The Story of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction for Children Essay

May 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jan 12th, 2021


Suzanne Rahn, in her article “An Evolving Past: The Story of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction for Children” of 1991, described how the historical fantasy novels proved to be so essential in the historical years. Despite the success experienced by the fiction writers in historical years before World War II, Rahn in her article explored the failures of English writers regarding the fiction novel. However, due to high demand of the fiction books by children, current English writers have embarked in fiction writing with reference to the historical fiction novel.

Main Body

In her article, Rahn portrayed the efforts inputted in reconstructing the past. For instance, she explained on how Scott attracted the attention of young children by writing historical fiction novels. In addition, according to Rahn, Scott ensured that he had advocated historical aspects by writing non-fiction novels such as “Kidnapped” with the goal of presenting the real people, real events, and consequences that young children experienced in the past while struggling for their rights.

Rahn in her article also outlined the role of women in regenerating the past. She expressed on how women crossbred the past and the present through feeding young individuals with stories. According to Rahn, through the stories told to the young children by the old women, the children ended up intermingling the past cultures and forces with the current cultures of the world.

Rahn also used symbolism to express her views about the historical novels. For instance, in the novel “The Time Machine” by Well, the travelling of the children to the past according to Rahn symbolized the quest for civilization anticipated by the writer through the children to overcome experienced cruelty and oppressions. However, Rahn in her article warned young children against the spirit of adventure. She related the death of many young children to the quest of adventure during historical world.

According to Rahn, “Grandfather’s Chair” a title for Hawthorne’s novel was also symbolic. Rahn argued that through the topic “Grandfather’s Chair”, Hawthorne succeeded in making young children develop a sense of belonging and desire for heritage. At the same time, Rahn argued that the Hawthorne, in writing his novel, fixed fiction and non-fiction with the aim of attracting the attention of young children into loving his piece of writing.

According to Rahn, some of the historical novels expressed some vital roles played by young children. For instance, she outlined the theme of survival in her study of Harriet’s novel. She supported her point by explaining the responsive roles played by young children left as orphans.

Rahn also viewed the past historical stories used as baits in involving children into participating in some community responsibilities. For instance, she explained on how young girls participated in revolution wars in the past.

To capture the attention of young children, Rahn argued that most of the historical writers such as Yonge and Scott wrote romantic stories, which they knew to be loved by young children. According to Rahn, the audiences of most historical writers were young children, and historical writers could do anything to capture their attention.

Some of the historic novels also aimed at recruiting young children into army indirectly. For instance, Rahn argued that Henty wrote a historical novel with the intention of acquainting young boys with military personality. She later explained on how Henty became jovial after succeeding in coaxing young children into military.

Rahn argues that some of the historical writers chose to reflect most of their writing to children with the intention of correcting the past through introducing some values of the past through their writing to young children. Most of the writers also used pictures to help children create imaginations of the past to revise instead of rejecting it.

2. Kidnapped is a historic fiction novel written by a Scottish writer, Stevenson. Just as Rahn reflected in her article, it was written in 18th century to young boys with the aim of passing information about the historical and political situation of Scotland. The novel is all about a young boy, a stylistic device used by the author to capture the attention of young children. The novel reflects on how helpless David at the age of 13 managed to escape and came into contact with Alan in the ship, showing the children responsibility in rescuing themselves from the past, theme portrayed by Rahn in her article as demand for civilization.

The novel supports Rahn’s views on how children undergo troubling situation in fighting for their lives. The novel further reflects on how David ended his captivity on the ship by stumbling together with Alan into new adventures, supporting the views of Rahn about the orphans’ problems in the historic times. Surprisingly, David was running away from the police because of the accusation of murder by his uncle.


On the other hand, many of the escapades that David encountered were well caused by his naivety and too much confidence. For instance, David walks into his uncle’s home with the courage that he can handle him only to end up in a trap, a situation explained by Rahn as quest for adventure of children in intermingling the past and the present. In the sea, David also risked his life; he shipwrecked almost losing his life.

Works cited

Girouard, Mark. The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman. New Haven: Yale UP, 1981. Print.

Marryat, Frederick. The Settlers in Canada. 1844 rpt. London: J.M Dent, 1909. Print.

Stevenson, Robert. Kidnapped. Victoria: Arc Manor LLC, 2009. Print.

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