The Functions and Variaties of Reward and Punishment in Contemporary Stories for chidren's literature

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For the study of children literature, reward and punishment are often found in contemporary children stories. Every reward and punishment that happens in the children stories must have their significances. Therefore, in this essay, I will focus on the functions and varieties of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories by using three contemporary children stories as the examples. I divided this essay into three parts. In the first part, I will explain the concepts of reward and punishment used in contemporary children stories for the study of children literature nowadays. In the second part, I will take a look at the varieties of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories by looking at reward and punishment used in three contemporary children stories and their purposes. In the third part, I will talk about the functions of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories.

PART ONE
The concepts of reward and punishment used in contemporary children stories for the study of children literature nowadays:
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, there are some basic concepts of reward: (a) something is given or received in recompense for worthy behavior or in retribution for evil acts. (b) A satisfying return or result; profit. (c) Money offered or given for some special service, such as the return of a lost article or the capture of a criminal.
In the study of children’s Literature, there are some advanced concepts of reward apart from the basic concepts above. Sometimes, positive psychological changes can be a reward, too, for example, a very bad child turning into a very nice child after going through some experiences. OR, someone who thinks life is very boring and meaningless, but after experiencing something, he/she thinks life is worth living. OR, someone who used to be very shy and timid, but after experiencing something, he/she became very confident and brave.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, there are two concepts of punishment: (a) the act of punishing (b) a penalty (as a fine or imprisonment) inflicted on an offender through the judicial and especially criminal process.
In children’s literature, the concepts of punishment are mainly the same as the basic concepts above. They refer to the examples: Some bad people who commit evil deeds and ultimately get punished for it. OR, someone who mistreated the others and got a very bad consequence.

PART TWO
The varieties of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories and their purposes: (Take three contemporary children stories as the examples)
In order to give a more concrete idea on the varieties of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories, I will take three contemporary children stories as the examples: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, The Hobbit by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I will elaborate the reward and punishment found in the stories and explain their purposes.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

In the following, there are the rewards and punishments found in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and we will see the purposes of their usages. For the reward, I divided them into true reward and false reward.

True Reward
- Charlie can own Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory and run the business at the end of the story.
Purpose: As we all know Charlie comes from a very poor
family. Although his family loves him, they do not spoil him (maybe they are not able to do so). So, he turns out as a very nice child. Therefore, the purpose of using this reward in this story is to tell children that if they stay as good children, they will get their rewards finally.
- Charlie and his family moved into Mr Wonka’s chocolate factory and live there instead of living in a decrepit house.
Purpose: As mentioned above, Charlie comes from a very poor
family and they are all living in a very decrepit house. So, it is a very big reward for them to move into such a big and wonderful factory (Although at first they did not believe it is true and they were not willing to move, they moved finally). In most of the children stories, poor but good people always get very good endings. Therefore, the purpose of using this reward is to tell children that even thought they are poor, it does not matter, as long as they are good enough, they can get the rewards in the end.

False Reward
- The four children (Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee) got the golden tickets for having a tour in Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Purpose: Although they all got the golden tickets to go into
Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory and have a tour, it is not really their rewards. It is because Mr. Wonka knows that they are spoiled and disobedient children, he uses this chance to punish all of them. Therefore, the purpose of using the false reward is to tell children that if they are not good enough, they need to think hard if they deserve the rewards or not, otherwise the rewards would finally not be good to them.

Punishment
- The four children got punished violently: Augustus Gloop got sucked up in the chocolate pipe, Veruca Salt was thrown down to the trash by the squirrels, Violet Beauregarde was turned to a blueberry and Mike Teavee was “TVed”.
Purpose: As we can see that the four children are all brats
and they are very disobedient. So, they all got punished by Mr. Wonka. The purpose of this punishment is to tell the children that not to be bad and disobedient children, otherwise, they will finally get punished, too.
- The four parents are punished psychologically after their children receive their punishments. Veruca Salt’s father even gets punished physically: He and his daughter were both thrown down to the trash by the squirrels.
Purpose: As we all know that the four parents are very
wealthy and they spoil their children a lot: Augustus Gloop’s mother lets him eat whatever he wants and buys him a lot of food; Veruca Salt’s father buys her whatever she wants and all she needs to do is request or order her father to do something and he will do it; Violet Beauregarde’s mother lets her to do whatever she wants and is always very proud of her daughter; and Mike Teavee’s father always lets him see TV and imitate the violent people in TV. However, after their children are punished, they are so frightened and seem like a little bit regretful. Mike Teavee’s parents even want to thrown the TV away. Therefore, the purpose of using this punishment is to tell the parents not to spoil their children and don’t give everything they want every time, otherwise they would turn out to be bad children and would be punished. On the other hand, the purpose of this punishment also wants to tell the children that if your parents are spoiling them, it is not a good thing because they will finally have bad results.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In the following, there are the rewards and punishments found in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and we will see the purposes of their usages. For the reward, I also divided them into true reward and false reward.

True Reward
- The four children won the victory in the battle with the White Witch.
Purpose: After fighting with the White Witch, the four kids
finally won the battle. In most of the children stories, good people always win and evil people always lose at the end of the stories. Therefore, the purpose of using this reward is to tell the children that good people deserve victory and evil people deserve lose. And if the children are good, they will win finally; if they are bad, they will lose ultimately.
- They became the royalties of the Narnia: Peter became King Peter the Magnificent, Susan became Queen Susan the Gentle, Edmund became King Edmund the Just and Lucy became Queen Lucy the Valiant. They ran Narnia for years.
Purpose: After killing the White Witch, everything became
better. Aslan assigned the four kids as the Kings and Queens of Narnia and ran Narnia for years until they get back to the wardrobe. Therefore, the purpose of using this reward is to tell the children to stay good and be just all the time, once they defeat the evil, they will finally get the greatest rewards they have never thought of. Also, things would turn good later on.


False Reward
- Edmund was given Turkish Delight by the White Witch.
Purpose: When the White Witch was trying to approach
Edmund, she always gave him some Turkish Delight in order to make him do something to her (e.g. bring his siblings to her so that she can kill all of them). Therefore, the purpose of using this false reward is to tell children that whenever some strangers ask you to do something, they need to think very deeply even thought the strangers reward them for the things that they want most. It also tells the children never to believe and work for the bad and evil people even though those people give them a lot of benefits, otherwise, the bad and evil people will just finally harm you or your family and friends because the evil people always work on their own purposes.
- The White Witch thought that she won the victory for the negotiations with Aslan about Edmund. But actually, she did not win.
Purpose: In the story, Aslan is killed by the White Witch
because of Edmund, but she had never thought that Aslan would rose from the dead the very next day. So, she did not win the victory actually because Aslan did not really die. The purpose of using this false reward is to tell the children that the evil people might get reward or win sometimes, but the final victory will never belongs to them. That might only be a false appearance.

Punishment
- The White Witch lost in the battle and died at the end of the story.
Purpose: After fight with the four children, the White Witch
lost and died finally. Therefore, again, the purpose of this punishment is to tell the children that good people always win and evil people always lose and even die. The final victory always belongs to the good people.
- Edmund was mistreated by the White Witch
Purpose: After Edmund brought his siblings to Narnia and the
White Witch heard that Aslan was coming to Narnia, she mistreated Edmund. Therefore, the purpose of this punishment is to tell the children that evil people will also treat the people that work for them very badly whenever they are angry and annoyed. It makes no difference how much you did for them, they will treat you so bad when they think the people work for them have no use anymore.

The Hobbit

In the following, are the rewards and punishments found in The Hobbit and we will see the purposes of their usages. However, no false reward is found in this story.

True Reward
- After taking the adventure, Bilbo Baggins thinks that he has been very brave and his life became more meaningful. It is a psychological change.
Purpose: After coming back from the adventurous journey,
Bilbo Baggins thinks that life is more meaningful and exciting. Therefore, the purpose of this reward is to tell the children that after they experienced something special in their lives (e.g. taking adventures), they would think lives are different and they can see something that they have never seen before. They would become more experienced, mature and brave.
- The dwarves won the victory and have the lands and the gold back.
Purpose: The dwarves’ lands and gold had been snatching by
the evil dragon Smaug for ages. However, they finally killed the evil dragon and got all their lands and gold back. Therefore, again, the purpose of using this reward is to tell the children that the evil side will always be defeated by the positive sides and the properties always belongs to their owners. Snatching is a disgusting attitude.

Punishment
- Gollum lose the magic ring and so, he couldn’t eat other creatures and people.
Purpose: As Gollum always used his magic ring to eat other
creatures and people (e.g. he attempted to eat Bilbo Baggins, but he failed). So, losing the ring is a punishment to it for eating other creatures and people. Therefore, the purpose of this punishment is to tell the children that do not do something that would harm other people or people around you, otherwise, they would get punish and lose the things or people that they treasure most.

- The evil and marauding dragon Smaug was killed.
Purpose: As the evil dragon always snatched the dwarves’
properties, it got killed at the end. Therefore, again, the purpose of using this punishment is to tell the children that evil people will always get the bad endings and they deserve punishments. Also, it also wants to tell the children that snatching is a very nasty attitude.

PART THREE
The functions of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories:

Lastly, we are going to focus on the functions of reward and punishment in contemporary children stories. The most important functions of the reward and punishment in the children stories are the didactic purposes (something that you want to teach the children after reading or listening to the stories). After seeing those rewards and punishments of the three contemporary children stories in part two, we can summarize those theories running in the children stories. Children stories’ writers always achieve their didactic purposes by pointing out those theories running in their stories. The theories and the didactic purposes are shown below:
(1) Good people are always rewarded and have good results.
(e.g. living very happily, have great achievements, have victories, etc.)
Bad people are always punished and have bad results.
(e.g. die at the end, encounter failures, lose in the battle, etc.)
Didactic Purpose: Always be a good child and good result would
come to you.
(2) Obedient children will be rewarded and have achievements in the end.
Disobedient children will be punished and have failures in the end.
Didactic Purpose: Be obedient to your parents and teachers
and you will get the reward, otherwise, you will just be punished.
(3) Poor but good children will be rewarded and succeed.
Rich but bad children will be punished and fail.
Didactic Purpose: Do not feel bad even though you are very
poor right now, stay good and you will get the reward finally.
(4) Never believe strangers or receive benefits from them.
Didactic Purpose: If you believe strangers and listen to them,
they will harm you or your family and friends.
(5) Never work for the evil people and make friends with them.
Didactic Purpose: If you work for the evil people and make
friends with them, you will not have a good result because they approach you just for their own purposes and they ask you to work for them just for their benefits. So, when they think you are useless, they will harm you or treat you very badly.
(6) Do not be greedy and snatch people’s things.
Didactic Purpose: If you are greedy and snatch people’s things,
you will build up a lot of enemies and they will defeat you and you will be punished. Besides, snatching is a very disgusting attitude, you should not do it.
By integrating the theories that run in children stories and the didactic purposes that the authors want to achieve by using reward and punishment in their stories above, we can see that the line between good and bad is very clear and it does not have a category in between the line. So, we can conclude that the purposes of most children stories are to teach children to be good, obedient and generous children. Besides, they teach us never to become evil people or make friends with evil people. Also, never trust the evil people and work for them. The main moral children stories attempt to convey to children is TO BE A GOOD PERSON.
Although we are living in a sometimes very cruel world and we adults all know that good people do not always get rewarded and bad people do not always get punished, we still want to give hope to children and do not want them to see the cruelty and unfairness of this world as they are so pure and are so new to this world. They are also our hopes for the future, so we would like to teach them to be good people and hope that they can change the world one day and everyone can live very peacefully in the future of the world. That’s why children stories are so important and why every child should learn from them as children.

Primary Reference List:
Dahl, R. (2005) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. London : George Allen & Unwin.
Lewis, C.S. (2005) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. London : Harper Collins.
Tolkien, J., R.R. (2001) The Hobbit. London : CollinsEducational.
Secondary Reference List:
Coveney, Peter. Poor monkey: the child in literature, London: Rockliff, 1957.

Glazer, J.I. (1997). Introduction to Children’s Literature. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Kibria, Nazli. (2002). Raising children with ethnicity, Becoming Asian American: second-generation Chinese and Korean American identities. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Green, W.H. (1995). The hobbit: A journey into Maturity. New York: Twayne Publishers.

American Heritage Dictionary, <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reward> Retrieved on November 25, 2006.

Webster’s Dictionary, <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/punishment> Retrieved on November 25, 2006.

3 留言:

say it as it is 說...

What're the rewards or punishments in red riding hood? why isn't goldilocks punished by the three bears? pulling a few movies together doesn't make a good essay.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Can't you choose a better story? Please don't post these crappy homework here, at least put something up as "庫爾德人", do some real research, this essay can't get a D out of a grade 12 paper.

我愛陳列品 說...

Really thanks for you comment.

Just to remind you that, THIS IS AN ESSAY. Not every essay in the world has no restrcitions, some of the essays DO have their restrictions. The stories that we can comment on this essay are assigned.

The list below is the assigned stories:

-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
-The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
-The Hobbit
-Secret Garden
-Harry Potter
-Haroun and the Sea of Stories

If you were me, what would you choose?? (You can choose three stories)

OH! If you can choose a better one besides Charlie and the Chochlate Factory from the above lists, you should be genius!!

THANKS, GENIUS!!

say it as it is 說...

well, I'm not a genius, yet still can't tolerate this piece of crappy work. First, you didn't pursuade me you've read the books. Second, it looks like a list of copied work, with all sorts of events dangling around. Third, your English is very much flawed. If you want to set a theme, such as punishment and reward, you have to put the works you choose together, comparing each piece side by side, instead looks like 3 piece of entire different work link together with a section head. This essay will probably get an A in 6th grade, a C in 11th grade, and a fail grade onwards. the restrictions in essays can be broken, the limitations here is your ability to write.