2 Focus – Lecture 2 Jackie French Background to Hitler’s Daughter Structural and critical aspectsDistinctive features of this story as a family storyIssues with ‘Talking’ books
3 Jackie FrenchBorn Sydney in 1953, grew up in Brisbane, moved to her present home in the bush near Canberra in her early twenties.Is an active campaigner for environmental awareness and attitude change - Burke's Backyard, radio programmes, gardening columns in magazines such as Women's Weekly, Burke's Backyard, Earth-garden.Has written over 100 books in many styles – children’s picture books and novels, gardening and lifestyle, realist, historical, fantasy, mystery, thematic, humourHas won many awards across these genres
4 Jackie French - AwardsFlesh and Blood 2004 Aurealis Award: shortlisted for Young Adult novelRide the Wild Wind 2003 Patricia Wrightson Award: shortlistedDiary of a Wombat 2003 CBCA Picture BotY: Honour bookIn the Blood ACT BotYLady Dance Notable Book: CBCAStamp, Stomp,Whomp 2001 Notable Book: CBCAMissing You, Love Sara Notable Book: CBCAHitler’s Daughter Winner, CBCA BotY : Younger ReadersHow to Guzzle Your Garden 2000 Shortlisted, Eve Pownall CBCA BotYDaughter of the Regiment 1999 Shortlisted, CBCA BotY : Younger ReadersSomewhere Around the Corner 1995 Honour Book, CBCA BotY : Younger Readers, 1995 Family Therapists AwardWalking the Boundaries Notable Book, CBCA BotY : Younger ReadersThe Roo that Won the Melbourne Cup Notable Book, CBCA BotY : Younger ReadersBeyond the World of Light Golden Dagger Mystery Award
5 Background to Hitler’s Daughter StyleCharactersSetting
6 Background to Hitler’s Daughter Style Told in two time frames, one within the otherUse of flash back to distinguish historical/presentUse of Child’s voice and perspectiveNon judgemental – analysis is from characters, not authorial voiceProblem looking for a SolutionEnding left openPrincipal reference point is the present, with regular return to the past - serial of episodesStill maintains a simple linear chronological sequence in both stories - cf How to make a birdChild’s voice - Mark / Anna - but is Heidi’s story a child’s view of the world, or an adult’s judgement?Lack of overt authorial judgement similar to AsmirProblem looking for a solution - Mark’s questions help define the question for us. Inadequate answers help us appreciate more likely answersUnresolved ending - does Mark get his answer? Who is Heidi? Is she real?
7 Background to Hitler’s Daughter Characters (story 1) Children :MarkAnnaLittle TraceyBenAdults : parents and parent figuresMum & DadMrs Latter (bus driver)Mr McDonald (Teacher)Why is Ben left out of much of the story? Too cynical?How effective are parent figures as adult mediators?Mrs Latter - confidence in understanding but aware of limitsMr McDonald - teacher, but no answersParents - unsure of where questions might lead
8 Background to Hitler’s Daughter Characters (story 2) Child :HeidiAdults : parent figuresFräulein GelberFrau MundtDuffiFrau LiebIt may be a coincidence but …Gelb = yellow, Mund = mouth, Lieb = loveDuffi is standard form for familiar name, childish nickname in German
9 Background to Hitler’s Daughter Setting Story 1 - Country AustraliaWallaby Creek – bus stop, bus, home, schoolRain, ‘waiting’ timeStory 2 - GermanyCountry house, farmhouse, BerlinWar, ‘waiting’ for DuffiWaiting time between life events, deadlines, timetables, the things that are required of a child by an adultTherefore, trying to sort out beliefs, ideas etc. How old are Mark and Anna?Storyline is Passive and Reflective, not Active and Participatory. Key characters are observers.
10 Structural and critical aspects VoicePlot developmentTheme/sStory type – sub genres
11 Structural and critical aspects Voice Omniscient authorial point of viewBut two stories told:Mark’s story of the GameAnna’s story about HeidiEach story has a questioning voiceMark in story 1Heidi in story 2Omniscient, but not omnipotent. There are things that cannot be changed - cf yesterday’s tute discussion about artistic licenceWho is talking? Whose questions are being asked? Whose questions are being answered?Mark as questioner - opening pages about wet cows sneezing.
12 Structural and critical aspects Plot development Little action – i.e. activity and consequence as sequence of eventsFocus is on situation and on the re-action and inter-action of charactersStructure is gradual (guided) discovery and enlightenmentHistoric aspects may need scaffolding for less experienced readerScaffolding from author? From adult mediator for reader? From reader’s own background knowledge?Cf Asmir - Is it as necessary? That story is all action with little reflection
13 Structural and critical aspects Theme Nature vs Nurture ? Are we:the product of our geneticsshaped by our environmentor do we develop as a combination of many factors.The sins of the fathersCan a person be born ‘evil’?Choices and consequencesWar and Social Violence – should they be topics for children’s books?Did Hitler have a choice, or was he predestined genetically? Cf homosexuality ,or intelligence, or personality.If there is a genetic element, will that be passed on to future generations?Exodus 20: commandment about graven images “For I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God ,visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate meEvil is necessary to define Good. But are Good and Evil inherent and absolute conditions, or are they value judgements constructed for specific circumstances?Is a child born Good? Did Jesus have a choice?Appeal to children - is this a war story or a philosophical exercise? Who is the audience? Is this reading too much into a simple story of survival?
14 Structural and critical aspects Story type/sub genre Multiple genresFamily story: Domestic adventureHistoric realismStory within a storyAsks a ‘What If . . .’ question - conjecturalStory within a story - a technique often used in fantasy/epic stories though this story does not have other characteristics of fantasy fiction; indeed, the opposite is the case
15 Distinctive features of this story as a family story Main protagonists in both stories are all the ‘only child’ – relationship with ‘parent’ is keyDomestic settings – several, but each is important to its thematic situationLittle interaction with parents (and parent figures) who are not ‘all knowing’Child left to solve problem without adult interventionWhat do we learn about families? What does it tell us?Typical situation of many children’s stories in relation to absent adults and problem solving
16 Issues with ‘Talking’ books Advantages and disadvantages of this formatAction – talkImmediacy – distanceComparison – confusionPerspective & point of view - what appeal to child readerPlace in literature