The Writer and His Universe in Classical Literature for Children: Challenges of the process (“Wealth of the Sun” by M.M. Prishvin)
Peculiarities of mastering awareness in culture and linguistics by means of reading classical literature for children are investigated. The ideas by A.A. Potebny, A.F. Losev, Y.I.Mineralov, I.G. Mineralova are the foundation of the research. Basic philological concepts of the work are the internal structure of words, toponyms, and linguistic analysis. The investigation is based on Programs of multicultural education, the Concept of multicultural education development in Russian Federation, the Concept of personality spiritual and moral development in education, the Concept of a citizen of Russia training, the multicultural component of the Program on spiritual and moral development at primary school, etc. Searching approaches to "Wealth of the Sun" by M. M. Prishvin (1945). Respect for the traditions of Russian culture, folk customs are achieved by means of fabulous pieces in literature with an ambivalent subtitle “a true fairy tale” and the key to understanding the different layers of the text is the analysis of the inner structure. It is convenient to talk about the folklore origins of many images, the title "Wealth of the Sun" allows talking about human values and correlate them with the values of ethnic, religious (Christian), social groups. The names of the heroes of the "Wealth of the Sun" reveal the essence. Toponyms in the text allow us to perceive the characters’ path as a way of a Man in General. The inner structure of the words is very important. For example, Bludov swamp depicts another correlation layer – of the plot with the Parable on the Prodigal Son.
The aim of the research is definition of child-addressed literature potential for teaching culture
and language in a multicultural educational environment.
The study is based on the approaches to literature analysis by A.A. Potebnya, A. F. Losev, Y. I.
Mineralov, I. G. Mineralova. The key concept is the doctrine on the internal form of the word by AA
Potebni. The doctrine has a new interpretation in the works of an outstanding contemporary philologist
Y. I Mineralov in "Theory of imaginative literature": it is "inherent in every semantically holistic
speech sample", is "the image of an image "when" its own image is born for any general idea (the
image of the idea, the internal form)". In the literature for children, such "general idea" could be the
idea of a man's course of life. The reader differently contemplates the meaning of life, its vector at
different ages, stages of personality development. In the works created for children, this life journey is
indicated from the very beginning. It is introduced with lullabies, having ritual significance, with
stories about the Universe and man's place in the world. Examples are a fairy tale "An Egg", or
"Speckled Hen", from the analects "Russian Fairy Tale" by A. Afanasyev, providing knowledge on the
mysteries of the world, or solar myth in the fairy tale "The Gingerbread Man." We can find them in the
textbook "Literature for Children" by I.G. Mineralova (Mineralova 2002, 2016).
We have already written about the "global continuity" personification in the works for children,
including human life in the Christmas story, for example, the story "Vanka" by A.P. Chekhov
Reflections of the writer on the man’s personality, his life journey can be classified as "global
continuity" category, which may be called "the picture of the world» by scientists. In literary studies
the concept of "archetype of all human beings» is stated). This "global continuity" can be called "a man
and the universe", which is correlated with the outlook of the artist about himself and the world.
Referring to reading, a teacher or a tutor takes into consideration the multicultural society the
teacher should be prepared to work in and teach.
Nowadays, there are Programs on multicultural education, The Concept on multicultural education
in Russian Federation, the Concept on moral development and education of the Citizen of Russia;
modern studies include the multicultural component, introduced in the Program for moral development
and education at primary general education, and others.
The authors of the draft of the Concept on development of multicultural education in Russian
Federation, discussed on the official website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian
Federation, consider the Constitution of Russian Federation, Russian Federation Laws and other
documents as a basis for their Concept. Among the documents are: Russian Federation Laws "On
Education", "On Higher and Postgraduate Professional Education", "On the languages of the people of
the Russian Federation"; the Concept of the state national policy of Russian Federation; the Concept on
Russian education modernization for the period up to 2010; the National Doctrine of Education in
Russian Federation for the period up to 2025.
Contemporary Higher education is concerned about future teachers’ preparedness to their work in a
multicultural environment doctrine, in the dialogue of cultures in multiethnic groups. A group of
researchers justifies the approach to the dialogue of cultures by means of personality development in
foreign language education, speak of "the situations and events design, developing emotional and value
spheres of the child" (Andronova, 2016). Literary works have considerable potential for teaching
culture and language, for the development of emotional and value spheres.
The works for children by Russian writers would be accepted in their entirety, by working with
different layers of meaning and involvement of the reader into multicultural interaction takes place.
Let us consider approaches to the text, using an example "Wealth of the Sun" by MM Prishvin
The Program on moral education clearly indicates the purpose of personality development and
education, including the following:
Communion to the family values;
Communion to the values of the child’s ethnic, religious, and social groups;
Communion to the universal values in the context of child’s identity as a Citizen of Russia,
directing the educational process to raise children in love for the Motherland and respect for
the cultural and historical heritage of his people and his country.
The author's point of view on the world, his meaning of the "global continuity" and the human life
journey is the core of many literary works. In the work "Wealth of the Sun" by M.M. Prishvin, as it is
manifested at different levels of the text, might be understood by readers in their own way at different
stages of their life. The way of the text perception might vary from a naturalistic (natural science)
approach to the recognition of the lyrical-philosophical plot of the work.
"It is a myth that provides the universal artistic way of the world cognition in works by M.M.
Prishvin, and semantic depth and fullness of the myth creates the background for the emergence of
fantastic storytelling" (Borisova, 2004:10)
Communion to family values becomes possible through working with the images system. The main
characters are orphans, Mitrasha and Nastya - a brother and a sister, on their way from their strife at
Bludov Swamp to retrieving love and harmony. The possible meanings of the swamp name –
fornication, heresy and stray, divagation – is necessary for understanding.
Respect for the traditions of Russian culture, folk customs, might be conveniently formed by means
of identifying fabulous component in the work by M.M. Prishvin subtitled as tale-by lina.
We can speak about the folk origins of many images, such as the opposition of trees, a pine and a
spruce, as a symbol of life and death, and of birds, a capercaillie, performing courtship ritual, and a
crow with its traditional semantic connection with the world beyond the grave. A careful reading of
fragments of the text reveals the artist's particular point of view on the world, his gift of recognizing
sacred in ordinary (profane) events, and expressing it in details in the text. This is the way of "global
continuity" crystallization: here, there are two types of Nastya’s and Mitrasha’s gender behavior, and
the route from discord to harmony and peace, and their stray in Bludov Swamp in search of material
wealth -peat, cranberries, and spiritual treasures - love as a value.
Analyzing the title "Wealth of the Sun", we can speak of human values and relate them to the
values of ethnic, religious (Christian), and social groups.
The characters’ names in "Wealth of the Sun" reveal the essence: Nastya, the short for Anastasia,
‘risen, regaining human flesh’, is the Golden Chicken; Mitrasha is "The Peasant in the Bag"; the same
about the Travka dog: here is an interesting nickname transformation of “zatravka”, a seed, into
“travka”, grass; the Grey Landowner wolf; the old master, Antipych, ‘persistent, overbearing’.
Toponyms in the text, Bludov Swamp, Palestinka, Dry River, Blind Elan, allow us to perceive the
characters’ way as the global way of human beings. Bludov Swamp expresses an environment of
human life, emphasizing the context of the long history of this place. In parallel with the history of
humanity, and the epochs and generations succession, the formation of peat in the swamp went on.
Obviously, the swamp is correlated with common cultural metaphor on human life, “sea everyday”.
The oxymoron “Dry River” depicts life limitation in terms of human existence on the Earth and
incognisability of eternal life. The desired goal is Palestinka, apparently from the name of the Holy
Land. That is where children are looking for the material wealth, peat and cranberry, and attain
spiritual values, and the inner structure of any word is of great importance here. For example, Bludov
Swamp "suggests" another layer of the story, related to “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”. You can
find the features similar to this parable:
•Arrogance and pride or Mitrasha; greed for Nastya;
•leaving home and returning home, the feature common to a fairy tale;
•stray without any communication with his father, ‘ancestors’: Mitrasha relies more on a
compass needle, than on the path through the swamp, marked with grass Belous, ‘gray
mustache’; this path leads him to the edge of life and death;
•Tangible and intangible treasures: the material wealth as a legacy, and finding family and love
as a true value in the parable, and a fairy tale;
•The acquisition of the family as a value;
•Repentance as a condition for the return;
•A high level of generalization: the story of a man in general, of the way of the human civilization.
This image of a human life journey in “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” is of universal character,
"global continuity", confirmed with the words by St. John of Kronstadt: "Everyone can see himself in
“The Parable of the Prodigal Son”, as in a mirror."
It is working with the inner structure of the word and the internal structure of all literary work, that
allows us to present the work in the multicultural environment in its fullness of meanings, contribute to
language acquisition and provide perception of the text by readers, adequate to author's intention,
getting pleasure from reading and meeting Russian culture. That is the possible way to understanding
of the writer and the artist, who sees clearly the life journey through difficulties, obstacles, to the "great
human verity", which is "everlasting true stern struggle of people for love", referring to M.M. Prishvin.
Andronova, R.E., Mezhina, A.V., Romashina, S.J., Semjanikov, S.N. (Moscow, Russia). Dialogue of cultures in personality developing foreign language teaching // Dialogue of cultures. Culture of dialogue: in search of advanced socio-humanitarian practices. Proceedings of the First International Scientific and Practical Conference April 14-16 2016. M.: MCPU, 2016. – p. 471-475.
Borisova, N.V. Mithopoehtika unity in the philosophical prose Prishvin.Elets, 2004. – 227 p.
Borovskaya, E.R. Literary education in multiethnic classes of modern elementary school // The multicultural environment as a factor of development of initial literary education and teacher training: Materials of the international scientific-practical conference of teachers and students (February 16th 2012) – М., 2012. – P. 287-293.
Borovskaya, E.R. Story A.P. Chekhov's "Vanka" in the context of psychological anthropology // Yearbook of scientific and methodological seminar "Problems of psychological and pedagogical anthropology": Collection of scientific articles. – M., 2010. – P. 107-112.
Mineralov, J.I. The theory of art literature (poetics and individual style). – M., 1999. – 360 p.
Mineralova, I.G. Literature for Children. M.: 2002, 2016.
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18 December 2019
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Cite this article as:
Raymondovna, B. E. (2019). The Writer and His Universe in Classical Literature for Children: Challenges of the process (“Wealth of the Sun” by M.M. Prishvin). In & R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education - IFTE 2016, vol 12. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 259-263). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.07.41