ERIC Number: ED193159
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr-11
Reference Count: 0
Images of the American Revolution in Children's Fiction.
This paper reports the findings of a study which analyzed both the content and form of thirty-two recommended children's novels written about the American Revolution. The novels studied were published between 1899 and 1976. The analysis of content reconstructed the historiographic conception of the Revolution which is embedded in the various novels. The second part of the analysis--that of the form or narrative structure--attempts to see the changes found in children's Revolutionary War fiction in light of the changing socio-historical milieu. The content analysis revealed that the overwhelming majority of the books legitimate a view of the Revolution which virtually ignores the complex debate which has raged among historians since the time of the Revolution itself. The books ignore the most recent research on the Revolution and present it as a "white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant pageant." The central concern of all the novels is the manner in which the hero or heroine becomes involved with, and contributes to, the Revolution. Weak, dependent protagonists are transformed into stronger more independent adults as a result of their involvement in the war. With regard to the analysis of form, the evidence shows that novels published during two time periods (1959-1961, 1967-1976) are marked by a steady decline in the role which values play in determining the reasons why characters act as they do in regards to the Revolution. This decline in the importance of values also coincides with the fracture of the family and family relationships. The evidence also shows that, while passage to adulthood is still the central concern of these latter day novels, there is now a preoccupation with each individual's perception of reality and a rejection of the notion that the initiates must accept the dictates of their elders. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 11, 1980).