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Catching Them Young vol.2

Political Ideas in Children's Fiction

Bob Dixon

Chapter 4. The Supernatural: Religion, Magic and Mystification

References and Notes for Chapter 4

Select Bibliography & Recommended Booklist

Some time in 1648, Gerrard Winstanley fell into a trance and heard a voice saying to him, 'Worke together. Eat bread together; declare this all abroad.' He went about, telling people of this and other `revelations' and also had them published in his `little book', The New Law of Righteousness. `Yet', he tells us, `my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted.' So he gathered together a little band of like-minded people and they went and dug and planted the common lands on St George's Hill, near Kingston in Surrey and built huts there to live in. They were the first Diggers. After growing harassment, which included the destruction of their crops, tools and huts, some were finally arrested and, in about a year, it was all over with nothing but Winstanley's pamphlets to tell the tale.

A few years later, God spoke to John Bunyan and said, `My grace is sufficient.' Still, Bunyan, who was worried about the state of his soul, was not satisfied and prayed to God to add `for thee'. Eventually, God told him three times, `My grace is sufficient for thee.' The story can be read in the tortured pages of Grace Abounding.

These two examples show the two opposite tendencies in Christianity which have been present throughout its history : Winstanley, who was a very religious man, always putting forward (121) his social criticism in biblical terms, looked outwards to the world around him; Bunyan looked inwards. Grace Abounding is a spiritual autobiography and although he wrote it with the intention of helping others, it's possible to see the years recorded there - his early life up to the age of about thirty - as years spent wholly in self-absorption. Later, he wasn't so preoccupied with himself but he never moved from the inner landscape of the soul, so forcefully presented in The Pilgrim's Progress.

Although this book wasn't written specifically for children, it was widely read by them and although, even allowing for different tastes in earlier times, some parts of it they must have found boring, it's easy to see how other parts, for example the battles with various giants and Christian's encounter with the fiend Apollyon, could capture the imagination of quite small children. Apart from this, there were few books likely to attract children in the latter part of the seventeenth century and fewer still were deliberately written for them. Up to the present time, this book has continued as one of the most steadily popular works in English. Also, as Robinson Crusoe did for imperialist fiction, Pilgrim's Progress can provide us with a kind of blueprint for the whole genre of religious fiction.

Towards the beginning of the story, the Interpreter shows Christian around his house, pointing out various pictures and activities all of which have a symbolic or allegorical meaning. In one room, the Interpreter shows Christian :

two little children, each one in his chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and of the other Patience : Passion seemed to be much discontent, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, What is the reason of the discontent of Passion? The Interpreter answered, The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year; but he will have them all now : but Patience is willing to wait.

Then I saw that one came to Passion, and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet : the which he took up and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to scorn. But I beheld but awhile, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left him but rags.

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Then said Christian to the Interpreter, Expound this matter more fully to me.

So he said, These two lads are figures : Passion of the men of this world, and Patience of the men of that which is to come; for, as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year, that is to say in this world; so are the men of this world : they must have all their good things now, they cannot stay till next year, that is, until the next world, for their portion of good.'

Bunyan, having chosen the ancient form of the allegory by means of which whole areas of abstract meaning and ideas can be represented clearly and concretely, doesn't leave it at that. In this passage, within the overall allegory of the book - the progress of the soul being represented by the journey of people across a landscape - he presents a kind of tableau which is itself an allegory or parable. Further, by the conversation between Christian and the Interpreter which continues for a page or two, he makes quite certain that the message will be as clear as


possible. He quotes the proverb, `A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' to illustrate the attitude of `the men of this world' and, furthermore, makes reference to the story of Lazarus, the beggar, who went to heaven and the rich man, who went to hell (Luke 16.19-31). So, social quietism is godly : your reward is in heaven.

To get some idea of perspective, consider Winstanley, writing in 1651 :`while men are gazing up to heaven, imagining after a happiness or fearing a hell after they are dead, their eyes are put out, that they see not what is their birthrights, and what is to be done by them here on earth while they are living.'

It's true that The Law of Freedom in a Platform, quoted here, was published before, and Pilgrim's Progress after, the Restoration of 1660 and that political repression after that date made free comment very difficult. Nevertheless, Bunyan's mind was turned inwards long before1660. Also, afterwards, there was no need to do the oppressor's job.

More terrible still were the lessons the Interpreter had for Christiana and her little group of pilgrims. He took them to the slaughter-house, showed them a butcher killing a sheep and told them, `You must learn of this sheep to suffer, and to put up with wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she takes her death, and, without objecting, she suffereth her skin to be pulled over her ears. Your King doth call you his sheep.' This needed no further explanation and so he led them straight away into his garden for a lesson on the social order : `Behold the flowers are diverse in stature, in quality, and colour, and smell, and virtue; and some are better than others : also where the gardener hath set them, there they stand, and quarrel not with one another.'

Religious faith was meant to lead to action but action almost never, at this time, involved any meddling with the social structure. Bunyan says, quoting James 1.27, `The soul of religion is the practical part: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."' This was as far as the matter went.


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Naturally, obeying the last part of this verse led to the kind of agonising found in Grace Abounding and to a strong perfectionist element to be found throughout religious fiction: `One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner' Bunyan writes in the second part of Pilgrim's Progress.

Some further points in this book need to be noted in order to fill out the blueprint already mentioned. The imagery of royalty and wealth - kings, crowns, gold, silver and jewels - is everywhere in Pilgrim's Progress. There's a 'King' of the Celestial City and the City itself is said to be built of pure gold, at one point in the text, and `of pearls and precious stones' at another. When they arrive there, we read, the pilgrims will wear `crowns of gold'. This kind of imagery runs throughout the tradition and, though it can't be quite excused away in Bunyan, I think it's certainly more understandable than, say, in C.S.Lewis, whose work we'll be looking at later.

In general, as well, there's the strong sense of sin represented by Christian's burden. Although it drops off when he reaches the cross, he still has to fight temptation and try to prevent himself from being defiled. The full title of Grace Abounding is Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, and there does, at times in this literary tradition, seem to be some kind of competition going on as to who was the worst sinner. This is amongst both fictional characters and writers. It's almost needless to say that none of them did anything very terrible. Judge however, the strength of social contempt which could force upon people such feelings of personal worthlessness.

Lastly, at the Interpreter's house, Christiana, her four sons and Mercy have baths and are then clothed in white. Again, the symbolism here - water as purification and white as purity or goodness - runs throughout the tradition. The event can also be seen as a kind of initiation.

Here, then, from the start, we have all the basic themes and even some of the ways of expressing them which characterise children's religious fiction throughout the following centuries. Compensation in heaven, the stress on a God-ordained social system which leads to passivity, the deep awareness of sin - all these will turn up again and again, in various forms, throughout the genre.


Bunyan embodied, and powerfully expressed, the fears and hopes of the poor of his day and for many years afterwards. Their frustrations in this world he turned into something they could be proud of - the `kingdom within'. He was a man of undoubted integrity, courage and strength of mind who suffered greatly in `the wilderness of this world' but his eyes were set firmly on the next world, as he would have been the first to admit.

Between Grace Abounding and the first part of Pilgrim's Progress a book was published entitled, A Token for Children: being an Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives, and Joyful Deaths of Several Young Children. So far as anybody knows, it was one of the first books written, intentionally, for children. Its author was James Janeway, `Minister of the Gospel' who, in his address `To Parents and Teachers of Children' advised them as follows: `take some time daily to speak a little to your Children, one by one, about their miserable Condition by Nature : I know a Child that was converted by this Sentence, from a godly School-mistress in the Country, Every Mother's Child of you are by Nature Children of Wrath.'

Bunyan wrote of heaven and hell : Janeway created a hell on earth and his book is part of a campaign of religious terrorism against children which was long to continue in fiction. In his preface, to children, he tells them, `they which Lie, must to their Father the Devil, into everlasting Burning; they which never pray, God will pour out his Wrath upon them; and when they beg and pray in Hell-Fire, God will not forgive them, but there they must lye for ever.'

Heaven is occasionally mentioned. If a child was good, Janeway said, Christ would give him or her `a Kingdom, Crown and Glory'. The religion-royalty connection, noted also in Bunyan, is understandable to some extent and, of course, runs throughout the Bible but we shouldn't lose sight of its social significance.


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Janeway's book is a kind of documentary, set out in `Examples'. The first example is `Of One eminently converted, between eight and nine years old : With an Account Of Her Life and Death.' She was much affected by a couple of sermons and, afterwards, was forever weeping, praying and reading religious books. It's hardly surprising that, `When she was about fourteen years old, she broke a vein in her lungs (as is supposed) and oft did spit Blood.' Her mother, no doubt bewildered, asked her `what sin it was that was so burthensome to her Spirit?' to which she answered that it wasn't any particular sin at all but `the Sin of [her] Nature'. She's a victim of the doctrine of original sin, surely the most psychologically destructive belief ever to afflict humanity. It's still with us, of course, often in the guise of what people call `human nature' which they mysteriously illustrate by references to apes and laboratory rats. By this same doctrine, a little lad, in the book, was brought to such a state of 'self-abhorrency' that he called himself `a Toad'.

Janeway's Token was extremely popular and continued to be published up to 1863, at least.

After the Puritans, it's a long jump till we come to the next religious offensive mounted against children. Books were kept in print, of course, and no doubt had their effect but, in general, there was a softening of the hard line taken by the Puritans. This wasn't to return until the nineteenth century, as we'll see. In between times, there was still a decided effort to teach children morals through books, but it wasn't felt necessary to terrify them in the process.

As far as children's literature is concerned, the eighteenth century is notable chiefly for the work of John Newbery, one of the first publishers in the modern sense of the word and, above all, a businessman. His first publication, A Little Pretty Pocket Book was `intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly'. It was offered in 1744, with a ball or pincushion (at 2d extra). So not everyone wanted to use the stick. Some thought the carrot was more effective.


The church went on the offensive, both at home and abroad, during the last few troubled years of the eighteenth century. The London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, the Religious Tract Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society were all founded in these years. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge had already been in existence for about a hundred years.

Not long afterwards, the two educational societies were founded : the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales, and the nonconformist British and Foreign School Society.

All these institutions give some idea of the religious campaign that was directed against the poor at home and against colonised people abroad with, in both cases, the object of maintaining or extending the political power of the British upper classes. If people had to be shot, sabred, transported or hanged, this could be left to the appropriate authorities. The church had tracts for ammunition. Any book of religious propaganda put out by a church was a tract but most tracts were literary, as the churches soon recognised the power of fiction.

In the first seven years of the Religious Tract Society, three and a half million tracts passed through its warehouse. In  1805, a new series of tracts was launched to compete with `the profane and vicious tracts' that were hawked round the streets and fairgrounds. In the first year, half a million were sold and gradually the hawkers' wares were driven off the market. By 1815, 124 auxiliary societies were in existence around the country. A catalogue of the Society's publications in 1820 lists `Children's Books' amongst which Pilgrim's Progress appears. (It was eventually to be translated into 14.7 languages.) A glance forward to the later history of the Society shows that it was declining towards the end of the nineteenth century. Political awareness was growing at home and the first real setbacks to the Empire were occurring abroad. However, the RTS fought back and, as before, challenged popular literature, this time, `penny dreadfuls'. In 1879, the Society started the very successful Boys' Own Paper.


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This curious mixture of patriotism, racism, imperialism, the public school ethos, sport, militarism, hobbies, religion and big game hunting existed, in some form, down to 1966 and was edited for almost all of its first 33 years by G.A.Hutchinson, referred to by Harvey Darton in Children's Books in England as having `a stronger indirect influence on English boyhood than any man of his time.' The main writers were W.H.G.Kingston, G.A.Henty, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Talbot Baines Reed. The Girls' Own Paper followed in the next year. A publication of this period is Teddy's Button, which I'll be dealing with later. In the present century, up to the second world war, the annual circulation of the Society's tracts dropped sharply. The Jubilee Luncheon of the Boys' Own Paper, however, gives an interesting insight into political allegiances. Baldwin, the Conservative prime minister, was the chief speaker at a gathering of cabinet ministers, public school headmasters and what Gordon Hewitt, the historian of the United Society for Christian Literature, calls `a remarkable array of other men of renown who had forgathered to enjoy in retrospect one of the chief pleasures of their early years'. In I932, the change of imprint from the Religious Tract Society to Lutterworth Press began. `To those unversed in church history,' Hewitt comments, `"Lutterworth Press" was a neutral title which did not put the religion-shy on their guard.' By 194 I, the new name was used for all books for the home market.

It isn't difficult to demonstrate how religion acted as the psychological arm of the ruling classes to terrify the people into submission. From the late eighteenth century, periods of great social unrest can be seen to coincide with great publishing activity on the part of the various denominations of the Christian church.

It's very interesting to note how conscious and specific this process was. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge provides some good examples. In 1819, it set up an 'Anti-Infidel Committee' `to deal with the threatening movements among the working classes in London and the Northern manufacturing towns'. In 1823, the Committee reported, in the words of the


Society's historian, W.K.Lowther Clarke, `that 677,49I books had been sold and that the urgency had passed'. Following social unrest in 1832, a General Literature Committee was started. It appointed a publisher, J.W.Parker, and in 1833 it was able to inform the Society that no book had failed and that The Saturday Magazine had reached a circulation of seventy thousand. Publications grew to fifty or sixty new titles a year. Fiction was designed to teach particular things. For instance, Little Dora Playfair was meant to persuade little girls to go to school willingly and The Cottager's Christmas Dinner was about contentment. A lot of the stories were labelled `for servants'. In I870, by which time a Tract Committee existed, the Society was able to vote £I,000 to pay authors.

The offensive of the British churches against the `heathen' colonial subjects abroad was a repeat of their action against the `infidels' at home. The Church Missionary Society minutes of 29 September I857 record :`The question which trembles in the balance is whether the masses will rise with the Sepoys, or remain faithful or at least passive. Yet few attempts have been made for the education of the masses. Might not all the supporters of Protestant Missionary Societies unite together to accomplish this special work?' This was at the time of the Great Uprising in India, referred to in British history books as `the Indian Mutiny'. The concern, clearly a political one, led to the setting up of the `Christian Vernacular Education Society'.

Now it's time to look more closely at tracts and similar literature. Hannah More was involved in the development of the Sunday School and charity school movements and was much involved in the production of Cheap Repository Tracts from 1795 to 1798. They were brought out as an answer to Tom Paine's Rights of Man and other `seditious' and 'anti-Christian' literature. The circulation of these tracts is said to have amounted to two million in the first year. They were designed to look like the pamphlets they were meant to drive out and were sold at one or one and a half pennies,   The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, however, which is probably her best-known story, dates from about I8I0

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and was in print till I883, at least. It was one of sixteen tracts published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in I83I in one of its broadsides against the `infidel'.

The structure of the story is very simple. A Mr Johnson meets the shepherd, `a clean well-looking poor man', and after a few hints to the reader on how to judge labourers (the best ones are always clean, tidy and industrious), prompts him by a series of questions and comments to give a kind of sermon on contentment. The shepherd seems glad of the chance of holding forth and is soon telling Mr Johnson, `I only submit to the lot that is appointed me.' We soon learn what an unworthy creature he considers himself, that `God has honoured poverty' and that the rich have been very generous in spreading a knowledge of reading. He's uncomplaining and cheerful and is forever counting his mercies, (with a sickly wife and eight children in a damp, two-roomed cottage). The shepherd's little daughter, Molly, now appears in a 'clean but scanty and ragged woollen apron' and makes `a courtesy down to the very ground' to Mr Johnson. After a description of many of the ways in which the shepherd and his family make do, Mr Johnson, as well he might, `lifted up his eyes in silent astonishment at the shifts which honest poverty can make rather than beg or steal'. We now go off to meet the shepherd's wife who reveals that a friend of the parson has given her two new blankets and half-a-crown. She's overwhelmed :`Oh !' cried she, `it is too much, we are now too rich : I am now frightened, not lest we should have no portion in this world, but for fear we should have our whole portion in it.' Mr Johnson slips a crown to the shepherd. At the end, More tells us, Mr Johnson `was more disposed to envy than to pity the shepherd'. In this threadbare tale, the hypocrisy of the writer and her attempt at deliberate social manipulation are all too obvious.

Social engineering is very obvious, too, in the work of the Rev Legh Richmond, a very successful tract writer of the same

period. His three RTS tracts together sold I,354,000 copies in less than half a century. The Dairyman's Daughter was one of these. It first came out in I809 but was published by the Society in an expanded form the following year. It was in print up to 1908, if not later.


 As with The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, the story is just an excuse for sermonising. In fact, much tract literature can best be described as fictionalised sermons. Moreover, in this book, as in all the rest, everything points towards the use of religion as an arm of establishment politics and, more precisely, as a force aimed at stabilising a class society. The dairyman's daughter says her piece :`I do not wish for any higher station, nor envy the rich. I rather pity them, if they are not good as well as great.' The dairyman's cottage, of course, is a model of cleanliness and order while the family is lowly and humble, to the point of grovelling. The daughter dies of consumption, a slow, wasting disease but a convenient one for the likes of Richmond. He exclaims, `What a field for usefulness and affectionate attention on the part of ministers and Christian friends, is opened by the frequent attacks, and lingering progress, of consumptive illness !' Elizabeth, in fact, is dying throughout most of the book, between pages 54. and I33, to be exact, out of a total of I56 in all. The religious writers made something of a speciality of death-bed scenes for two main reasons, I think : firstly, such scenes offered an easy inroad to the emotions of the reader and, secondly, the torments of hell were brought nearer. In this book, `Betsey' continually speaks of how evil she has been, when all the poor thing seems to have done was love clothes. Here again is the internalisation of the teaching both of the church, through the doctrine of original sin, and of a class society sanctioned by the church. Both had the effect of creating `self-abhorrency' in people like Betsey.

We can get even closer to understanding the attraction other people's death had for these writers from Richmond's The Young Cottager, published a few years later and in print over the following sixty years or so. In it, he tells us about the Saturday afternoon school he runs and about how he takes the children outside in the summer, next to the churchyard

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I had not far to look for subjects of warning and exhortation suitable to my little flock of lambs that I was feeding. I could point to the heaving sods that marked the different graves and separated them from each other, and tell my pupils that, young as they were, none of them were too young to die; and that probably more than half of the bodies which were buried there, were those of little children.'

He sends them to learn epitaphs from the tombstones and we learn that little Jane is particularly struck by one epitaph. Three pages later, we read the ominous words, `I was . . . informed that she was not well.' It's consumption again. Throughout most of the rest of the book (for 4.5 pages out of 64 in all) Jane is dying and, of course, this provides the opportunity for quite a lot of preaching. From her death-bed, Jane begins to convert her wicked mother. This is another cliché of tract literature - the angelic child, often poor, often an orphan or with only one parent, often too good for this world (though insisting on being a sinner) converts wicked adults and dies at the end. Reading what I take to be the moral of the book, I find it impossible to believe in Richmond's sincerity: `The church spire pointing to heaven ... seemed to say to both the rich and the poor, "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." ' Apart from the fact that neither Richmond nor anyone else was saying anything at all to the rich and the Bible gives us clearly to understand (Matt. 19:24) that they are the ones who will have great difficulty in getting to heaven, the poor didn't really have anything on earth to set their affections on.

Mrs Sherwood, as well as taking a harder line, reflects the growing sense of empire in Britain early in the last century. She went to India with her husband, a captain in the army, and her early works all have a deeply zealous missionary tendency. Little Henry and his Bearer Boosy is one of the first examples of missionary fiction. It's a story of what might be called spiritual murder and the criminals get away with it. Henry, a little orphan lad, is brought up by his Indian bearer while being technically in the care of a white woman who doesn't bother with him. He ;rows up thinking there are many gods until a


visitor to the house takes upon herself the task of rescuing him from the heathen. One thing she does is dash to the ground an image of one of the Hindu gods to demonstrate to Henry how powerless it is, and soon we read: `now the lady had brought Henry to know that he and all the world were sinners, and that the punishment of sin is eternal death.' After a year and a half, she leaves telling Henry to convert Boosy to Christianity. The bearer, though, very sensibly says, `There are many brooks and rivers of water, but they all run into the sea at last; so there are a great many religions, but they all lead to heaven .., and one way is as good as another.' This comparatively healthy state of mind cannot be allowed, however. Henry spends a long time dying around the middle of the book, and we have the usual sentimentally religious death-bed scenes. From one point of view, the time is well spent, as little Henry draws his adoptive `mamma' much closer to God and away from worldly things and also binds the already devoted Boosy even closer to himself. After Henry's death, we note Boosy praying at the `very pretty burying-ground' Henry had had his eye on for such a long time, but he is a changed man. Full of fear and anxiety he thinks, `There cannot be one heaven for white and black - for slave and master.' Nevertheless, he goes on to be finally converted but, even then, he's afraid to reveal it to his people because he'll be held in scorn. He's a destroyed person, psychologically and - perhaps, in this, Sherwood was being more true to life than she thought - his physical death follows. It's a lingering one but he's baptised towards the end, along with his beloved grandson, who takes the name of `Henry'. Little Henry and his Bearer Boosy was continually in print for about seventy years and was translated into French and German.

The full title of Sherwood's main work is important : The History o f the Fairchild Family; or the Child's Manual: being a Collection of Stories Calculated to Shew the Importance and Effects of a Religious Education. It's a large, heavy milestone in the history of children's literature. The first part came out in 1818 and the third part, in which Sherwood collaborated with her daughter, Mrs Streeten, didn't appear until almost thirty years later.

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 Throughout, the structure of the book follows a basic pattern which consists of some (usually trivial) event in the life of the family, followed by a prayer, followed by a hymn, each of these three elements being linked in theme. The pattern is simply repeated over and over. However, the incidents themselves - the fictional part, you could say - form the framework for religious moralising, teaching and reciting while there's an average of one Bible quotation every two pages. There's great stress on the sin, wickedness and wretchedness of humanity : `Then each of the children repeated a verse from the Bible, to prove that the nature of man, after the Fall of Adam, is utterly and entirely sinful.' It's the great moral weight that's brought to bear upon even the most trivial incidents which gives this book its heavy and grim tone. For instance, Mrs Fairchild recounts, at one point, a story of how she had, when a girl, stolen cherries at the suggestion of Billy, the stable-boy. In doing so, we're told, she broke three of the commandments and was therefore kept for several days in a dark room on bread and water, getting a good, long lecture into the bargain. The most notorious passage is worth some attention. After a quarrel amongst the three children, Mr Fairchild takes them to Blackwood to see `a gibbet, on which the body of a man hung in chains : it had not yet fallen to pieces, although it had hung there some years'. It's a man who murdered his brother, Fairchild explains. The children beg to go but he keeps them there to tell them, at length, the history behind the scene. We learn that the mother of the two brothers went mad when the murderer was hanged. The children again ask to go, but Fairchild keeps them there until he has carefully drawn a parallel between their behaviour and what befell the two brothers. It all ends with an Isaac Watts hymn containing the line, `Birds in their little nests agree'.

Lucy Fairchild is obsessed with a sense of her own sinfulness. Her mother gives her a book in which to write down her wicked thoughts. Needless to say, the children indulge in passions of self-abasement at the slightest excuse. Such a degree of perfection is required that it seems impossible for them to do or say anything right.


It's a wonder that so many children survived this kind of indoctrination, or that more of them were not driven insane. It does seem that many of them virtually willed themselves to death, their lives having become unbearable. How else to explain Janeway's accounts of the `joyful deaths' of children? Death must have come as a happy release for some of them. Here, a century and a half later, Sherwood is carrying out the same kind of religious torture.

Most fiction for children, until the present century, has been written with the conscious aim of religious indoctrination. Here are two typical statements from different periods, the first from Hymns in Prose for Children (178 1) by Anna Letitia Aikin (i.e. Mrs Barbauld) :`The peculiar design of this publication is, to impress devotional feelings as early as possible on the infant mind; fully convinced as the author is, that they cannot be impressed too soon.' The writing is of a high standard in this book, recalling the Psalms in rhythm and poetic quality. It was translated into French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish and was last published in English, as far as I have been able to discover, in 1905. In 1839, Catherine Sinclair wrote in the preface to Holiday House,

In writing for any class of readers ... the author feels conscious of a deep responsibility, for it is at their early age that the seed can best be sown which shall bear fruit unto eternal life; therefore it is hoped this volume may be found to inculcate a pleasing and permanent consciousness, that religion is the best resource in happier hours, and the only refuge in hours of affliction .3

The book was thought worth a reprint in I972 and is at present in my local junior public library. Although the chapter called `The Poor Boy' reeks with the usual hypocrisy, and `our original sin and natural corruption' is much to the fore, the reader can have a good romp with the refreshingly cheerful Harry and Laura before retribution follows. Nevertheless, the story does get more and more grim towards the end with the usual religious set-piece of a lingering death. On the whole, it seems to me strange that this book should have been thought suitable for today's children.

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The church didn't have things all its own way. In the year when Holiday House was first published, a large Chartist camp meeting was held at which several local preachers spoke. One of them, Hanson, joined in the denunciations of the priesthood, claiming that `They preached Christ and a crust, passive obedience and non-resistance.' He went on, `Let the people keep from those churches and chapels. ("We will!") Let them go to those men who preached Christ and a full belly, Christ and a well-clothed back - Christ and a good house to live in - Christ and Universal Suffrage.' The Methodists expelled him for this speech but here was the genuine voice of the radical church, often suppressed, often underground and usually, I suspect, unrecorded. Winstanley would have recognised a friend.

In the latter half of the last century tactics gradually changed. The crude appeal to fear grew less common in children's fiction and the appeal to sentimentality and patriotism grew stronger. These developments can be seen in the work of two very popular tract writers, Sarah Smith and Amy le Feuvre.

Smith wrote under the pseudonym of 'Hesba Stretton'. She has over fifty titles in the British Library catalogue, nearly all fiction and nearly all published by the Religious Tract Society. Her book, Jessica's First Prayer was first published in 1866 and became a best-seller with over one and a half million copies sold. I think the claim that it was translated into every European language and into most Asian and African ones is rather extravagant but it's an indication of the extent of the possible influence of the book. Another indication is that the Earl of Shaftesbury recommended it to Tsar Alexander II, who ordered a copy to be placed in all Russian schools, not, I suspect, for literary reasons although the author obviously had some literary skill.

Jessica is a poor, unshod, ill-used little waif of the London slums who makes friends with a man who runs a coffee-and-bun stall in the early mornings. He also works as a verger at a nearby church as Jessica finds out when she follows him there one day.


She attends services at the church after this as she likes the music and wants to know more about God and prayer but she does so secretly because it's a church for ladies and gentlemen and she's afraid they wouldn't want the likes of her amongst them. In this she's right and Mr Daniel, the verger, is very embarrassed when she's found out. The minister gives her a special little place below the pulpit where she can sit during the services, away from the rest of the congregation. However, this isn't a very satisfactory solution. (It should be noted that this religious segregation, along class lines, is nowhere criticised in the book.) We move to a symbolic solution. The minister's daughters have become rather fond of Jessica and he tells her,

If I took you to live in my house with my little daughters, you would have to be washed and clothed in new clothing to make you fit for it. God wanted us to go and live at home with him in heaven, but we were so sinful that we could never have been fit for it. So he sent his own Son to live amongst us, and die for us, to wash us from our sins, and to give us new clothing, and to make us ready to live in God's house.4

Jessica now attends church regularly `but before taking her place she arrayed herself in a little cloak and bonnet, which had once belonged to the minister's elder daughter ... So that she presented a somewhat more respectable appearance in the eyes of the congregation.' She has to change to be like them before they'll accept her. She has to undergo an initiation which involves a ritual purification by water (over and above its cleansing purpose) and clothing in the dress of the `superior' group. We've seen the same symbolism in other writers as diverse as Bunyan and Blyton. It turns out that Daniel is something of a miser, but Jessica's innocent little questions begin to touch his heart. One day, she's missing from both his stall and the church so he finds out where she lives and goes to see her. She's ill and he is moved, religiously, thinking of how he had only cared for money, not for people. She recovers, which is remarkable in itself, and he adopts her

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Little Meg's Children followed two years later. Towards the beginning of the book, the mother dies leaving Meg, who's about ten, to look after a brother of about six and a baby sister. Her father's away at sea. The story takes place in a London slum where the people seem to do little but quarrel, swear and drink. In fact, the slum is portrayed, in terms typical of the middle-class tract writer, as a jungle, full of wild beasts likely to set upon the unwary visitor. Some of these fears may well have been justified but that's one of the penalties of a class society. Even Meg is afraid of passing through the alley in her best clothes in case she's set upon and stripped. Her father's return is delayed and so Meg has to cope as best she can, with God's help. She receives a little help, too, from Kitty, a young woman who lives in the next door attic and who has been guilty of some mysterious wickedness. By coincidence, Meg meets Kitty's mother, Mrs Blossom, who's always on the lookout for her lost daughter, who, she reveals, was nicknamed `Posy'. Meg doesn't suspect that the Kitty who lives next door to her is Posy :

`And Posy died?' said Meg softly.

`No, no!' cried Mrs Blossom. 'It'ud been a hundred times better if she'd died. She grew up bad, little girl. And she ran away from home; and I lost her, her own mother that had nursed her when she was a little baby ... I'd ha' been thankful to ha' seen her lying dead afore my eyes in her coffin.'5

Like much of the literature of the time, this could be described as Victorian rather than Christian. Meg's convinced that, some day, Posy will pass by as Mrs Blossom has asked God for this to happen. Asking God for things, in fact, is a feature of the book and any difficulties are avoided by only asking him for the right things, or things which are feasible anyway. A favourite device of tract writers was to base a story on a Bible text. In this case, the text is, `If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children : how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?'


Kitty's united with her mother at the end, the baby has died of an unwise dose of alcohol and Meg's father returns but he's not going to settle in `the court'. He says `a decent man couldn't stop here, let alone a Christian'.

Amy le Feuvre wrote almost ninety stories, about half of which were published by the Religious Tract Society. Her work was largely in print between 1894 and 1953 but there were a number of reissues up to 1964 and today three are in print.

In Eric's Good News, we see a more determined appeal to sentimentality than in the work of Sarah Smith just dealt with. Another difference is that Eric is a middle-class boy, the son of Sir Edmund Wallace. The book opens with a description of him: `Such a sweet little face it was, with the curly golden brown hair clustering round the fair white brow, and the deep blue eyes with their gaze of wistful longing. The flush on the soft cheeks betokened delicate health, and many a passer-by noted pityingly the little figure leaning back in the cushioned chair.' Just about all the basic ingredients of sentimentality are here. It's an invalid carriage he's sitting in, of course and he is, in addition, a`motherless bairn'. After this, the amazing thing is that Eric doesn't die at the end. His father does, but not before Eric has worked on him and brought about a change of heart in this `great sceptic'. Eric also converts the world-weary Captain Graham, an acquaintance he meets at the seaside. First, however, Eric had to be brought from the state of religious ignorance he'd no doubt been kept in by his father. Eric's dog fetches him a few pages of St Mark's gospel from the seashore and Eric, all agog to hear more, pumps Graham for information. Eventually Graham gives Eric a New Testament and this is Eric's `good news' (i.e. the original meaning of `gospel').

Teddy's Button is one of those still in print, published by Lutterworth Press, after eighty years. It has sold over a million copies, apart from cheap paperback reprints and has been very popular as a Sunday School prize. The button had belonged to Teddy's father, who was killed in battle. Its loss, and very improbable recovery, form the slender hook on which the author hangs a great deal of religious teaching. After the very military-minded Teddy, a young boy with blue eyes and golden curls

140 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

, has joined God's army on the advice of Mr Upton, the rector, the latter says `with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.' He's quoting St Paul a man hopelessly divided against himself, who did so much to intensify the deeply harmful mind/flesh division which Christianity inherited from Judaism. The book is largely about this and we see the young Teddy being, in quite a literal sense, divided against himself. Upton shows Teddy his `real live' enemy which is Teddy himself in a mirror. The boy racks his brain to find an ugly name for his bad self and thinks 'Blackey might do, or Goggles, or Grubby, or Nigger, or Toad.' (The last name is the one the little lad in Janeway's Token found for himself. He was also suffering from 'self-abhorrency', about 225 years previously. The colour-signals in Teddy's list, and the racism, are also worth noting.) He calls his `enemy' 'Ipse', the Latin word for `self'. Throughout the book, the stress is on personal salvation and on converting others, not on social issues. So, when Teddy is trying to prevent a soldier from lapsing back to drink, there is, of course, no consideration of what drove him to drink in the first place. Teddy's `Sunday Book' is Pilgrim's Progress, we learn, in one of the many references to Bunyan's work in religious fiction.

Us and Our Empire, which dates from 1911, carries the war to the class enemy. The patriotic and, at times, almost desperate militarism which is reflected in children's fiction from, roughly, the 1870s until comparatively recent times and which is very noticeable in imperial literature can be seen, in this amazing book, linked to religion. At the beginning, the very middle-class children reveal the problem: `don't we hear on all sides that the country is going to pot? Doesn't father groan over the Church, and General Walton, over the army, and Admiral Burgoyne over the navy, and Aunt C. over the servants?' They decide their motto is to be `One King, One Flag, One Fleet, One Empire!' and start an `Empire League'. Denys is to learn 'Kipling's Empire song for Children', which is quoted twice in the book, once as a frontispiece.


This is probably because le Feuvre agrees with Denys who tells us, 'Kipling is a very decent fellow; he never writes twaddle!' Soon, it's the national anthem, Union jacks and red, white and blue on every side and the children - who live at the Rectory, incidentally - are ready to hold a meeting for the `village children'. At this event, Denys tells them straight: `Now look here. .. We're going to have an Empire League in this village, and we want every one of you to be members ... Now when I say "Union Jack", all stand to your feet and salute!' At the end of the harangue, the village children, a passive lot, are given a sweet each. They're ruthlessly manipulated in an overbearing manner, perhaps because, as Aylwin says, `Obedience and subjection to authority is the duty of every British citizen.' The hysteria mounts, at least on the Rectory side. They even have to keep reminding themselves that it's God first, not the Empire. (Maybe the author had to do that, too, but the Religious Tract Society, which published the book, presumably didn't mind.) Now a more openly political lesson is thrown in. A 'traitor', which, to the vigilantes from the Rectory simply means anyone anti-establishment in politics, comes to the village and talks to the people. When the League leaders hear about it, they go down and, without arguing or even listening, they carry him off to put him on the next train. The villagers are shown as approving of this. It's fair to add that `Father' says they were wrong to do this but he counts for little in the book, the point's already made and his effort is, clearly, just a token nod in the direction of `free speech'.6 The most sickening jingoism goes on and on until we're treated to another familiar lesson, this time a sexist one and here in a patriotic context which is, in turn and only just, in a religious context. Lynette, the liveliest girl, saves a small village child by whisking him away from an oncoming car but she injures herself in doing so. We learn later that she'll have to lie on her back for `quite a year' but will `possibly be as well as ever in a few years' time'. Aunt Mildred gives us the sexist moral in religious terms: `God saw He must teach her in his own way; we didn't seem able to do it. I have tried so often ... to make her see the serious side of life." However, Lynette continues the 

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good work from her bed of suffering. She gets Mrs Fidler, the mother of the boy she'd saved, to promise that Georgie will be a soldier for king and country when he grows up. (They go in for this casual recruitment quite a lot amongst the villagers.)

The book's a very good example of a blend of patriotism (here seen in its extreme form of militarism), politics and religion, a blend very common in British fiction for children. In fact, it's usually impossible to separate these three elements. The politics are always mindless and reactionary and the whole dish is served with a dressing of sentimentality.

The kind of religious approach typical of tract fiction still survives in fairly recent publications, though in a slightly different form. A catalogue of paperbacks in print for winter, 1974 to 1975 gives eleven titles in the jungle Doctor series by Paul White. The four I've examined were hardbacks, and were all published in Australia in the 1940s and republished here in 195o by the Paternoster Press, another of the many publishers of religious books. It's interesting that in these we have the work of medical missions in Africa as a background. This gives rise to medical parables, typical of the books. For instance, in Jungle Doctor on Safari we meet Mulewa who says to the jungle doctor, `For ten years, Bwana, those [i.e. cataracts] stopped me from seeing. I could not get rid of them, nor could the witchdoctor, nor my relatives, but you did with your little knife, and, behold, I understood how Jesus could take away sin, the cataract of the soul. So I became a Christian. Now my name is Benjamin.' The renaming is psychologically important, as the Church Missionary Society, for which the doctor works, must realise. Africans connected with the CMS are given biblical names such as Hezekiah and Simeon. Against a background of medical emergencies and jungle incidents, there's a constant stream of prayers directed to God whenever anything is wanted. They're always answered but the process can get rather simpleminded in a curiously old-fashioned way. For instance, when the fan-belt of the car breaks during a dash to aid a sick child, the author says, `I went round to the shady side of the car, knelt beside the running-board, and told my Heavenly Father all about it.' (Did he not know? Did he want the sick child to die?)


The familiar pattern can be seen again in jungle Doctor Operates. The doctor removes a tumour : Jesus removes sin - `it's only Jesus who can operate on sin, and when He removes it, then life is worth living.' Jungle Doctor Attacks Witchcraft and Jungle Doctor's Enemies work to the same basic formula - yet it's important to keep a sense of perspective. Compassion, even if only of an immediate, short-term kind, can be seen in the writing, perhaps the more so if it's compared with the writing of a savage like Wallace.

Nevertheless, here in Africa, in these books, we can see religion playing the same political role as it's always played in Britain. This is made very clear in jungle Doctor's Progress, White's account of his work. Here, an interesting conflict emerges between 'Uhuru' (a Swahili word meaning `freedom' and used generally for African freedom) and what White calls `the real Uhuru' by which he means religious faith. In this book, White gives a good illustration of his work in terms of the cataract operation :`It is always a splendid practical parable - light to the physical eye helps the doctor and staff to introduce the seeing patient to the Light of the World.' In this book, too, there's a list of twenty jungle Doctor titles at the front. We also learn that he was on the air from four continents, over eightyfive radio stations every week for twenty years and that more than a thousand broadcasts were made. `You always bring in about God?' a questioner asked him. `Always', he answered.

The Jungle Doctor series, and also the Ranford series by the same writer in collaboration with David Britten can best be seen as a continuing tradition rather than as a new departure. For the specifically modern forms that the religious tradition has taken, it's necessary to look elsewhere. In short, there's been a movement into fantasy and, to get to the roots of this, we have to step back to Victorian times again.


144 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

At least, that's when Charles Kingsley wrote The Water Babies though it is, of course, still very popular today and continues as what some people call a 'classic'. It gives another very good insight into some basic symbolism used mainly, though certainly not exclusively, in the religious genre of fiction. Towards the beginning of the book, there's a particularly striking example of the black/ white colour symbolism which is rooted so strongly in our language and literature. The usual associations, of white with goodness, purity and beauty and of black with their opposites, crowd one another in the following passage and there's more than a hint at the water/ purification symbol which is constantly built up throughout the first chapter. I've italicised the key-words and the words associated with them :


Under the snow-white coverlet, upon the snow-white pillow, lay the most beautiful little girl that Tom had ever seen. Her cheeks were almost as white as the pillow, and her hair was like threads of gold spread all about over the bed. She might have been as old as Tom, or maybe a year or two older; but Tom did not think of that. He thought only of her delicate skin and golden hair, and wondered whether she were a real live person, or one of the wax dolls he had seen in the shops. But when he saw her breathe, he made up his mind that she was alive, and stood staring at her, as if she had been an angel out of heaven.

No. She cannot be dirty. She never could have been dirty, thought Tom to himself. And then he thought, `And are all people like that when they are washed?' And he looked at his own wrist, and tried to rub the soot off, and wondered whether it ever would come off. `Certainly I should look much prettier then, if I grew at all like her.'

And looking round, he suddenly saw, standing close to him, a little ugly, black, ragged figure, with bleared eyes and grinning white teeth. He turned on it angrily. What did such a little black ape want in that sweet young lady's room? And behold, it was himself reflected in a great mirror, the like of which Tom had never seen before.8


The symbolism is here linked to social class, as well. Note that, in the first paragraph, we have only the `white' side presented. Then, once that's firmly established, we have the `black' side put forward in the second paragraph with a hint of possible change in the word `washed' and a hint of comparison in the word `prettier'. This leads to the third paragraph where the two sides clash dramatically.

Later, the colour and water symbols merge in what appears to be a suicidal drowning. Tom, in a daze and with imaginary church bells ringing in his ears, symbolising the call to a better life, makes his way to the river dreaming `that he heard the little white lady crying to him, "Oh, you're so dirty; go and be washed"."' In his trance-like state, he wants to go to church, `But the people would never let him come in, all over soot and dirt like that.' He must go to the river and wash first. And he said out aloud again and again, though being half asleep he did not know it, "I must be clean, I must be clean."' Eventually, `he put his poor hot sore feet into the water; and then his legs; and the further he went in the more the church bells rang in his head.' Another element - that of the husk or shell - is added to the cluster of symbols when Tom's body is found and at this point most of the meanings come together and Tom begins his life as a water-baby :`not only his dirt, but his whole husk and shell had been washed quite off him and the pretty little real Tom was washed out of the inside of it, and swam away.'


This move to fantasy with a corresponding emphasis on symbolic meaning, this lack of directness, in fact, brings us to a group of modern writers who all have a lot in common. They are J.R.R.Tolkien, Alan Garner, Ursula le Guin, Madeleine l'Engle, Richard Adams and C.S.Lewis. The two women are United States citizens but their work has been published in Britain, and has achieved considerable success here. I don't claim that all these writers could be described as religious in the formal sense of belonging to a particular Christian sect. Some could, certainly, but Garner, for instance, disclaims any specific religious belief although he says that working out


his books is`a religious experience'. I'm more interested, here, in showing how their ideology can be seen as developing from the tradition I've been examining and in how the main attitudes found in the older literature are still presented to children, though in a more subtle way. The following remarks apply to practically all the fiction these writers have produced for children, except in the case of l'Engle where I'm only concerned with A Wrinkle in Time (winner of the Newbery Medal in 1962) and A Wind in the Door. Twenty-three books are involved.

All six writers deal with the supernatural and it takes the form of fantasy or, in the case of some books, what might better be called science fiction. This leads to the creation of other worlds which might be completely self-contained with no reference to the real world, as in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and le Guin's Earthsea trilogy or which, on the other hand, might just be visited for varying periods as in l'Engle's two books based within the Murry family. The more complete the fantasy worlds are, the more the writers tend to invent languages. In the case of Tolkien and Lewis, this interest would also spring from their academic work in Old English and Medieval English literature respectively. The creation of other worlds also leads, naturally, to a preoccupation with landscape and terrain. Many of the books have maps and many deal with journeys and quests. As I've said, this is a natural development but in the case of Garner it's something more than this. All his work shows a strong, mystical sense of place.

A very important and striking element in all the books is an evil power or force which is of non-human origin, at least in a social sense. Often, as in Garner and le Guin, there's a strong sense of a vague, disembodied but menacing force which is just hovering around waiting to be loosed, a process which might be as accidental as springing a trap. This is very noticeable in Garner. In le Guin, it's more a case of meddling with danger. Once loosed, the evil can take a variety of fantastic forms or can possess people. There are many cases of possession in these books. Sometimes the evil is seen to be innate, as in Adams and Lewis and then, of course, it's original sin.


All the writers drawupon words denoting blackness or darkness to portray this evil and use `white' and all kinds of words associated with whiteness or light to show the opposite." This `goodness' is also embodied sometimes in fantastic forms, as in 'Engle, but this is unusual. Usually, it's a case of looking on the black side, though white wins in the end, of course. If you take note, consciously, of this symbolic use of black and white and associated words, it's astonishing to find how frequent the references are. They can be found, for instance, on most pages, and often several times per page, in Lord of the Rings, and there are more than a thousand pages in the paperback edition.

This stress on a mysterious and unexplained evil, even in the less obviously religious writers in this group, shows how strongly this element has persisted. The older tract writers would have located evil more consistently in the poor, no doubt, but neither they nor the present group of writers have found evil in the people who maintain and manipulate our economic system and benefit from it. Another very striking feature of this group and one which links it strongly to the religious tradition in the past is class antagonism and manipulation. This is in its most obvious and usual form in Garner's The Owl Service : it's strange that very few people seem to have noticed that this book is riddled with anti-working-class feeling. Sometimes, and this is more the case when a book has an other-world setting, this feature appears as a sense of hierarchy. This is especially noticeable in Tolkien and Lewis and references to `blood', `race' and `stock' take us, especially in Lewis, to the fringes of racism. In several of the writers there's a strong sense of elitism, notably in le Guin and 'Engle, though in very different forms, and in Lewis there's great and constant stress on royalty.

Some of the novelists in this group, such as Garner, prefer to regard themselves simply as writers rather than children's writers; some have found a following among both adults and children, like Garner and Tolkien and some have, in their most recent work, written themselves away from a young readership altogether, like Adams in Shardik and Garner in Red Shift. Also, Lewis in the course of his science fiction trilogy gradually

148 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

moves from material that can be recognised as likely to interest children, in Out of the Silent Planet to the last of the three novels, That Hideous Strength, which he meant for adults. Some of the books have lent themselves to cults amongst adults, a rather strange development perhaps best seen as childhood nostalgia. The most obvious in this category is Lord of the Rings but Garner's Elidor and The Owl Service have also been treated in this way and Adams's Watership Down now seems to have quite a following.

Several other smaller features show the interrelationship of this group and suggest that some of the writers have influenced others. Now, however, it's time for a closer look at this work.

A passage from Lord of the Rings is typical of many books in the group in the atmosphere it establishes and the way in which this is brought about :

That name [i.e. the name of `the Enemy'] the hobbits

only knew in legends of the dark past, like a shadow in the background of their memories; but it was ominous and disquieting. It seemed that the evil power in Mirkwood had been driven out by the White Council only to reappear in greater strength in the old strongholds of Mordor. The Dark Tower had been rebuilt, it was said. From there the power was spreading far and wide.12

The evil power here seems to have been disembodied in the first place. Then, it seems to have entered into people and other creatures who afterwards all became tarred with the same brush. Some creatures, the 'orcs', for instance, seem to be inherently evil and therefore it could be said that they are in a state of original sin but without the blessings of Christianity. Whichever way you look at it, however, and this will apply to all the writers in this group, the effect is the same : evil, whether coming from some mysterious source outside humanity or whether lodged immovably within beings is not seen as originating in social relationships and conditions. Therefore, these are not seen to be in need of any change. The link with religion is obvious, and ancient. Paul tells the Ephesians, `our fight is


not against human foes, but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and potentates of this dark world, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavens.' The effect of this kind of literature, as with tract literature, is to divert people from the here and now and persuade them that it's not possible to do anything about the problems of the world. Of course, some people may find this a very comforting thought. I expect this, together with childhood nostalgia, is what attracts the cultmakers. Lord o f the Rings isn't an allegory but of course it does have a meaning. It says something. It says a lot of things about power and hierarchy - aristocratic notions are very much in the forefront and there's a great love of ceremony. The style fits this : Shakespeare is recalled, especially in the large battlescenes when the rhythm becomes stronger and even rhyme occasionally appears. Quite often, the strong repetition of sounds close together recalls the alliterative verse of Old English. Also, as in Garner, the style is often biblical.

In fact, Garner resembles Tolkien in several ways, even in details sometimes as when his 'svarts', evil underground creatures, mostly black, recall the evil dark men called 'swertings' in Lord of the Rings. Both writers have specialist interests in language and they probably took the word from the Common Teutonic word for `black' now only remembered in modern English, in the word `swarthy'. It's a small point, but an insight into attitudes. What comes out very strongly, especially in Garner's first three books, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath and Elidor is the overpowering sense of black evil. Towards the beginning of the second novel, we read that men have `loosed the evil a second time', in a typical Garner expression. But what's it all for? What do the forces of evil want? What's the matter with them? - There aren't any answers to these questions, not in Garner nor in any of this group. The forces are just `evil' and we have to take it at that. Even the power-crazed scientist of the comics, bent on world domination, is rather more understandable. Another question needs to be asked with this particular group of writers in mind. It's often said that children prefer a`black and white' world, a world where heroes and villains, goodies and baddies are sharply distinguished one from another. I think it needs to be asked how much this is promoted by adults.

150 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

In Garner's later work, The Owl Service and Red Shift, two elements that were there but not very noticeable in the books already mentioned, come to the fore. In general, taking Garner's work as a whole, his characters grow in importance with each successive book although they never free themselves from the domination of place. However, as they grow in importance, social conflict grows, so that, because of Garner's class stance, in The Owl Service he foists upon the reader an ending which just doesn't seem to grow out of the rest of the book, at all. He gives us the unlikeable, selfish prig, Roger, as hero, and passes over Gwyn, who has been more attuned to the legendary background of the book all along. Garner has tried to pass over this class prejudice by saying that it's Gwyn's illegitimacy which makes him `incapable of coping with the epic quality of the situation'. Thankfully, it's very much to be doubted whether anyone else will share such a weird and destructive view. The class prejudice, in fact, could be foreseen in Elidor where it was emphasised by Keeping's crude drawings of Paddy, the Irishman. The other element which has now come to the fore in Garner's latest book, Red Shift, is perhaps more to the point in this chapter though not separable from Garner's attitudes as a whole. A rather doom-laden and pretentious manner could be seen as far back as The Moon of Gomrath. In Red Shift it has developed into a general atmosphere of hopelessness and degeneration which recalls William Golding, a writer Garner admires, at his worst.

In le Guin's trilogy, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, the general characteristics of this group can all be found. Here, we have an elite of wizards, called the 'mageborn', whose main function is to preserve `Balance', `Pattern' and `Equilibrium' in the world - that is, they're concerned with keeping it as it is (with an exception to be mentioned later). Any tampering with the balance of forces is dangerous, as Ged, the young wizard, finds out when he letsl oose evil in the world by using a spell to call up a spirit of the dead.


He had acted `not knowing how that spell affects the balance of light and dark, life and death, good and evil'. The titanic battles between good and evil remind me of the (admittedly cruder) struggles in the United States comic books. This preoccupation with balance is maintained throughout the three books but, interestingly, it doesn't prevent the restoration of a king on the island of Havnor in the last book, even though there hadn't been one for eight hundred years. In this story, which ends with the coronation of the king, `imbalance' and `evil' are mentioned together so that they appear to be the same. The evil element here is also known as 'Anti-King'. Again, we have to note that the effect of this literature is the same as that of the more obviously religious fiction - to keep the social order as it is or even to go backwards.

Similarly, in 'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, on one side there's a`dark Thing' and on the other an elite, not wizards this time but certainly very special people, the Murry parents, who are presented as high-flying scientific intellectuals and their son Charles Wallace, a six-year-old with incredible mental powers, some of them mystic. There's no doubt as to which side God is on. Mr Murry says, `we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' L'Engle has said that the book is `against forced conformity of any kind' and also that she wrote it (while being a practising Christian) `as a violent rebellion against Christian piety'. However, she admits to `a feeling of religious spirit' in the book. Some of the best fighters in the cosmic struggle against the powers of darkness have come from earth, we read. Jesus heads the list and then come `great artists' who have been, `lights for us to see by'. On the `light' side, of course, are the Murrys and the United States (Mr Murry is based at Cape Canaveral). Camazotz is one of the `dark planets' and as it has, not surprisingly, been taken by many readers to represent a communist state, it's easy to see how religion is now being drawn into the world-wide political struggle.

152 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

A Wind in the Door is about the same family, the Murrys. Towards the beginning, in a rather odd reflection of le Guin's main concern, we read that `matter' is getting `unbalanced'. In fact, Meg Murry, the young girl, says that things are `falling apart'. Cosmic good and evil are curiously linked with conditions in the United States, in a way we're familiar with - again - from the comics. Mrs Murry says, incredibly, `Here we are, at the height of civilisation in a well-run state in a great democracy.' She couples this, rather oddly, with `And four ten-year-olds were picked up last week for pushing hard drugs in the school where our six-year-old is regularly given black eyes and a bloody nose.' It really does seem that they want to blame the dark, evil forces of the universe, here called the Echthroi. There doesn't seem to be much wrong at home as Mrs Murry keeps pointing out: `In L.A. at last we have a president who is trying as honourably as a president can try in a world which has become so blunted by dishonour and violence that people casually take it for granted.' The Cherubim, a singular creature with a plural name, says to Meg, `I have heard that your host planet is shadowed, that it is troubled' and says also that the Echthroi, which he describes as `fallen angels', start all war. Then, we learn that they threaten `the balance of the entire universe' and later that `Charles Wallace is the point of equilibrium'. (I did say he was a special kind of child.) The note of bewilderment in Mrs Murry's comments isn't surprising. Nobody who looks at the world like that can hope to understand it.

In terms of sales, Watership Down has been one of the most successful novels for children in recent years. When he came to write it, Adams, as a great admirer of Kipling, followed the approach to animal characters adopted in the jungle Books. On the face of it, Adams's story tells of how several buck rabbits leave a warren about to be destroyed, travel across country, meeting dangers on the way and then finally settle in a new home. It's also possible to agree with Justin Wintle who says, in The Pied Pipers, that 'Watership Down creates the illusion of an autonomous world that runs itself through the


only, and therefore best, means available.' Because of this, he calls it `the opposite of escapist literature'. Adams says the book is about discipline and leadership and that it's not a political book. So where are we? At one point, the rabbits whose adventures we follow are listening to the story of the extermination of their former companions in the old warren. Adams compares the listeners to `primitive humans' and comments, `While the story was being told, they heard it without any of the reserve or detachment that the kindest of civilised humans retains as he reads his newspaper.' This smug and complacent sentence is, unfortunately, the key to much of Adams's writing. There is, in Watership Down, the social level, pointed up in the battle between the highly authoritarian and military warren of Efrafa with its chief, General Woundwort and the little band led by Hazel (a buck rabbit) who's clearly the `good' leader. Then there's what might be called the religious super-structure. We read of `the Black Rabbit of Inle' who `is fear and everlasting darkness'. On the other hand, there's Lord Frith, the rabbit god, who appears to be the sun. At the end, he comes for Hazel who's taken up into heaven. Thus, Hazel's leadership is sanctioned and the seal of approval put upon his organisation of the new warren from the treatment of does as breeding objects to the authoritarian junta of the bucks. To say that rabbits are like this is beside the point, in terms of the story. Adams makes them free one of their members from a trap and, at another point, organise an escape down a river on a punt. Most important, in Efrafa, he makes rabbits set up a police state. He didn't have to present Hazel's warren as the best possible world.

Shardik, Adams's second novel, published in 1974, presents a kind of original sin. Radu, one of the main characters, puts it into words: `Cruelty and evil - they're not very far down in anyone. It's only a matter of digging them up, you know.' Although Adams has called Shardik `an attempt to write a major, large-scale, tragic novel for children', it wasn't issued as a children's novel, by the publisher. Presumably, this is because of the cruelty and evil which he digs up and presents to the reader and perhaps also because of a preoccupation with

I54 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

all kinds of bodily excretions. Not that this could be objected to if it served any useful purpose - but Adams is just concerned to show how awful people are. He's just rubbing the reader's nose in it. The author's also claimed that 'Shardik is a spiritual, a religious novel.' There are several clues as to what kind of religion this is but there are no surprises, considering the sentence quoted above about the `civilised human' reading `his' newspaper. It's a kind we recognised in Bunyan and that we'll see again in Lewis. At one point in Shardik, the writer interrupts the story to offer up a prayer :`Save us, 0 God, only place us where we may see the sun and eat a little bread until it is time to die, and we will ask nothing more. And when the snake devours the fallen fledgling before our eyes, then our indifference is Thy mercy.' We can recognise religion used here as a protection for the self against pain and suffering in the world. It's interesting that the example Adams chooses is one that's natural and unavoidable, however unpleasant. He makes no distinction, here or elsewhere, between this kind of suffering and the avoidable kind due to human circumstances. The attitudes we've been examining are summed up by Adams himself who says, `I never think, could the world be different? Might the world be different? I could never do that at all.' In another statement of his, we can see the reason for this :`I believe there are fixed moral values from the time of Plato onwards, and that right and wrong have been revealed to us for all time by Our Lord Jesus Christ.' The group indicated by `us' in that sentence seems to be a restricted one as a further quotation from Adams reveals: `Next to our salvation by Our Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest blessing that we all, as Englishmen, have in common is that Shakespeare was an Englishman who wrote in English.' This serves to remind us of how patriotism has endured as a part of religion.

Lastly, as far as Adams is concerned, his style gives an interesting indication of mental outlook as it does with so many writers. It's a very formal, rather pedantic style incorporating several ancient literary devices such as the classical simile which is used to the point of utter boredom in Shardik.


Lewis, as a child, lost his belief at his third preparatory school, but as an adult, came to believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God one morning when being driven to Whipsnade Zoo. He's been the most obvious propagandist of religion in children's fiction in recent times and his books, especially the seven comprising the Narnia series, are currently popular favourites. Surprised by joy, his spiritual autobiography, shows a preoccupation with his own inner life as great as Bunyan's in Grace Abounding but without the clarity. This self-absorption excludes consideration of other people and even of the first world war, in which he served and was wounded: `It is too cut off from the rest of my experience and often seems to have happened to someone else. It is even in a way unimportant.' This strange attitude can be seen again in The Screwtape Letters, a series of imaginary letters from one devil, Screwtape, to another, Wormwood, who's been given the task of damning someone's soul during the second world war. Screwtape writes, `The history of the European War, except in so far as it happens now and then to impinge upon the spiritual condition of one human being, was obviously of no interest to Screwtape.' It wasn't of interest to Lewis, either, except in so far as it affected his `spiritual' state. This is the old, old story - religion as a retreat from great moral and political problems, if not a distraction from them. Another main element of his ideology should be singled out here as it's so important in Lewis's fiction for children. In his book, Miracles, he states, `Naturalism gives us a democratic, Supernaturalism a monarchical, picture of reality.' Now, as might be expected, Lewis believes in the supernatural. In fact, in this book, he starts by assuming its existence, then he calls it `God', then he moves to God as creator of nature (though this cannot, he says, be `proved as rigorously as God's existence') and lastly to God's power to interfere with nature and create a miracle. Easy. It is, however, with this strange, medieval outlook in mind that we have to approach his work for children.

First, there's his science fiction trilogy, beginning with Out of the Silent Planet. In this book, the deeply pessimistic original sin comes up again in a slightly different way.

156 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

Ransom, the hero, is on Mars and learns from the Oyarsa (a kind of god assigned to a planet) that Earth, unlike other planets is `outside the heaven'. This is why it's the `silent planet'. Its Oyarsa `became bent', or evil, before there was any life on Earth. From Perelandra, the second of the trilogy, we learn that Earth also has `Dark Eldila' - a kind of spirits. In this book, Lewis tells of how on Venus, the `Green Lady' and the `King' are awaiting Maleldil (the supreme god) who's to come from `Deep Heaven'. Here, as elsewhere, Lewis is unable, it seems, to think in nonaristocratic and non-hierarchical terms - the Green Lady is very regal and the animals of Venus are her `slaves'; Ransom bows before her; she gives him an `audience'. She turns out to be a kind of Eve and is tempted, in a rather boring passage about thirty-five pages long, by Professor Weston who has been taken over by the devil. Weston says he'll introduce her to `Death' and promises that she'll be `even wiser and more beautiful than the women of [his] own world'. Ransom is present during this time and obvious parallels with the Genesis story are drawn. The hero draws our attention to `that unhappy division between soul and body which resulted from the Fall'. After long deliberations over what he should do, Ransom decides to fight the devil-inhabited Weston, now referred to as `the Unman'. Then, remembering boxing at his preparatory school, Ransom `delivered a straight left with all his might on the Unman's jaw'. This puts the devil down but he's not out. In the next round, however, Ransom smashes his face `in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' and the devil goes down for the count. This, however, doesn't seem to reduce the general air of gloom and pessimism. On Earth, there's still `A thickened air as full of the Darkened as Deep Heaven is of the Light Ones' and the `prisoners' there talk `in their divided tongues'. A few pages later we read, `Earth has been besieged, an enemy-occupied territory, since before history began.' Ransom is the `Saviour' of Venus, however.

That Hideous Strength is the last of the trilogy. I found it in the junior department of my local public library, although


Lewis described it as `a modern fairy tale for grown-ups'. It tells of how Ransom, along with an assorted elite including the resurrected Merlin, puts down an attempt, by a devil-inspired group of scientists, to take over Britain. The royal element is carried on - Ransom says, unsurprisingly, `in the order of Britain I am the King's man' - and at the end, after the evil has been defeated, there's a strange royal ceremonial. The women choose `robes of state' for themselves. One has to have a coronet. Then, there's a dinner which includes wine, goose, oysters and plum pudding after which they sit in their court dresses with `Ransom crowned'. These three books were first published during the most troubled years of this century, the first of them in t938 and the last in 1945

The books dealing with the imaginary land of Narnia were originally published, one each year, from 1950 to 1956. The first one, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is still probably the most popular. It tells how the young Lucy steps through the wardrobe in which she had hidden, to find herself in Narnia where she meets a faun who calls her `a Daughter of Eve'. The mixed mythology which forms the background to the series is mainly Jewish/Christian with certain elements from classical and Teutonic. The first book is an allegory of the story of Christ's death and resurrection with Aslan, the lion, representing Christ. At the beginning, Aslan brings the spring to Narnia, long held in the grip of winter and under the power of the White Witch, self-styled Queen of Narnia. Aslan is `King', `Lord' and `King of the wood and the son of the great Emperorbeyond-the-sea'. One of the four children involved, Edmund, becomes a traitor and joins the White Witch. Therefore, his life is forfeit to her by `the Emperor's Magic' but Aslan lays down his own life and so redeems Edmund. On the way to death, Aslan is taunted, reviled and humiliated by the assortment of nasty creatures serving the White Witch. Lewis refers to the whole scene in a letter to Thomas Howard: `The reason why the Passion of Aslan sometimes moves people more than the real story in the Gospels is, I think, that it takes them off their guard. In reading the real story the fatal knowledge that one ought to feel in a certain way often inhibits the feeling.' Aslan is resurrected and the four children are crowned kings and queens of Narnia.

158 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

In the next book, Prince Caspian, the only significance, for present purposes, is that the four children are recalled to Narnia to restore a rightful king to the throne with the help of Aslan. This maintains the connection between royalty and godhead."'

With The Voyage of the `Dawn Treader', however, reactionary views come more to the surface. We meet a new boy, the thoroughly nasty Eustace who,. amongst other things, is a republican. Obviously, he doesn't fit very well in royal Narnia and eventually he's turned into a dragon. However, Aslan turns him back again and Eustace gradually starts to become a `better' boy. The change back carries the kind of symbolic significance we've noted before in this chapter. Eustace slews two or three of his dragon's skins but then Aslan rips off the remaining ones and throws him into a pool. Here again is the symbol of the husk/shell/skin, the rebirth to a better life and the baptismal water.

In The Silver Chair, Lewis's reactionary social views are carried on and are even more apparent. First, he presents a travesty of a progressive school, which he calls `Experiment House' and then he ridicules it, often in asides like `(girls are not taught how to curtsey at Experiment House)'. Aslan's character is added to in this story. He's terrible, strong, uncompromising and wild and these characteristics continue to be emphasised in the series, especially in The Last Battle where it's repeatedly stressed that Aslan is `not tame'. A powerful god, the believer helpless in his grasp - the picture is familiar from religious writing of all periods. The abandonment of personal responsibility, with religion as an excuse, is another way of looking at it. In The Silver Chair, there's still a royal framework. The task this time, carried out by Jill, a girl new to the series, along with Eustace, is to restore a lost prince to the land of Narnia. Eustace, recalling Ransom in That Hideous Strength says, `I'm the King's man'. After the quest, they return from Narnia to begin reforming their school, Experiment House.

The Supernatural t59

Royalty is still very much in the forefront in The Horse and his Boy, which is, however, one of the less religious books of the series. Shasta, the `boy' of the story, is discovered to be Prince Cor of Archenland, a country near Narnia. He speaks, surprisingly, public school English. `Father's an absolute brick', he says. This underlines another aspect of the series. In spite of the travels far and wide in lands of fancy, we never really leave upper-middle-class England.

The sixth book of the series, The Magician's Nephew, is the first in order of time because it tells of the creation of Narnia by Aslan. The lion, heralded by heavenly music, enters singing and another evil witch has to recognise a magic stronger than hers. The story is interesting because it gives good examples of the hints, allusions and partial comparisons that are typical of the series. In the chapter called `The Founding of Narnia', Aslan takes two of each kind of beast, touches them and makes them talking beasts. The boy in the story, Digory, known as `son of Adam' has brought an evil witch into a Narnia resembling the garden of Eden. The `cabby' and his wife, brought from the real world, are made king and queen of Narnia and given dominion over the talking beasts. The witch tempts Digory with an apple, saying it's `the apple of youth, the apple of life'. After the first book in the series, the allegory is neither particularly close nor ordered. Parallels in material, however, are not so important as the general outlook.

The series ends with The Last Battle which is again a mixture with recognisable hints and allusions here and there. For instance, when Shift, the ape, is making use of a stable to deceive people, Lucy remarks, `In our world . . . a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.' (Lewis often signals points of this kind with capital letters.) Aslan is referred to as `the good Lion by whose blood all Narnia was saved'. Quotations such as this illustrate how the allegory, especially after the first book, is in certain passages and in details rather than in the overall picture. Other elements, such as the emphasis on royalty, reflect Lewis's personal quirks more than anything else. This emphasis persists in the last book

i6o Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

where we have King Tirian, the good beasts and the children pitted against the forces of evil. The end of the story is also the end of the world of Narnia. Aslan presides over the judgement after the trump of doom has been sounded. All the animals, mythical beasts and other creatures stream towards him and look into his face. Those who look in his face and love him go


 Day of Judgement from `The Last Battle'

through the `Door'. The others fall away to the left of the doorway in Aslan's shadow and we don't know what becomes of them. (See illustration.) The `good' ones now find themselves in a kind of heaven though it's referred to as the `real' Narnia. The Narnia they'd known before, we're told, `was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here : just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world.' `The Lord Digory' says this and adds, `It's all in Plato, all in Plato.'


 Here, persisting in only a slightly different form, is the religious idea we've been following throughout - the next world is the `real' one, the one that matters. Correspondingly, our attention is diverted from this world, the scene of so much needless suffering. Of course, it all links up in Lewis. Naturally, it ; follows that two world wars had no noticeable effect on him. But it doesn't stop there. The effect of this kind of ideology is to resist change. The Narnia books encompass about a thousand years of Narnian history, but they remain, throughout, fixed in an approximation of the Middle Ages, like the author. At the, end of the book, the band of the saved meet long-dead friends outside the golden gates and then go through into a beautiful garden. In the centre is a tree with a Phoenix sitting in it and beneath `were two thrones and in those two thrones a King and Queen so great and beautiful that everyone bowed down before them'.

The form and the approach of the writers in this group might seem very different from that of the writers I dealt with earlier in this chapter. In fact, they're a good deal more subtle. But what differences are there, really, in ideology? Here again, we've seen political quietism, antagonism towards ordinary  people, royalism, patriotism, original sin and selfishness - in fact, all the familiar characteristics of religion.

Here below, at long last, there are signs of change. Twopence a Tub, by Susan Price, is a novel first published in 1975 and suitable for anyone from about twelve upwards. In it, we can see that children's fiction, as regards religion, has grown up at last. Jek and Shanny are the two young men at the centre of this story which takes place near Dudley, about the middle of the nineteenth century. It's a story of a ragged people, living in hovels, who are caught between endless toil and grinding poverty and of how some of them struggle for something better. Jek, although basically he supports the strike for a rise in wages to twopence per tub of coal, keeps thinking of the suffering caused to people not directly involved and even thinks the blacklegs have a right to their views. However, he meets Rachel, a nailer's daughter who can read and she makes it clear to him that it's `The Cause' that matters. Reenee, Jek's mother, is

162 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

against the strike and so is her father who says, `Strike's against God and it's against man' and, furthermore, he tells Jek, `It'll have thee damned to Hell and the eternal flames and darkness.' Jek's grandfather, as a Methodist, supports the established order. `How can there be fires and dark at the same time, Grandad?' Jek asks, reasonably. `By God's will', is the reply. The old man has absorbed the church's teaching only too well. He goes on,

this strike is against His laws ... God made all of us, Gaffers an' men. And He made the Gaffers Gaffers, and He made us like we are - now thee'm trying to alter that. Thee'm trying to rise above tha station, an' that's wrong, in God's eyes, that's a sin. Thee should be obeyin' tha rightful masters, that God chose and set over thee, to rule thee according to His will . . . When thee fight tha rightful masters, then thee'm fightin' God Hisself - and He'll damn thee for it.14

Jek's questions are very much to the point: `God wants us to live like this, Grandad? He don't want us to have anything better?' Of course, he gets no answers and exclaims, `I thought God was supposed to love we V

The climax of the book comes with the funeral of four strikers, buried alive when digging into an old slag-heap to try to find some usable coal. The clergyman in his sermon, starting from afar off with biblical references, gradually draws nearer and nearer to the point he wants to make - that the deaths are God's punishment for the sin of going on strike. Gradually, the older colliers and, shortly afterwards, Jek, begin to see the drift of the sermon. At last, the clergyman puts his message into words, threatening: `I f this wicked strike does not end soon, we can look to see another visitation of the cholera, which ...' But, at this point, he's interrupted as the miners, one by one, and snatching the Gaffer's expensive wreaths from the coffins as they go, leave the church and throw the wreaths in the mud outside. However, Jek, although he'd been close behind his dad, who had led the walk-out, is still confused and miserable:


`It took the church to rub holy salt into the wound.' He flees to Rachel to sort things out. She says, `Why do they pick on this accident and say it's a punishment from God? To frighten thee, so thee'll never be naughty and strike again, that's why.' Jek's happy to agree and feels even more affection for Rachel. The author doesn't compromise on the ending. It's an open one, not very happy, and this in itself is something new in children's fiction. The strike's broken and the colliers go back, to longer hours and a cut in wages. The Union Man, already evicted, is refused work. For Jek, there's only a lasting resentment, and the thought of Rachel.

With the writers who make use of fantasy in their work, it's very important to ask ourselves just what they're saying. As for most of the others dealt with in this chapter, if the judgement they preached awaited them and if the sufferings of all the dead children were charged against them, they would have a lot to answer for.

NB The dates from here may need editing to correct scanning errors of numerals e.g. most dates are 1900s

References and Notes for Chapter 4

I. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Chapter 5. The edition I have gives neither publisher, date, printer nor even editor, although there are copious notes. It has been handed down in my working-class and, until recently, (Wesleyan) Methodist family and was, apparently, given to an unfortunate relative of mine, when he was four, in 18952. Rev Legh Richmond, The Young Cottager, London, T.Nelson & Sons 1876, PP-7-8.

3. Catherine Sinclair, Holiday House, London, Hamish Hamilton I972, p.xv.

q.. 'Hesba Stretton' (i.e. Sarah Smith), Jessica's First Prayer, London, Religious Tract Society undated, p.7I.

5. 'Hesba Stretton' (i.e. Sarah Smith), Little Meg's Children, London, Religious Tract Society undated, pp. IOI-02.

I64 Catching Them Young with Political Ideas

6. I've come across three other closely parallel scenes : in Jackanapes by Mrs J.H.Ewing, in Tom Merry and Co. at the Fair (from The Gem magazine) by `Frank Richards' (i.e. Charles Hamilton) and in Psmith in the City by P.G.Wodehouse. These were published between I8'79 and I g I o. 7. Compare (in Vol. I) Katy, p.I I and Eustacia, p.22 two more sex-role rebels condemned to beds of pain by their authors. 8. Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies, London, Dent I97I, Pp. I 8-I g.

9 Compare (in Vol. I) the Sleeping Beauty's words to Bumpo, p. 106

I0. Compare Jessica, pp.I36-I37.

I I. Such usages here should be considered alongside those mentioned in the context of racism. See Vol. I pp.94-95

I2. J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, London, Allen and Unwin 1972, P.5'7.

I3. Historically, this connection is seen in the divine right of monarchs, a literally irresponsible exercise of power, still reflected today in most British institutions. I4. Susan Price, Twopence a Tub, London, Faber & Faber

I975~ P.27.


Select Bibliography

This is a list of the books I found most useful as providing background information for my study. The place of publication is London unless otherwise stated.


F.J.Harvey Darton, Children's Books in England, Cambridge University Press I958.

Percy Muir, English Children's Books r6oo-rgoo, Batsford I954

Justin Wintle and Emma Fisher, The Pied Pipers, Paddington Press I974

I. Comics : More EEK ! than TEE-HEE

Les Daniels, Comix: a History of Comic Books in America, Wildwood House I973.

Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck, New York : International General Ig75Gillian Freeman, The Undergrowth of Literature, Panther I g6g.

Gershon Legman, Love and Death, New York : Breaking Point I 94g.

George Orwell, `Boys' Weeklies' in Sonia Orwell and Ian


1.Angus (eds), The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol. I, Secker and Warburg Ig68. Frederic Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, Museum Press Ig55


2. Enid Blyton and her Sunny Stories

Enid Blyton, foreword to A Complete List of Books: Enid Blyton, Edinburgh : John Menzies undated (I95o?).

Enid Blyton, The Story of my Life, Pitkins undated (I952?). Barbara Stoney, Enid Blyton, Hodder and Stoughton Ig'74..

3. Empire : Fiction Follows the Flag

Valerie E.Chancellor, History f or their Masters, Bath : Adams and Dart I97o.

Morton Cohen, Rudyard Kipling to Rider Haggard, Cranbury (New Jersey) : Associated University Presses Ig65. Patrick Howarth, Play up and Play the Game, Eyre Methuen I973

Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself, Macmillan I93'7. Margaret Lane, Edgar Wallace, Heinemann undated (I938?). Edgar Wallace, People, Hodder and Stoughton Igz6.

q,. The Supernatural : Religion, Magic and Mystification R.D.Altick, The English Common Reader, Chicago : University of Chicago Press Ig57

W.K.Lowther Clarke, A History of the SPCK, Society for Promoting Christian l~nowledge I95g.

John Vine Hall, The Sinner's Friend, H.R.Allenson undated (IgI I ?).

Gordon Hewitt, Let the People Read, United Society for Christian Literature I94g.

Jack Lindsay, John Bunyan, Methuen I937.

R.H.Tawney, Religion and the Rise o f Capitalism, Harmondsworth : Penguin I 938.

E.P.Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, Harmondsworth : Penguin I g68.




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