Ballet Shoes (was RE: DWJ sans frontiers)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Jun 14 05:14:47 EDT 2005


>On Sun, 12 Jun 2005 minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
>|It's clear that "servant" or not, Nana is the matriarch, and
>|it is her decision on matters that is the final word, really.

deborah replied:

>I like the ambiguity of language you point out -- that's nice.  Though
>the servant ruling the household is nothing Streatfield doesn't use
>consistently. Hannah in Dancing Shoes before grandfather dies,
>Peaseblossom from Movie Shoes, Annie from Tennis Shoes. (Sorry, I only
>know the "Shoes" titles, not the original titles.)

Eeek!  I didn't realise they'd done *that*!  I think I prefer *The Painted
Garden* to *Movie Shoes* as a title.  But Peaseblossom is no way a servant,
not at all, she's "part of the family, a friend of the children's mother".

I suspect from having once read her autobiography that Noel Streatfeild had
a rather unsympathetic mother and desperately longed as a child for a
strict but *fair* maternal figure instead.  Her mother's preference for her
siblings over her in her childhood does seem to have been pretty overt.

There's another "Nana" in Streatfeild's work, in *White Boots* -- and if
they have turned that title into *Skating Shoes* I may have to scream.
That Nana is "powerless" in the face of her employer's caprices about the
child in her charge, except that she can't easily be sacked, and she is not
in fact obeying her employer's wishes in regard to the child but working
for what she sees as the child's best interests, in alliance with
practically everyone else in the book.

>Minnow, you also remind me of the parallel with Peter Pan's Nana.  Nana
>is so smart and loyal for a dog, and Streatfield books have enough of
>an underlying wicked sense of humor, that I can't help seeing that
>connection as well.

Hadn't thought of that at all, I'll admit.  I have a blind spot on *Peter
Pan*, having missed it as a child and not found it anything but rather
mawkish when I came across it later.

>-Petrova.  er, Deborah

WAINS?  :-)

Minnow (didn't want to fly, wanted to drive fast cars well and be a mechanic)


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