Sunday, October 31, 2010

My TMA is finished, and sent! :)

I was really relieved to see the back of my TMA during the week, and I don't think I've worked as hard on one as I did this - much to the bemusement of my hubby who, while used to my absentmindedness during TMA time, had it in spades this time!

Because I've spent the last two years dealing with Creative Writing courses, I'd got out of the habit of writing a purely literary essay, and so I was double, and triple, checking everything to make sure it was as exact as I could make it - especially the referencing at the end!

This meant more concentration, which meant more tiredness for me, with my health problems, and my hubby often came into the room to find me fast asleep in front of the laptop. Lol

But, it's all over and done with now, so I have a week or so to wait and see how well, or not, I've done with it. :)

In the meantime, it's on to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Half way through the first block.

I'm amazed at how quickly these first two weeks have flown past already, and have just had my first face-to-face tutorial, which has been a huge help in getting things straight in my mind, and has got me ready to do my first TMA (Tutor-marked Assignment).
I started off, not absolutely sure of which option to choose but, now that I've worked further into my Block 1 activities, I've definitely chosen option 2 to work on: this is about the development of the fairy tale, with Little Red Riding Hood as the main subject matter.

The course has surprised me somewhat, in that we are dealing more with the history, and ideologies, of children's literature, rather than the books themselves. 
We are investigating how, and why, children's literature developed, and how we, as adults, view the whole subject of childhood: how childhood has been perceived throughout history, and what is considered 'suitable' reading for children, depending on the social ideologies prevalent at the time a book is published.
In order to do this, we need to read the books that are listed for the course and, while some of them have delighted me, others have made me quite uncomfortable in their frankness, with Junk, by Melvin Burgess being one, and Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin, which moved me deeply in a different way,  another.
I guess that this is a positive thing in it's way, as it makes me question why I reacted to each book as I did, and so I am delving deeper into the reasons that a book is published in the first place; whether it is deliberately written for the shock factor, or whether the author wishes to address certain problems or issues that we are having to deal with as a society.
What is perceived as a 'good' book for children is another topic we are looking at, and how the ideologies of different groups in society influence what becomes popular with both children, and their parents.

There is a real prevalence today for stories dealing with magic, witchcraft, vampires, and various subjects around these themes, and I can't ever imagine my mother allowing me to read these books when I was a child, mainly because I had such a vivid imagination that they would have given me nightmares but, what is unsuitable for one generation, or for individuals, becomes the norm for another, and this is where personal ideologies fit in with the choices we make in our reading matter.

I, personally, saw no problem in my daughter enjoyed the Harry Potter and Northern Lights series when they first appeared, and saw her enjoyment as a way of encouraging her to read more but, as I had always taken them more as adventure stories with moral overtones, rather than dwelling on the subject matter of magic, wizards, and alternate universes, there was no conflict for me.
I admit that I still see no problems with reading, and enjoying, the books as, to me, they are something  I always see as a 'ripping good yarn' - stories that, for me, deal with the fight between good and evil, and how we cope with all the many grey shades in between. 

To some, the books would be seen as having to be avoided, especially as they deal with the subject of sorcery, but I guess that, when it comes down to it, each person must examine their own heart, and conscience, as to what they consider okay to read, and it is certainly not for me to say what is, or isn't, the 'right' kind of books for children to read - I leave those decisions to the people that matter - the parents, and the children themselves.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

And we're off . . .

Today I start my new course - officially, that it!

I actually started reading through the Study Guide last Saturday, just to see what was what, and it got me so interested, I started doing the activities.
They aren't easy, and I had to resort to the dictionary a couple of times but, so far, I'm really enjoying it!

For this first block, my choice of reading material is either J. K. Rowlings' Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone or Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, so I re-read the two. 
But, having enjoyed both so much, I couldn't resist going on to read the rest of both series, and now I'm using all that time, when I lay there not sleeping, in a more constructive way, by finishing off the Harry Potter series, now that I've read the Dark Materials trilogy.
I've always had a problem with leaving books alone if they are part of a series, I just can't leave it at the first book, but have to continue on until I complete the whole series, otherwise it nags and nags at me until I do so {grin}
This means that, rather than the 14 books on the list, along with the Peter Pan DVD, I'm now reading quite a few more, as I've also got the rest of Philip Reeves' Mortal Engines series. Lol

One thing I am sure of, I'm going to have a job deciding on which option to choose for my TMA 01 - it's Harry Potter or Northern Lights for Option 1 - or Option 2 is to do with Little Red Riding Hood, one of my favourite childhood stories - help!