Family, School and Nation: The Child and Literary by Nivedita Sen

By Nivedita Sen

This seminal paintings examines the concurrence of adolescence uprising and conformity in Bengali literary texts (including grownup texts), a pertinent but unexplored sector, making it a primary of its type. it's a research of the voice of kid protagonists throughout children’s and grownup literature in Bengali vis-à-vis the associations of kinfolk, the schooling approach, and the nationalist circulate within the ninenteenth and 20th centuries.

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In situations of even lesser privilege, schools like the one kept by Mr Wopsle’s great-aunt in Dickens’ Great Expectations cater to those who cannot afford a more modernized education. Its virtually single and semi-literate schoolteacher lives a hand-to-mouth existence, simultaneously selling her wares and teaching children. Dickens describes her tongue-in-cheek as a ridiculous old woman of limited means and unlimited infirmity, who used to go to sleep from six to seven every evening, in the society of youth who paid two pence per week each, for the improving opportunity of seeing her do it.

A constant pressure was exercised over students to conform and mould their temperaments in accordance with the same model. Writing about childhood within the framework of schooling systems, other detractors of rigorous school curriculums have also disapproved of the classifying or grouping inherent within the ‘modern’ school. Philippe Aries, in Centuries of Childhood, defines the school class, the fruition of a taxonomical enterprise that assumed a decisive form only by the beginning of the seventeenth century, as a stage in the progressive acquisition of knowledge (to a curriculum), to an average age from which every attempt is made not to depart, to a physical, spatial unit, for each age group and subject group has its special premises (and the very word ‘class’ denotes both the container and the contents), and to a period of time, an annual period at the end of which the class’s component changes.

A bird, in a cage very little bigger than himself, makes a mournful rattle now and then in hopping on his perch, two inches high, or dropping from it, but neither sings nor chirps. There is a strange unwholesome smell upon the room, like mildewed corduroys, sweet apples wanting air, and rotten books. (82) Mr Creakle of Salem House in David Copperfield is ‘a small hop-dealer in the Borough, and had taken to the schooling business after being bankrupt in hops, and making away with Mrs. Creakle’s money .

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