Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Anne vs George

I had a recent (brief) conversation on Twitter with my friend Lauren (@thereadingbrow) about whether or not you'd rather be Anne or George from the Famous Five. Leaving aside the fact that I would love to be anyone from the Famous Five because they get to eat ham sandwiches and ginger cake while sleeping in old lighthouses and things like that; it didn't take me long to come up with Anne as my answer. Now the series has gotten a lot of slack over the years for its portrayal of Anne who always sets up the camp, cooks lunch and is generally frightened whenever they come across burglars/escaped prisoners/evil scientists. All this says to me is that Anne is a well rounded individual (likes cooking AND capturing escaped convicts!) who is very sensible to be frightened when faced with a notorious criminal. If I came across a gold thief in my tent/cave/caravan stealing my ginger beer you can bet that I'm going to be scared. Surely it says more about Anne's courage that in spite of her fear she was able to keep up adventuring with the (foolishly?) fearless Julian, Dick & George. How brave is your adventuring really if you're not scared of the kidnappers you're spying on?

Instead of analysing Anne to death, lets have a look at the others. We have Julian & Dick (who are really a product of their time) who expect Anne to keep up with them all day long traipsing around the country side and then set up camp at night as well - I think that Sarah Jessica Parker movie 'I Don't Know How She Does It' about being a working mum was probably based on Anne from the Famous Five. And then we have George who dresses like a boy, walks like a boy, has 'boyish' hobbies who is so desperate NOT to be a girl that you'd think there was nothing about the gender to recommend itself. What does it say about George that she has to act like a boy to be brave, while Anne recognises that it's possible to be a girly hero and still like dolls. Finally we have Timmy the dog - I have no problems with him.

Obviously it is actually Enid Blyton who we should be worrying about here seeing as she gave voice to Anne, George, Julian & Dick but seeing as in a majority of all her other books we have female protagonists being cool, whether it is at boarding school or up a tree, it is hard for me to believe that Enid would have just been writing Anne into a generic 'weak girl'.
What about you? Are you George or Anne? Think I'm reading stuff that isn't there just because I want to like Anne because we have the same hair? Do you agree with me?  

1 comment:

  1. I like Anne. But I want to be George. Actually, I want to Ganne (sounds German and interesting, doesn't it?). This reminds me of a conversation with my closest friend who shares a passion for Nancy Mitford books. We asked each other, "would you rather be Fanny or Melinda?" We decided Mefinda would be best.