Scholars of childhood and child-centered education draw attention to the multiple accounts of the child that have attended its brief history. In this article I read George Orwell’s ‘Such, such were the joys’ as a demonstration of the contradictions inherent in our notions of childhood, but also as a possible model for understanding how conflicted definitions of childhood contribute to the modern subject’s sense of identity. Following Orwell’s claim that he can hold two contradictory accounts of his childhood because ‘these happen to be my own memories’, I demonstrate his reliance on well-established ideas about childhood that are clearly not his own, but that nonetheless shape the way he understands his own childhood. Developing the inherent opposition between these two strands of thought on the child, I argue that holding both at once allows the modern subject to maintain a sense of self against the othering forces of formal education.
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DOI 10.1080/00131857.2013.781493
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Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia.Julia Kristeva - 1989 - Columbia University Press.

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