chapter  3
12 Pages

On the Image of Children and the Three Stages of Transformation in 100 Years of Chinese Children’s Literature

Cary wrote stories about the mythical village of Clovernook throughout her life, with another bearing the same title in 1853 and a third collection specifically aimed at young readers, Clovernook Children, in 1854. This attempt, which gained only a small audience compared to her first two Clovernook collections, reveals Cary's concern for articulating the lives of young people. Cary's importance was initially recognized by feminist scholars who valued her blunt authenticity, autobiographical candor, and narrative skill. In prose as direct and unadorned as a log cabin, Cary creates lifelike, believable narrators who take readers into the thoughts and feelings of otherwise inarticulate children. And adolescents as they observe their peers, parents, and other adults were striving to maintain home and family in the unforgiving and culturally impoverished Ohio frontier. By depicting outright physical abuse and emotionally disturbing experiences with premature death, loneliness, and uncaring or absent parents, Cary looks forward the more naturalistic treatment of children in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.