Discuss the effects of Francis Spufford's 'The Child that Books Built' on readers of Ian Serrialer's 'The Silver Sword'

Essay by JoekiltyUniversity, Bachelor's January 2004

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Francis Spufford, in The Child That Books Built, shows how fictional books play a key role in the development of a child into adulthood. The title suggests that, for children who are 'addicted' to reading, it is books that form the adult they become. Spufford's book shows reading to be a retreat from the real world to a more interesting and adventurous place. He tells of how for him reading was the ultimate form of escapism from his challenging childhood during which he witnessed his sister's torment by a rare genetic condition that left her poised at the point of death. Spufford states that 'Bridget's fragility made the whole world fragile.' Spufford realized that with books he could be transported to a world of solidity. He explores how the child's absorption of the notion of storytelling gives an insight into the realms of child psychology. Embedded in the analysis of Piaget, Chomsky and Bettleheim are his precise descriptions of the feelings and sensations that occur within a child whilst lost in the world created by the author.

The book which extracted from me the feelings and sensations described by Spufford was Ian Serraillier's The Silver Sword. I can recall having to leave the book and longing to go back to reading it again. The book made me feel warm inside, it gripped me in a way no other book had. I was engrossed by the sense of adventure and can recall laughing out loud at the humour. At the same time, I remember the despair I felt for their situation and the relief at the books happy ending. It was only at a later stage of my childhood, when I studied World War II in History, that I realised the underlying impact the book had on me. I...