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The Master Students in Children's Literature Meet Here
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PostPosted: 10 Jul 2012 22:57 
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The uncanny nanny and her ways of educating children


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PostPosted: 10 Jul 2012 22:58 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2012 22:22
Posts: 11
Mary Poppins is presented in the book as "The Great Exception", "Her" , the nanny brought by the wind together with her umbrella and magic carpet bag. Together with her, the fantastic intrudes in the life of the children opening for them a world of wonders.
She travels around the worlds with the children, she tells them odd stories (like the episode with the cow), she introduce them to her "funny" uncle, with her help the children dream of being in a Zoo during the night. All these situations are uncommon and in consequence, children put a lot of questions while experimenting them. In respons, Mary Poppins sniffs or answers grumpily:

Quote:
He is called Mr Wigg because Mr Wigg is his name. And he doesn’t wear one. He is bald,” said Mary
Poppins. “And if I have any more questions we will just go Back Home.” And she sniffed her usual
sniff of displeasure.


She is not there to provide answers for them but rather to provide them experiences. She is a promoter of "learning by doing" method, in which experience and doing are central. She takes this method to extremes, by not providing the children a debriefing, letting them find one by themselves. Children got provoked by such an attitude and the wonders they were exposed by her and got familiar and close with her .

All the way reading Mary Poppins I was asking myself whether all the miracles that happen in the book are not metaphors for dreams, imagined situations, role-playing, lies, that could explain the story as being reality; but then, other episodes came to contradict my hypothesis (for example for the scene with the Match Man, when Mary is going with him in the drawings I couldn't find a corelative in the real life). All this hesitation (in the reader) is the definition of fantastic literature given by Todorov.


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