Get Empire's Children: Empire and Imperialism in Classic British PDF

Childrens Literature

By M. Daphne Kutzer

Empire's kids areas vintage British kid's fictional texts into the cultural context of imperial Britain, targeting subject matters of patriotism and imperialism from 1895 to approximately 1945. The publication starts off with Rudyard Kipling and ends with Arthur Ransome, studying the the most important years from the peak of Britain's empire on the finish of the 19th century to its waning years sooner than the second one international battle. Empire's young children explores the way in which that British imperialist developments lingered into kid's texts good into the Nineteen Eighties. different writers tested contain Frances Hodgson Burnett, E. Nesbitt, A.A. Milne and Hugh Lofting, all of whom proceed in print and all of whom have been tremendously renowned and well-regarded authors in their time.

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Additional resources for Empire's Children: Empire and Imperialism in Classic British Children's Books (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities)

Example text

The adult/child relationship at first seems reversed, with Kim taking on the role of protector. But when Kim is discovered to be British and must go to school, it is the lama who provides his school fees, thus putting Kim back in the role of child and making the lama a kind of father figure. Kim is genuinely fond of the lama, but part of his attraction to the old man is based on the colonial urge for possession and appropriation. Tellingly, it is outside the Lahore museum that Kim first makes the acquaintance of the lama: “This man was entirely new to all his experience, and he meant to investigate further, precisely as he would have investigated a new building or a strange festival in Lahore city.

Like other noble savages, Avatea has a number of admirable qualities that link her to the civilized, Western world, even though she is clearly native and Other and not meant to be seen as an equal to Westerners. Savages and natives in general are appealing characters to children. Savages live outdoors rather than indoors; they don’t pay much attention to 8 Empire’s Children physical cleanliness; they wear few clothes or clothes that are more like costumes than like pinafores or trousers; they live closely with animals; they are crafty and have skills that allow them to win over competitors.

One way of justifying one’s actions is to demonize the native population (something Ballantyne does well) and another is to idealize the reasons underlying the conquest of foreign lands. Many writers suggest that monetary gain is only a pleasant side-effect of imperial intervention, and what the adventurers are really doing is both spreading civilization and upholding the values of dear and distant England, often personified as a female figure, either as Queen Victoria or other emblematic figures.

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