Last term Eleanor Dolphin of Transition Year received a Commendation for her fine comparative Extended Essay entitled 'Life-Altering Journeys Through Childhood', which ambitiously examined three novels: Dickens's David Copperfield, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, and J.G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun.
In her introduction, she explains:
Childhood, for me is a delicate fragment of glass. It shines so bright and pure and yet it can strike out with a vengeance and cut the bearer of it to pieces. It can be pulverised and manipulated, but not without effort. A child is pure, optimistic even in the most hopeless of cases. Encased in their own world they are a shining beacon of hope, unaware of the world’s harsh realities. Their instincts are razor sharp and usually correct, yet their beautiful naivety allows them to be made vulnerable by people who have no boundaries.
I think that a child is like a complex sponge, in that they absorb the smallest things occurring around them and are influenced immensely by what they experience. Nine times out of ten, if a child encounters some drastic event or something similar, then they will have this dragging along behind all the way to adulthood, as if they’re suspended on chains. An adventure to a child can range from the most insignificant event to the most spectacular occurrence.
Some children go through life-altering journeys and are changed, sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse.
Read Eleanor's full essay here.