Intimacy in Crisis: Family Dysfunction in Israeli Literature for Preschool Readers

  • Einat Baram Eshel
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter addresses how family crises are represented in Israeli literature written for young children. The foundation for the discussion is the assumption that the bulk of children’s literature bestows a false conception of “family” by obscuring its repressive, authoritarian aspects and accentuating the image of happiness, security, and belonging. However, this chapter points to a trend in Israeli literature observed since the 1980s: the publication of works for young children that seek to expose the repressive aspects of family life. In particular, they are stories based on the absence of intergenerational communication and the presence of emotional stress or even parental neglect. These stories present a sober, critical view of the high-powered traditional institution that, in children’s literature, is traditionally perceived as animagined, organic, almost-idyllic system, which in fact it is not. Even though the publication of such works in Israel coincides with similar trends worldwide, it is not a self-evident occurrence, given the character of Jewish-Hebrew culture, which sanctifies family life. This chapter discusses two works of children’s fiction, by Nurit Zarchi and Meir Shalev, that address the tension that arises between adult intimacy (husband and wife) and intergenerational intimacy (parents and children).

Bibliography

  1. Adar-Bunis, Mattat. Families in Social and Anthropological Perspective. Ra’anana: Open University Press. 2007 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  2. Alston, Ann. The Family in English Children’s Literature. New York: Routledge. 2008.Google Scholar
  3. Bar-Hillel, Gili. “A Lion in the Nights.” Just One More Page. October 12, 2004. https://gilibarhillel.wordpress.com/2004/10/12/%D7%90%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%94-%D7%91%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%AA/. (accessed January 28, 2016) (in Hebrew).
  4. Bar-Yosef, Rivkah. “Introduction.” In Families in Israel. Ed. Rivkah Bar-Yosef and Leah Shamgar-Handelman. Jerusalem: Academon Press. 1991. 1–7 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, Pierre. “On the Family as Realized Category.” Theory, Culture & Society 13 3 (1996): 19–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheal, David J. Families in Today’s World: A Comparative Approach. New York: Routledge Press. 2008.Google Scholar
  7. Darr, Yael. “When Mothers and Fathers Roar in the Nights.” Haaretz Online. September 13, 2004. http://www.haaretz.co.il/literature/1.999165 (accessed January 28, 2016) (in Hebrew).
  8. Darr, Yael. “Inter-generalization Dependencies in Modern Children’s Literature: The Israeli Case. ” Olam Katan: A Journal of Children’s Literature Study 3 (2007): 13–30 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  9. Elkad-Lehman, Ilana. Alone She Weaves: Reading Nurit Zarchi. Jerusalem: Carmel. 2006 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  10. Friedman, Ariella. Anny Oakley Won Twice: Intimacy and Power in Female Identity. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Press. 1996 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  11. Keren-Yaar, Dana. Women Authors Write for Children: Postcolonial and Feminist Reading in Hebrew Children’s Literature. Tel-Aviv: Resling. 2007 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  12. The Love of Mothers and The Fear of Fathers: Rethinking the Israeli Family. Ed. Aviad Kleinberg. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press and Keter. 2004. 76–105 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  13. Nave, Hanna. “The Heart of the Home, the Source of the Light: The Portrait of the Family in Modern Hebrew Literature.” (2004).Google Scholar
  14. Nikolajeva, Maria. Aesthetic Approaches to Children’s Literature: An Introduction. Oxford: Scarecrow Press. 2005.Google Scholar
  15. Nodelman, Perry. “The Other: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Children’s Literature.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 17.1 (1992): 29–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Peres, Yochanan, and Rugh. Katz “The Family in Israel: Change and Continuity.” Families in Israel. Ed. Rivkah Bar-Yosef and Leah Shamgar-Handelman. Jerusalem: Academon Press. 1991. 9–32 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  17. Protocol “Literature for Young Children—Is There a Need to Protect Children from Negative Content?” Protocol of the Meeting of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, 16th Knesset of the State of Israel. March 22, 2005 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  18. Rose, Jacqueline. The Case of Peter Pan or: the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction. London: Macmillan. 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sacerdoti, Yaakova. Together and Separately as Well: On the Child and the Adult Addressees in Children’s Literature. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Press. 2000 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  20. Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. New York: Harper & Row. 1963.Google Scholar
  21. Shalev, Meir. My Father Always Embarrasses Me. Illustrations: Yossi Abolafia. Jerusalem: Keter. 1988 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  22. Shalev, Meir A Lion in the Nights. Illustrations: Yossi Abolafia. Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers. 2004 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  23. Voletzky, Galli. “The Lion Cried a Lot.” Globes Online. May 4, 2005. http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=909733 (accessed January 28, 2016) (in Hebrew).
  24. Wallerstein, Judith S., Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee. The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. New York: Hyperion. 2000.Google Scholar
  25. Zarchi, Nurit. “The Little Horse that Flew.” The Tiger Under the Bed. Illustrated by Avner Katz. Tel Aviv: Massada. 1976 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  26. Zarchi, Nurit. Miligram. Illustrations: Roni Taharlev. Tel Aviv: Miskal—Yediot Aharonot Books and Chemed Books. 1997 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  27. Zipes, Jack. Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter. New York: Routledge. 2002.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Einat Baram Eshel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Beit Berl CollegeKfar SabaIsrael
  2. 2.Levinsky College of EducationTel AvivIsrael

Personalised recommendations