- Editor: Tara Prescott
- Title: Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century
- Published: 2015
Essay: What Neil Gaiman Teaches Us About Survival (M. Miller)
Essay: Remembering the dead: narrative of childhood (R. Long)
I read 2 essays commenting on Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
I plan to read this book very soon.
Commenting on essays that are works on a single book by Neil Gaiman is not easy!
How do you review a review?
What is the narrator in Gaiman’s the book trying to do?
The narrator is trying to survive his traumatic childhood.
Essay nr 1:
Monica Miller tells us that the child uses creation and imagination to survive.
Creation here is the art of cooking and sewing (domestic arts)
that give the boy a sense of comfort and security at Hempstock farmhouse.
He has lost the feeling of being safe in his violent home (abuse).
The Hempstock ladies – grandmother, mother and daughter
help the narrator relive, restore and recover from his trauma.
They seem magical to the young boy!
Essay nr 2:
Rebecca Long tells us the nucleus of childhood is imagination and memory.
Children construct childhood as they go along.
Childhood is not only lived experiences but stories and narratives other than their own.
The narrator is constantly trying to figure out what was ‘lived’ and what was ‘imagined’.
Child is caught between the inner (imagination) and outer world (reality).
His trauma can only be resolved through a cycle of remember, retell what he has
forgotten….only then to forget it again.
Do the essays have anything in common?
Both essays emphasize the importance of imagination in a child’s life.
Rebecca Long’s essay was good but didn’t appeal to me.
She relies on quotes by philosophers
Trigg and Warnock, Hollindale and literary theorist Frye to support her views.
Tone: academic, helpful, knowledgeable
I enjoyed essay nr 1 because it felt more polished and personal
Monica Miller referred to many lovely quotes
from the book. and also used Neil Gaiman’s famous speech
‘Make Good Art’ as the backbone of her essay.
Tone: sincere, intelligent, creative