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Parental Role in Children's Books - Page 2

post #21 of 24

I don't mind the absent parent theme to a certain extent, especially in a fantasy book.  I think if it is a well crafted book..fine.  If it is just a lazy hook for a TV show...not so much.


It bugs me more in TV shows....I think one of the reasons the show iCARLY bugs me.  It bugs me less if it is a cartoon type show, where you might not see the parents but you assume they are there, as opposed to a real life type show.  My kids are too old for Max and Ruby...but I have seen it a few times and so have they. I had mixed feelings...mostly liked it, but you'd think there would be times where the parents would intervene


There was a show on a few years ago...maybe on Disney channel, where it was a blended family and the parents seemed sort of checked out of the situation and the girl on the show had to deal with the challenges of having a stepbrother who was almost her same age and was a total jerk, with almost no intervention from the parents.  I hated that show. 

post #22 of 24
Originally Posted by AislinCarys View Post

I prefer this a lot to some themes, found in other books, where parents just don't notice what the kids do, kids go off on adventures, and then get punished when the parents find out. Can't think of any titles right now, but will come back to it

I've seen this more in TV...where the parents seem sort of detached until there is consequences.


post #23 of 24

Absentee/deceased parents have been a key part of stories for time out of mind.  Greek myth is filled with heroes who had been banished by their fathers.  Orphans, nephews and nieces, cousin, stepdaughters, these make up the bulk of adventure literature since before the stories were written down.  With adversity comes redemption.  Joseph Campbell would have seen it as the great human myth.  He loved Star Wars-- Luke never knowing his father, raised by his Aunt and Uncle who are then killed, freeing him free to embark on a risky adventure (which was greatly symbolic to Campbell).  I'm curious what he would have said about Harry Potter and His Dark Materials.


All that said, some stories do really get to me.  While I find Pippi Longstocking fun and amusing (you get to see her through the eyes of the children next door) I really can't stand Matilda for the same reasons mentioned in this thread.  For Roald Dahl's stories, I much prefer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, surrounded by a loving family.  (Though-- guess what?  in the movie version his father was long gone.)  In the place of awful family, Charlie is surrounded by an entire society of awful people--adults and children both.  

post #24 of 24

Not only did I LOVE books about orphans and other parentless adventuring types as a kid, my sister and I lived in a total parentless fantasy-land.  We were intense about our pretend play and almost always chose either "orphanage" or "boarding school" or "summer camp" themes.  I think in some way there was a pathos that we found appealing.  I feel like as a kids we often feel alienated from adults, and crave attention from our parents that they probably can't give us. To me, the parentless child stories fill up this void. 

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