Wednesday, April 25, 2007

tomboys and misfits

I was thinking about characters in children's books on the way home last night. Which characters did you identify with?

In the Famous Five books (gosh, does anyone still read those antiquated imperialist books? does anyone else remember the Comic Strip send-up of them? "Lashings of ginger beer!") I identified with George, the tomboy. I once wrote a short story where she came out as a lesbian to the feeble and girly Anne.

In the Swallows and Amazons books, I identified with Titty (the slightly fey one) and Nancy (heroic pirate captain). In the Narnia books, it was Lucy (though I warmed to Susan when she took up archery). Why is it the sensible, practical ones who make the meals and ensure everyone has clean socks are always called Susan? In Little Women, I preferred Jo - the feisty, independent one who wanted to be a writer. I didn't like the books that much (too soppy), but Jo was a good character.

I can't think of any other characters I specifically identified with.


Joe said...

I always assumed George grew up to be a very butch lesbian. I don't think I ever identified with any of Enid Blyton's characters at all - tackled a lot of the Famous Five and Secret Seven etc, but even as a 6 year old I thought who the hell are these kids? Why is Fatty talking about Cook and Maid? Does he live in a huge estate? Even as a kid I just never got those characters at all.

So instead I identified more with Bugs Bunny.And Don Quixote. I still do. And today also Cyrano de Bergerac.

Yvonne said...

Mmm, well the male Famous Five kids were unspeakable.

Maybe George learned to access her feelings. She did love Timmy the dog, after all. I must say I wouldn't recommend the Famous Five to kids today, there's loads of better stuff out there.

These days I identify with myself... I think Doctor Who is really cool. I am also a great admirer of Olive Hawthorn (the witch in The Stones of Blood - the Pertwee episode with the evil Morris dancers).

Joe said...

Mr Supergeek is compelled to point out the Stone of Blood is the name of the one with the living standing stones who tackle Tom Baker's Doc along with Romana and K-9, sounds like you are thinking about The Daemons, which was the Pertwee one with the Doc and UNIT fighting the original Master and the ancient race of horned beasties called Daemons, as well as those nasty Morris Dancers (don't get that problem with Scottish Highland Dancers, you know!). He has help from a local white witch though and it has the immortal line from the Brigadier as he points to the living gargoyle and orders "chap with the wings, give rounds rapid fire".

Sadly I didn't even need to look any of this up, it is all stored in the brain after a lifetime of Who (my top Who story is that I met Tom Baker when I was 8 and he signed my Dr Who novels and gave me a jellybaby at an event. 20 years later I hosted an author talk when Tom was promoting his autobiography, 500 people of all ages waiting in the theatre as I'm sitting backstage with Tom! Yay!!!)

Yvonne said...

Good point, of course it was The Daemons. Congratulations, I bow to your übergeek status.