C. S. Baldwin's 'On Three Ways Of Writing For Children'

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“A tree grows because it adds rings; a train doesn’t grow by leaving one station behind and puffing on to the next.” This statement by C.S. Lewis, in his essay On Three Ways of Writing for Children, best describes the difference between growth and change, with growing meaning to add onto what was already there and the importance of change resting in replacing the old with something new. While coming of age is often defined by change, both James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain and Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding emphasize, instead, growth. Both authors do this through a number of their characters who face the ever-approaching expectations of adulthood, from Baldwin’s John Grimes to McCullers’s Frankie Addams. The first example of this comes in the form of John Grimes, the primary character throughout Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain. Prior to his 14th birthday, John, a reserved boy, is unsure of his faith and the direction he wants to take in life. Then on the night of his 14th birthday, when at church he falls to the ground due to God sending him a vision, and thus John is “saved.” After this John himself seems to have more confidence and faith, then at the start, though there is little evidence to say this is a change that lasts.…show more content…
Despite this, he still thinks himself entitled in his actions, only now as “the Lord’s anointed” (Baldwin, 252). Additionally, he gives into former habits when he sleeps with Esther several times despite his marriage to Deborah, another action for which he later feels he is no longer accountable for. What this illustrates is that rather than changing upon becoming a man, Gabriel simply gained experience and in some ways grew from them. He himself did not

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