Through the eyes of the child - a study of some classic novels of childhood

Ref: C2226696

We shall look at the following novels or extracts: Charles Dickens's 'David Copperfield' Chapters 1 to 14 and 'Great Expectations' Chapters 1 to 19. Mark Twain's 'Huckleberry Finn' with some comparison with 'Tom Sawyer'. Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. Richard Hughes's 'A High Wind In Jamaica' and William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. If there is time, we shall also consider Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' and the narrative voice in Ian McEwan's 'Atonement'. We shall consider the relevance of setting and time of writing and, where it may be relevant, something of the author's biography, but the main focus of each study will be the narrative voice and the author's skill and degree of success in entering into the mind and seeing through the eyes of the child.

Additional information about this course

Half term break on 17/02/2020

Course aim

This course will explore a number of novels of childhood, comparing narrative techniques; some told in the first person, some in the third, discussing how successfully the child's viewpoint is communicated in each, and differences in tone & impact..

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Assess the study of the narrative techniques employed in any novel with greater confidence, understanding and enjoyment.
  • Compare Dickens's conscious use of memory in 'David Copperfield' to recall the past and his dramatisation of past events to recreate them in the present in 'Great Expectations' with the ways in which Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Hughes and Golding enable us to share the consciousness and imagination of their child protagonists.
  • Discuss how these authors enable the reader to share the child's perception of and responses to society and the world of the adult.
  • Compare Twain's ironic presentation of adult society and the slave culture through the conflicted mind and conscience of Huck in 'Huckleberry Finn' with Lee's presentation of prejudice and bias as seen through the eyes of Scout, moderated by the influence of Atticus, in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
  • Discuss the portrayal of the behaviour of children in groups in 'A High Wind in Jamaica' and 'Lord of the Flies' in the context of the tension between the Romantic, Wordsworthian, view of the child born innocent and the Judaeo-Christian belief in Original Sin and the ideas of modern psychologists.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will need to prepare for the course by reading or (re-reading) the principal novels and extracts specified. It will be useful to have printed copies of the text to bring to the class.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

Through the eyes of the child - a study of some classic novels of childhood

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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