10 October 2011

who do you blame when your kid is a brat?

OK, this has been shamefully late in coming, but I have an excuse – I have been busy bettering society. Really, I have. I have a new job, and it involves dispensing JUSTICE!!! (at least, that’s what I put on my census form, I couldn’t figure out a better description of my job. It gave me this awesome feeling of power just writing it). What with all my making the streets safe to walk again, Amelia Jane got dumped in a box in my room and forgotten. So it's time for a new story.

Anyway, I was going to do a Famous Five thing, but I ran into a problem: I don’t have the first book in the series. It’s a grave oversight, one which I intend to remedy at the earliest possible moment. In the meantime, I’ll give you the gems to be found in another of Enid’s school time classics:

The naughtiest girl in school.

Chapter 1

Enid has this fault of blaming all of the behavioural traits of a child on its disposition. The title ‘the naughtiest girl in school’ conjures up images of untold horror, a right little cantankerous ... sandwich, who is attacking the other children with her lacrosse stick and trashing books in the library because she feels like it. The reality, as you will soon see, is not so grave. Remember kiddies, we're dealing with Enid-esque naughtiness here: this is upper-class naughtiness ...

So here’s the set up. Elizabeth is a spoilt little rich kid, who has had a number of governesses to look after her. What her mother has been doing, no one knows (because of course she wouldn’t be working, that’s only for nasty common mothers) but she obviously needed help to look after her one child. Anyway, governess number six is going to go, and mummy’s at her wits’ end to know what to do, because, you see, mummy and daddy are going away on a holiday, and mummy can’t possibly be expected to look after the little brat while they’re away.

The solution? Pack her off to boarding school. Not just that, don’t tell her until you’ve organised the enrolment, got all her uniforms, given the staff notice and booked your non-refundable holiday tickets ... you only tell her when there’s less than a week before term starts. Then goad her when she, quite understandably, says she doesn’t want to leave the one place she has ever lived. That will show her how much you care.

I mean seriously, her parents are abandoning her to go gallivanting off ... somewhere. (They never say where they’re going, and as they’re grown-ups, Enid doesn’t much care. That’s not important: JK Rowling may kill her parental figures off, Blyton just packs them on a boat and hopes that they drown.) AND, they’re only going for a few weeks (they’re going to be back before half-term). How do you jump from “I need someone to look after my child while I’m away for a few weeks” to “let’s send our pre-pubescent child, who has had little to no contact with other children, to boarding school”. My own theory is that the parents attacked this issue while they were looking for accommodation for the family pets: the horse gets stabled, the dog is sent to a boarding kennel, the child goes to school where she’ll be fed and watered (presumably) and the parents can pick her up if and when it suits them ...
Wow, and we wonder why the kid is messed up?

Things to note:

Elizabeth is pretty, which means she’s set for Enidificaication (or indoctrination), because Enid cannot bear to have an ugly good person. People’s characters are determined by their looks.

The things Elizabeth will miss at home: Her dog, her canary, her pony. Some people have it tough. Show some sympathy for the poor dear.

Mummy: completely helpless. Looks to others to raise her child. Primary emotion is despair: when Elizabeth shows how naughty she can be by pinning stockings to the governess’ skirt, mummy despairs – “what are we going to do with her?”.

Daddy: mentioned, but completely absent – obviously he doesn’t want to deal with the brat either. Like most of Enid’s father figures, he wouldn’t dream of getting involved in a family cat fight.


  1. She pinned stockings to the governess's skirt? Outrageous!

    I always find it kind of hilarious that Enid writes all of these books for children in which her attitude towards raising them is completely obvious: absentee parenting. They have governesses! They go to boarding school! When they come home for holidays, they're sent to stay with distant relatives! In fact, children should spend next to no time whatsoever with their parents!

    I'm looking forward to reading more, when you can steal some more time from DISPENSING JUSTICE. :D

    (P.S. Sorry to be a pain, but would you be able to allow Name/URL commenting on your blog? None of the current ones really work for me, except LJ, which I don't really use as a public blog any more.)

  2. I've been trying to come up with a decent Blyton father, one who spends time with his kids. The best I can do is Bill Cunningham, from the Adventure books, and he is actually a step dad, and not even that until a few books in. He's in there as a plot facilitator rather than a father, in any case, just like Uncle Quentin. I suppose Mr Brown from the Galliano's Circus is ok, but he doens't have much personality.

    I wonder what Enid's father was like...

  3. Enid's dad walked out on the family when Enid was about 10ish - apparently she adored him and blamed her mother for his leaving, but after he left, he was basically dead to her.

    Katie, I'm not sure how to allow urls, but I will delve into the workings of my blog and find out ... hmmm the innards of my blog - do I really want to see undigested blyton?

  4. Hi Fen, also on technical matters, i checked a profile from the members list supposedly of myself and it has nothing whatever to do with me except for my name. How do i delete the information there? Thanks MargL

  5. You may have to report that to blogspot. I suspect that your details may have been copied and a fake account set up (check out my post "quick clarification" - it has a link to a blog that describes what has been going on).

    The same thing happened to me (as in someone stole the name of this blog and set up an account elsewhere) and the account was used to make inappropriate comments on other boards.

    I don't think that I have the ability to delete the account, so as I said, try reporting it to blogspot, who host this blog.