Infantile literature has always been a subject of literary and psychological research, mostly due to its rather controversial nature. The main peculiarity of such literature is that it looks at the world through the eyes of a little child, who is unprejudiced in his judgment. Authors, who write in this style, have to cope with a very difficult task: they have to place themselves into the position of a child. They have to perceive the world from his point of view and that presents great difficulties to them.
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In this essay, we will discuss the books “Journey to Topaz” by Yoshiko Uchida and “Sarah Plain and Tall” by Patricia McLachlan. It is of utmost importance to analyze the means that these authors employ to affect the reader and what impact it has on our imagination.
Speaking about “Journey to Topaz” by Yoshiko Uchida we must first mention that the events described in this novel are based on true facts from the authors experience. Even the outrageous shooting of an old man Mr. Kurihara is real incident, which occurred in Topaz. The author skillfully depicts historical events, which altered lives of many innocent people.
Overall we can say that the book has three settings: first, it is Yukis cozy house in Berkeley, then comes the camp near the Tanforan Race Track and the final setting is the camp at Topaz. The authors shows that striking contrast between Yukis house and the two camps. At the beginning, the author creates that homely atmosphere of their place: she depicts the nice garden and the fishpond that the family has. The news that the family is going to be interned is something entirely inconceivable. If we compare this place with the camp in Topaz, the difference between them will be incredible: constant dust storms, a building that has never been plumbed. Yukis father does not want to believe it he says “‘It’s a terrible mistake, of course, It must be the work of a fanatic. That is, if it really happened.’ (Uchida, 2005).
The authors tries to show all these changes through Yuki for whom all this rudeness and brutality is entirely abhorrent. Nevertheless, in spite of every obstacle the main character remains good-natured and open for other people.
As far as the “Sarah, Plain, and Tall” is concerned, we can say that its plot evolves around a farmer Jacob Witting a person who is bereft of his wife, he finds it very difficult to take care of his children. Patricia McLachlan focuses attention on the themes of abandonment and loneliness. Speaking about the setting of this book we should take into account that the author does not give any particular details as to the location, thus it is difficult to pinpoint it. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to say that the action takes place in the great American Prairie. The main character becomes homesick because she cannot get accustomed to the prairie because it cannot a substitute the Maine seashore. The girl takes colored pencils and paints the beauty of a sea (McLachlan, 1999).
Thus, we may arrive at the conclusion that in these two novels the main emphasis is placed on the contrast of different settings and the way people get adjusted to the new conditions of life.
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McLachlan P. Sarah, Plain & Tall. Novel Units, 1999.
Uchida, Y. (2005). Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation. Donald Carrick.