Discuss, comparatively and contrastively, the treatment of one of the following themes (childhood and youth) in relation to at least four short stories studied during the course, showing how particular fictional elements examined during the course contribute to the handling and effectiveness of the theme. Do not write on stories discussed in your seminar paper.
The short stories discussed within this paper are; I want to know why by Sherwood Anderson, The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence, The Grave by Katherine Mansfield and My Son The Fanatic Hanif Kureishi. These short stories are all associated through the theme of childhood and youth and can be comparatively and contrastively discussed by using this theme as well as different fictional elements. .
Sherwood Andersons, I Want To Know Why', like Mansfield's The Grave' are stories about unaware children, and their entrance into the world of knowledge and truth via the process of initiation and sudden awareness. I Want To Know Why' is told from a first person point of view where the sensitive narrator is trying to comprehend the meaning of the epiphany that's what I'm writing this story about. I'm puzzled. I'm getting to be a man and want to think straight and be O.K. Comprehending and trying to understand can similarly be seen in The Grave', where Miranda, like the narrator in I Want To Know Why', is still trying to come to terms with a shocking image and a powerful incident that altered her innocent way of thinking about life forever because of a sudden and unexpected awareness of another dimension of life. .
The use of First person narration in I Want To Know Why' is very helpful in establishing the theme of childhood and youth as it gives the reader the first hand account of how a trip to Saratoga changes a young boys outlook on life forever, by forcing him to lose his naivety and become aware of how good and evil can be so intimately entwined.