Interpreting Literature with Children

By Shelby A. Wolf | Go to book overview

1
Critical Perspectives

“Salutations!” said the voice.

Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-wbat?” he cried.

“Salutations!” repeated the voice.

“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”

“Salutations are greetings, ” said the voice. “When I say 'salutations, ' it's just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning. Actually, it's a silly expression, and I am surprised that I used it at all. As for my whereabouts, that's easy. Look up here in the corner of the doorway! Here I am. Look, I'm waving!”

At last Wilbur saw the creature that had spoken to him in such a kindly way. Stretched across the upper part of the doorway was a big spiderweb, and hanging from the top of the web, head down, was a large grey spider. She was about the size of a gumdrop. She had eight legs, and she was waving one of them at Wilbur in friendly greeting. “See me now?” she asked.

“Oh, yes indeed, ” said Wilbur. “Yes indeed! How are you? Good morning! Salutations! Very pleased to meet you. What is your name, please? May I have your name?”

“My name, ” said the spider, “is Charlotte. ”

“Charlotte what?” asked Wilbur, eagerly.

“Charlotte A. Cavatica. But just call me Charlotte. ”

“I think you're beautiful, ” said Wilbur.

—White (1952, pp. 35–37)

When Charlotte's Web was first published, Eudora Welty (1952) reviewed it for The New York Times Book Review and declared it “just about perfect. ” As one of America's most famous women writers as well as a noted critic, she should know. Still, I'm tempted to cross out the “just about” and settle with

-9-

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Interpreting Literature with Children
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Prologue: Engagement Beyond the Edges of the Earth 1
  • I - Salutations! Learning About Literature *
  • 1 - Critical Perspectives 9
  • Books for the Professional 40
  • 2 - Literary Elements in Prose & Poetry 44
  • Books for the Professional 87
  • II - Ways of Taking from Literature *
  • 3 - Talking About Literature 93
  • Books for the Professional 128
  • 4 - Culture & Class in Children's Literature 131
  • Books for the Professional 164
  • 5 - Gender in Children's Literature 167
  • Books for the Professional 195
  • III - Ways of Doing Literature *
  • 6 - Interpreting Literature Through Writing 201
  • Books for the Professional 222
  • 7 - Interpreting Literature Through the Visual Arts 225
  • Books for the Professional 252
  • 8 - Interpreting Literature Through Drama 255
  • Books for the Professional 281
  • Epilogue: How like the Mind 284
  • References 290
  • Credit List 306
  • Index 309
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