Norma Fox Mazer

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Gary H. Paterson

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Credibility of plot is essential [in a realistic novel]. In Norma Fox Mazer's depiction of old age in A Figure of Speech …, Jenny tries to protect her grandfather from being sent off to a nursing home. The actual portrayal of the home is a fine caricature of the stereotype of efficiency at the cost of personal identity that persists even to-day, but caricature is not realism. Quite obviously, the plot depends upon saving grandfather from the nightmarish nursing home, so the novelist's solution is to create an inappropriate one. To me, this is an example of realism cheating. (p. 30)

Gary H. Paterson, "Perspectives on the New Realism in Children's Literature," in Canadian Children's Literature: A Journal of Criticism and Review (Box 335, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1H6K5), No. 25, 1982, pp. 26-32.∗

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