Chapter 9
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Chapter 9. By: In Alphabetical Order Tim Holten, Ben Ratchford, Patty Ringhausen. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. What Is Contemporary Realistic Fiction?. Includes plot, characters and setting and is consistent with the lives of real people in our contemporary world.

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Chapter 9 l.jpg

Chapter 9

By: In Alphabetical Order

Tim Holten,

Ben Ratchford,

Patty Ringhausen




What is contemporary realistic fiction l.jpg
What Is Contemporary Realistic Fiction?

  • Includes plot, characters and setting and is consistent with the lives of real people in our contemporary world.

    NOT that it is necessarily true, only that it could have happened

  • Requires plots that deal with everyday problems and situations that the reader can relate to.

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Values Of Realistic Fiction

  • Realistic stories allow children to identify with characters their own age with similar problems

  • Children discover that their problems are not unique

  • Extends children’s horizons by increasing their interest and allowing them to experiencenew adventure.

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Realistic Fiction Through Time

  • Late 19th Early 20th Century: Victorian Era - Emphasized traditional family roles

  • The 1960’s - More diverse content

  • The 1970’s - Themes such as overcoming fear and meeting responsibilities

  • 1990’s - mirrors social problems as well as changes in books because of past criticisms.

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Controversial Issues

  • Treatment of minorities, stereotyped roles of women, problems on contemporary society and profane language.

  • Realistic fiction has resulted in more controversy and censorship than any other genre.

  • Sexism, sexuality, violence, profanity and family problems are the topics

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Guidelines ForSelectingControversialFiction

  • Teachers must be aware of the subject that may prove controversial in their community.


    • Will the topic be understood by the students?

    • What merits of this book have influenced me to use it rather than another?

    • Is the book an acceptable model in terms of writing style and use of language

      Are my objectives in using this book educational defensible?

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Literary Element

  • Plot - person-against-self conflicts are common

  • Characterization – complex characterizations are common. They usually lead to self-discovery and personal relationship.

  • Theme – the underlying idea that ties the plot, characters, and settings together is strongly related to the needs of modern children.

  • Style – vivid description, believable dialogue, symbolism, figures of speech and other techniques which provide the reader with in-depth understanding of characters and situations.

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Subjects In Realistic Fiction

  • Family life- Books dealing with divorce, remarriage, single-parent families and child abuse can be helpful to a child who may be encountering any of these situations.

  • Growing up- Many stories can encourage children and help them get through hard times or appreciate the good times. Books about peer relationships, physical changes and emotional changes can also be helpful.

  • Survival- These books provide excitement to children. They can often relate to the daily struggles for survival. Some of the survival topics are: surviving in nature, surviving in inner-city reality and surviving a dangerous world.

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Subjects Continued

  • Death- death is a part of growing up. Realistic fiction can help children to understand and accept death and the accompanying emotions.

  • Male and female stereotypes- publishers have printed guidelines for eliminating sex stereotypes in literature. Some examples are: a balance of male to female characters, recognition that males and females have some of the same capabilities and emotions, and that women's historical contributions should be noted.

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Subject Continued

  • Physically different or disabled individuals- most children dislike standing out or being different. Literature that deals with this problem can comfort those who feel out of place and instill a conscience in those who are doing the alienating. This type of literature should deal with the physical, practical and emotional manifestations of the disabling condition. The story should provide honest and workable information about disabling conditions.

  • Elderly- the elderly are often depicted as being boring, lonely, mean and/or crabby. Books should show the elderly in a variety of roles.

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Animal, Mysteries, Sports, and Humor

  • Animals- the animals in realistic fiction have a strong sense of reality and sometimes tragedy. The animals should not have human thoughts or motives. The animals should participate in animal behaviors. Stories should encourage children to respond to the needs of animals or the need to love animals without being too melodramatic or sentimental.

  • Mysteries- mysteries provide escape and enjoyable reading because of their suspense. These stories should encourage children to think ahead and be creative, observant and imaginative.

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Sports and Humor

  • Sports- these stories rate highly with children. Many stories deal with fair play and the values of overcoming conflict.

  • Humor- authors tend to write about humorous situations that could happen to real people. They can allow the children to understand that life can be highly entertaining and is not always serious. Stories may encourage children to laugh at themselves and look at others in a different light. These books tend to be the most popular with children.

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Ideas For Involving Children In Realistic Fiction

  • Ideas For Involving Children In Realistic Fiction

  • Role playing- children consider a problem, contemplate possible actions of people in reaction to the problem and then act it out.

  • Bibliotherapy- books can be used to help children understand and cope with problems and situations in their lives.

  • Literature can help develop questioning strategies such as inference, evaluation, literal recognition and appreciation.