Original Research

Enriched and empowered: nature’s influence on the psyche in two Afrikaans youth novels

S. Meyer
Literator | Vol 30, No 2 | a77 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v30i2.77 | © 2009 S. Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 July 2009 | Published: 16 July 2009

About the author(s)

S. Meyer, Faculty of Education Sciences, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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Abstract

In this article two Afrikaans youth novels are analysed in order to determine to what extent nature and elements of the natural environment can influence a child’s experience and view of life. In “Gamkab” (Betsie van Niekerk) and “Om ’n kierie te keer” (Pieter Pieterse) their natural surroundings expose the characters to challenges and adventures which form a context in which their ways of thinking are challenged and stimulated. This develops their ability to make decisions and solve problems, thereby broadening their life experience and developing their life skills. Theories on reader identification are used to argue that stories like these have the potential to expand and develop reader consciousness. These novels are of importance to the South African child of today, because they introduce various contemporary issues, such as entrepreneurship, social responsibility and multicultural interaction. In identifying with the characters, the reader is confronted with pertinent topics such as peer pressure, teenage insecurities and fears, and problematic family relationships. From the analysis of the novels, which focuses on the enriching and reinforcing contribution of nature, it is apparent that through nature’s challenges the characters are empowered to overcome their problems and improve their personal circumstances. This foreshadows the potential empowerment of the reader.

Keywords

Influence Of Nature On The Human Psyche; Pieter Pieterse; Om Kierie Te Keer; Reader Identification; Betsie Van Niekerk; Gamkab; Youth Novel

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