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ERIC Number: EJ905246
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
Grasping the Unimaginable: Recent Holocaust Novels for Children by Morris Gleitzman and John Boyne
Gilbert, Ruth
Children's Literature in Education, v41 n4 p355-366 Dec 2010
This discussion explores the role that storytelling and stories might have in leading children towards an awareness of uncertainty and ambiguity in relation to Holocaust representation. It focuses on Morris Gleitzman's "Once" ("2006"), its sequel "Then" ("2008"), and John Boyne's "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" ("2006") to consider the narrative techniques used to draw young readers into an understanding of the Holocaust. In particular, the discussion examines the role of silence within these narratives to suggest that a meaningful dialogue with silence is a crucial aspect in communicating the fractured nature of Holocaust history. Literature aimed at a young audience engages explicitly with the oft-cited injunction not to forget the Holocaust by setting out to inform a new generation of readers about the horrors of the Nazi genocide. In my analysis of these texts, however, I want to consider whether we should assume that such works do necessarily perform a progressive educative role. The article argues that the blunt didacticism of Boyne's text might close down possibilities for the child reader's imaginative engagement with the ungraspable nature of the Holocaust. In contrast, Gleitzman's novels confront the child reader with a complex set of ideas about the relationship between narrative and subjectivity.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A