Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Realistic Teenage Fiction with a Sex-Related Theme: Readers' Responses to Slinger-Slinger by Francois Bloemhof/Realistiese Tienerfiksie Met 'N Seksverwante Tema: Tienerlesers Se Reaksie Op Slinger-Slinger Van Francois Bloemhof

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Realistic Teenage Fiction with a Sex-Related Theme: Readers' Responses to Slinger-Slinger by Francois Bloemhof/Realistiese Tienerfiksie Met 'N Seksverwante Tema: Tienerlesers Se Reaksie Op Slinger-Slinger Van Francois Bloemhof

Article excerpt

Abstract

Realistic teenage fiction with a sex-related theme: Readers' responses to Slinger-slinger by Francois Bloemhof

Francois Bloemhof submitted his novel for teenagers, "Slinger-slinger" for the Sanlam competition for youth fiction in 1996. Eventually this prizewinner in the beginners' category was published in 1997. The main theme of "Slinger-slinger" is the sexual awakening and identity of teenagers.

A study was undertaken to obtain the opinions of teenage readers about the success of "Slinger-slinger" as a whole, as well as to gauge the success of integrating sexual aspects in this novel. The study also served to obtain information about the reading needs of teenage readers with regard to realistic teenage fiction and teenage fiction with a sex-related theme.

The findings of the study underlying this article indicated that the participating teenage readers regarded "Slinger-slinger" as successful and interesting, and that they would like to read more realistic Afrikaans teenage fiction such as "Slinger-slinger".

Key concepts:

reader reception: teenagers/youth/young adults/adolescents reading preferences and reading needs of teenagers sex/sexual abuse/homosexuality in youth fiction

Opsomming

Realistiese tienerfiksie met 'n seksverwante tema: tienerlesers se reaksie op Slinger-slinger van Francois Bloemhof

Francois Bloemhof het sy tienerverhaal "Slinger-slinger" in 1996 voorgele vir die Sanlamwedstryd vir jeuglektuur. Hierdie jeugverhaal was 'n pryswenner in die beginnerskategorie vir jeuglektuur en is in 1997 gepubliseer. Die hooftema van "Slinger-slinger" is die seksuele ontwaking en identiteit van tieners.

'n Studie is onderneem om die menings van tienerlesers oor "Slinger-slinger" in die geheel, maar veral oor die outeur se hantering van seks-verwante temas byeen te bring. Die leesbehoeftes van tieners aangaande realistiese Afrikaanse tienerfiksie en tienerfiksie met 'n seksuele tema is ook deur die studie vasgestel.

Die studie wat die grondslag van hierdie artikel vorm, het bevestig dat die deelnemende tienerlesers dit eens was dat "Slinger-slinger" 'n suksesvolle en interessante tienerboek is, en dat hulle meer realistiese Afrikaanse tienerfiksie soos "Slinger-slinger" sal wil lees.

Kernbegrippe:

leesvoorkeure en leesbehoeftes van tieners lesersresepsie: tieners/jeug/adolessente seks/seksuele misbruik/homoseksualiteit in jeugfiksie

1. Introduction

In this article the reasons for a readership study of Francois Bloemhof's teenage story Slinger-slinger is briefly outlined. Subsequently, readership studies is defined in order to provide the angle from which the initial study was undertaken. The research methodology is outlined and the teenage readers' perceptions of Slinger-slinger are also discussed in this article.

1.1 Background

In 1996 Francois Bloemhof's novel for teenagers, Slinger-slinger (winding or swaying), was a prizewinner in the beginners' category of the Sanlam competition for youth fiction. This Afrikaans book was probably acclaimed because of the open manner in which sensitive issues such as hetero- and homosexuality, promiscuity, divorce, incest, tense family relationships, and drug- and alcohol abuse are portrayed. The main issue dealt with in Slinger-slinger is teenage sexuality, in particular sexual awakening and the identity forming of teenagers.

In 1998 sensational media reports were published in which upset parents, teachers and other adults protested against the inclusion of Slinger-slinger in the ATKV's (Afrikaans Language and Culture Society) Children's Book Award, category 13-15 years of age. Two conflicting opinions about Slinger-slinger could be distinguished: one group was of the opinion that the sex-related theme and explicit language use were not suited for teenage fiction, while another group supported the view that teenagers need to read about realistic real-world issues in order to prepare them for life. …

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