Monday, December 03, 2007

Miscarriages of justice and other indignities

This guilty pleasure comes to me via HipWriterMama:

Even though I knew it was the right thing for Marmie to entreat Jo to forgive Amy for destroying her manuscript in a petty, jealous rage, I still felt Amy got off lightly in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Was Amy flogged? Did Marmie ground Amy for life? I don't think so. Later on, when Amy got to go on the trip to Europe that Jo rightfully should have had, my contempt for the youngest March sister increased. Clearly, the unjust had the just's umbrella.*

Other instances of miscarriages of justice abound in children's literature. In John Fitzgerald's Great Brain series, John (the protagonist) often gets into trouble on account of the antics of his older brother, Tom, who is the "Great Brain" of the series. However, in one of the books, John refuses to take part. The Great Brain gets punished for his latest bit of mischief, but get this, John gets punished too. John's father says something to the effect of, "If you had gone along with your brother, the mischief wouldn't have happened [Editor's note: AS IF!], so you're getting the Silent Treatment as well."

Can you think of other instances in children's books that made you irate because what you perceived to be unfair treatment? Please post your thoughts in the comments.

*The rain, it raineth every day
Upon the just and unjust fella;
But more upon the just, because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella.
-Ogden Nash


limpy99 said...

I read all of The Great Brain books way back when. Apparnetly they were true stories from the author's youth, and Tom really pulled all that crap. I always sort of hoped that the author whaled the tar out of Tom when he got older, but if he did, he never felt the urge to publish it.

Also, those kids could get ice cream sundaes for a nickel. I was jealous.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: There's a chance that the Great Brain got his act together when he was older. However, what about the dad? It's the dad I feel most uncharitable toward! Now, I'm going to see if there are some good biographical articles on the author out there...

bookbk said...

I always felt like the Great Brain's parents were being actually kind of mean with that Silent Treatment business.

I always agreed with Claudia in "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" that she wasn't treated exactly fairly at home, what with having to empty all the garbages and all. I'm trying to think of some more blatant examples, though

Lone Star Ma said...

Well, let's not forget that Amy got Laurie, too - not that he was such a prize but you do not do your sister's former beaus!

Anne Shirley was forever getting in trouble just for being herself.

And, of course, there was the evil man with the yellow hat's abduction of that poor little monkey.