homes in the novels were more affluent and attractive than their own and thought the parent characters were too permissive. Judy Blume novels afforded little opportunity for the reader to confront ethical or moral issues. In general, the characters were remarkable for their individualism (defined as looking out for number one), and a by-product of this self-preoccupation is an extreme competitiveness which, while pervasive, does not preclude peer conformity. The books did provide readers with insights into themselves and, less frequently, into the behavior of others. Readers also said that the light, humorous tone of the books, their use of first person narrative, and their easy, readable style enhanced their popularity. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Blume (Judy); Reader Response
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council of Teachers of English (15th, Saskatoon, Canada, August 15-20, 1982).