Different representations of child and childhood reflected in books.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My guess is that you will find many examples of how childhood is seen in literature. In my mind, the most lasting representations of childhood through literature are where seemingly transcendent life lessons are brought out through the lens of the innocent child. For example, E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” helps to bring out the lasting impression of sacrifice and standing up for the people (or animals) that prove worthy of such loyalty. It is told through a lens of the most pure form of childhood where farm animals talk and experience consciousness as an adult human. The life lesson taught is one that is perceived through a childlike simplicity. This becomes ironic to a great extent because while childhood simplicity, the lesson itself is quite profound. This same experience is seen in A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” series. When Pooh and Christopher Robin wonder if they will be friends for “100 years” and then some, it is an expression of the longing, the loyalty, and the profound innocence of the childhood narrative. This representation of childhood is one where values are transcendent and doing the right thing and being the right person are not very difficult, but rather easy to do. It is in this light where childhood is expressed and to the child, the vision is quite easy to embrace. It is only as we get older that this conception becomes more elusive, and where there becomes a chasm between what is and what should be