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Historical Fiction Historical Realism Tells a story that never happened but could have happened.

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Fiction Historical Realism Tells a story that never happened but could have happened."— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Fiction Historical Realism Tells a story that never happened but could have happened

2 Important Points 1.It can breathe life into what people may have considered irrelevant and dull. Makes the time period come to life. 2.It implies that the present is a part of the living past. The struggles we face today are a part of the struggles people have faced before. 3.It helps readers get a feel for a time period. (History textbooks don’t help readers make personal connections with the past.) 4.History should not be sugar-coated. 5.Historical accuracy is required to give the flavor of the time. Stories that convey a sense of nostalgia are usually inaccurate. Anachronisms reduce verisimilitude. 6.Readers usually see history through the eyes of young protagonists.

3 History in context In what context is history presented? As growth (more common in American ChLit) –We’re climbing toward improvement –We have problems because we’re making progress –Things are getting better. We are better people than people in the past. –Work toward making the world better in the future (Number the Stars, p. 137) As cycle (more common in European ChLit) –History repeats itself –We don’t always learn from the past –We are no better than our parents –Things will return to normal (Number the Stars p. 132) –Rose Blanche: the seasons.

4 History as a social corrective There’s been a move in the last 20 years in Western historical literature (America especially) to make themselves look bad. A historical corrective. Use of literature to admit wrongdoing. Helps to alleviate guilt. (native peoples, slavery, racism) Perhaps reading, studying, and thinking about racism can help to solve the problem.

5 Accuracy Nostalgia is tempting, especially in literature for children, but it is opposed to accuracy. Factual accuracy vs. generalized accuracy. –Which details can be changed and which cannot? –We can check the dates to see exactly when the Nazis were in Denmark and when the call came to round up the Jews. –Details about King Christian X and the general political situation. –See Number the Stars “Afterward” ( ) Historical novels used to educate and teach The best education we can get is from our own social culture –Compare Number the Stars with Taiwan’s White Terror Writers of historical fiction need to watch out for anachronisms.

6 Anachronism (ana=against, chron=time) The utilization of an event, a person, object, or idea in a time when that event, person, object, or idea was not in existence. In a movie of the ancient Romans, the people cannot be wearing blue jeans, wrist watches, or glasses. In Number the Stars, Annemarie cannot talk about using to keep in contact with Ellen. We often get more of the values of the author’s culture than the values of the culture being written about. We see the old culture through the lens of the modern author. Many aspects of feminism, individualism, democracy, various political and religious ideas are fairly recent. A strong-willed, independent young woman in a story set in medieval Europe is anachronistic. But literature that more accurately reflects the ideas of the times, may also be criticized as racist or misogynist.

7 Values Value statements are embedded in every work. What values do different characters have? And which values does the text support and critique? Loyalty to friends and neighbors Strong family relationship. Honest communication Parents show obvious affection toward children. Normal people can be brave; heroes. Storytelling is good. Lying can be useful, but be honest too. Men and women can be equally courageous Peaceful resistance is better than fighting. Cleanliness is good. Children should focus on studies. Ellen missing school.

8 The German Occupation of Denmark

9 Amalienborg Castle Copenhagen, Denmark

10 King Christian X and Queen of Denmark

11 King Christian on horseback

12 King Christian on Horseback again

13 Kronborg Castle

14 Kronborg castle again

15 The Danish Coast The coast of Denmark north of Kronborg castle. The opposite coast is Sweden.

16 The Beginning of the Occupation On April 9, 1940, the German invasion lasted for two hours. Sixteen Danish soldiers in the battle. (In Number the Stars, the invasion happens in late August p. 31) The Danish cabinet surrendered to Germany "under protest“ to avoid further bloodshed. Germany had a much bigger army with more modern weapons. The Danish army was small and used old equipment; partially to avoid antagonizing Germany. German troops, carrying rifles and wearing overcoats, march into the Danish city of Aalborg on the first day of German occupation.

17 Danish resistance A group of Danish soldiers on the morning of the German invasion, on April 9, Two of these young men were killed later that day.

18 Danes hear terms of Nazis in 1940 Much of the world couldn’t understand the seeming lack of resistance to the Nazis. Some thought Denmark's Social Democratic government had sided with Germany.

19 A boat used for ferrying Jews Denmark was the only occupied country that actively resisted the Nazi regime's attempts to deport its Jewish citizens. On September 28, 1943, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German diplomat, secretly informed the Danish resistance that the Nazis were planning to deport the Danish Jews. The Danes quickly organized a nationwide effort to smuggle the Jews by sea to neutral Sweden. Warned of the German plans, Jews began to leave Copenhagen, where most of the 8,000 Jews in Denmark lived. When the roundup came, hardly any Jews were found! Within a two-week period fishermen helped ferry 7,220 Danish Jews and 680 non-Jewish family members to safety in Sweden.

20 One of the fishing boats used The rescue of Danish Jews was very risky. This is one of the boats used by a rescue group code- named the “Helsingor Sewing Club.” The escape route they provided enabled several hundred Jews to escape across a narrow strait to the Swedish coast. On each trip, the boat carried Jewish refugees. Kiaer himself was betrayed and arrested in May 1944 and spent the rest of the war in a concentration camp.

21 Map showing rescue routes

22 The Danish rescue effort was unique because it was nationwide and supported by the government. Still, almost 500 Danish Jews were deported to Czechoslovakia. Yet even of these Jews, all but 51 survived the Holocaust, largely because Danish officials pressured the Germans with their concerns for the well-being of those who had been deported. The Danes proved that widespread support for Jews and resistance to Nazi policies could save lives. Source:

23 Kings of Denmark and Sweden after the War Original caption: Royal Reunion in Denmark. Copenhagen, Denmark: This photo, taken in Amalienborg Castle, was made at the first meeting of the Danish and Swedish Kings since Since that time Denmark was occupied by Nazi forces until its recent liberation. Seated, left to right, are, Queen Alexandrine, of Denmark, King Gustaf, of Sweden; King Christian of Denmark; Crown Princess Ingrid and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. Other members of the two royal families are shown in background.


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