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Examine the ways in which Penelope Lively establishes the worlds of childhood and adulthood in 'Going Back'.

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Examine the ways in which Penelope Lively establishes the worlds of childhood and adulthood in 'Going Back' Jane retells the book 'Going Back' for us, and how she, now an adult with a family of her own, is looking back into her childhood memories, she has had to revisit Medleycott, as now her child home is being sold. She recalls her childhood memories of Medleycott, where "all summers are one hay making and raspberry time" and "all winters are one scramble across glass-cold lino to dress quickly." Jane and her elder brother, Edward, live a peaceful life in the country. Their misunderstood father has been sent away to fight in the war and they are loved and cared for by Betty, their motherly figure. The children's mother died whilst they were young and their father finds it difficult to understand their innocent childish ways. This shows us a strong border between the adult and children world. Lively has also displayed this border through Jane's different perspective, how her images of live have changed now she is an adult. Lively has expressed this by describing the different characteristics belonging to child and adult, the different ways in which they speak, the differences in their languages and how adults and children both enjoy different surrounds. ...read more.


The children see the war in the one-dimensional view that children do. They take every thing they hear literally, basically believing anything that they have been told. Jane and Edward do not understand the seriousness of the situation around them; all they have noticed is that "the war put an end to Betty's Saturdays at the cinema. There was a war on, so you couldn't have lots of sweets anymore, just one sixpenny bar of chocolate a week, and no more oranges or bananas." Jane and Edward are not worried if they get a chocolate bar or not, they have their garden to play in, it is natural and simple, they don't understand why the Adults are worried. The adult world is a very materialistic and ordered world, and they care about what will happen and that everything has to be right. His is similar to when Jane and Edward become intrigued with "the words that crackle through Betty's wireless in the Kitchen at breakfast." Jane gently chants the words that she hears in the morning, "Immunization and evacuation and mobilization and Immunization and evacuation and mobilization," Jane doesn't understand what she is saying but she is trying to sound older by saying the words that an Adult might say, children often try to do this as they want to sound and be older than they are. ...read more.


Both Jane and Edward are distraught when Edward is sent of to Boarding school, he becomes lifeless and Jane feels like a part of her is missing, she cries for days and days. Yet neither of the children are affected by the loss of their father, they do not have a particular strong relationship with him, so they do not miss his presence when his is gone. Lively has portrayed this border because she wants to show the difference between both worlds. How children have this pure simple natural image of things yet Adults show a more complex, structured, geographical way of thinking. I think that one of her aim with this book is to show the reader that once you've become an adult and passed that border that have lost that childish charm and innocence that you will never be able to regain ever again. She has done by contrasting the children with the adults within the book and also the contrast of Jane's perspective for when she was a child and as an adult. Some people say that Lively is writing about the childhood she simply dreamed of. She was brought up as an only child, with no friends. Maybe this is how she would have liked her life to be. ...read more.

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