Throughout the novel children are presented frequently. From the beginning of the novel we are told of Clarissa’s inability to conceive children. However Joe turns his attention to the many God children that Clarissa has, thus the space that not having children has left is filled with these godchildren. The fact that Clarissa and Joe cannot have children is poignant as Clarissa believes that Joe would make a good father “she would tell me I have good way with children”.
On page 118 we can see this as Joe is able to talk to children as adults and not in a patronising way.Even he is aware of this, as is shown in the example of Clarissa’s God child, as he was thinking of leaving school at the age of 15 and Joe managed to talk him out of it. From the beginning of the novel we are presented with childhood, as the death of Harry in the ballooning incident, this presentation makes it more poignant, as the child is presented as weak and incapable and worthy of being saved. At certain points within the novel adults behaviour is described as being child-like.
“Sometimes your like a child”, this is suggested by Clarissa who is commenting on Joes behaviour. So occasionally behaviour conduced by adults can be interpreted as childlike. Childhood is presented as sombre as there are a few points in which are sad in terms of childhood. At one point Clarissa had travelled up to Manchester as her friend’s baby had died, this is presented as helpless and upsetting, as the death of the baby had deeply affected Clarissa and made her upset, thus childhood is a significant part of the novel as they provide sources of emotions.Children also remind adults about childhood. We see in chapter 14 that Joe is reminded of his childhood when seeing the Logan children “I see myself through that child’s eyes”.
Through this we are presented with the view that childhood is meaningful, valuable and significant. We also learn that Clarissa lost her father at the age of 12, so the moments that she had shared with him are significant and valuable, these were in her childhood.Throughout the novel children are able to provide answers as we see in the case of the Logan children, as when Joe goes to visit them we see that Rachel and Leo provide Joe answers and remind Joe of a scientific experiment and this had then in turn reminded him of Jed and at that moment Joe diagnosed Jed with De Clerambault. , this diagnosis makes Joe happy as he is able to explain Jed behaviour through the way he like using science “a clear trumpet sound”. Joe even explains this happiness in comparison to the job that he had not got as a professor.From the time that Joe had visited Logan’s house it had bought back memories of childhood and this made him think and he enjoyed playing with the children. Throughout the novel it is childhood is presented with poignancy, as it reminds the reader of the inability of Joe and Clarissa to have children.
Also the children such as Harry, Rachel and Leo bring memories to the characters in the book and these memories are valuable and important to them. Thus children are presented as of key, as the incident would not have taken place if Harry had not been in the balloon; also Rachel and Leo jog Joe’s memory and remind him of the illness.