[DWJ] corporal punishment

Helen Schinske hschinske at aol.com
Wed Mar 9 13:00:41 EST 2011

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gili Bar-Hillel" <hptranslator at gmail.com>
To: <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 9:25 AM
Subject: [DWJ] corporal punishment

> Dear DWJers,
> I'm straying off topic, but this list is so wonderful for identifying 
> books
> that I can't help myself.
> I'm trying to remember a book in which a schoolgirl gets caned across the
> palms of the hands. It's something like "What Katy Did" or "Anne of Green
> Gables"... Her hands hurt so badly she can hardly hold a pencil 
> afterwards.
> Does anyone remember such a scene?

Amy is "ferruled" (hit on the palms with a ruler) for the pickled lime 
episode in _Little Women_, but it says the blows were "neither many nor 
heavy, but that made no difference to her. For the first time in her life 
she had been struck, and the disgrace, in her eyes, was as deep as if he had 
knocked her down." (It's interesting that apparently it would have been a 
disgrace to HER for HIM to knock her down, rather than the focus being on 
how disgraceful it would be for HIM.) It's possible you conflated this 
incident with one in which the child really was badly hurt.

> And in general, I'm looking for references in works of fiction to children
> being punished by adults, in particular memoirs and fiction from the 19th
> century, punishment at school, and corporal punishment. I've come up so 
> far
> with the paddling in "The Great Brain", Silas Marner sticking Eppie the 
> coal
> shed... I'm sure there are tons more that I can't recall right now. Help
> appreciated!

There's Norman being forced to thrash his little brother Tom in _The Daisy 
Chain_, and Felix doing the same by his much more obstreperous little 
brother Fulbert in _The Pillars of the House_.

Then Mr. Audley took leave; and as Felix went to the front door with him, he 
said, "Forgive me, Felix; but I am a younger brother myself, and I do hope 
you do not mean to assert your authority by licking."

Felix coloured a little; and though he spoke respectfully, it was with some 
little annoyance. "There is nothing else that does with Fulbert."

"Stay, Felix; I am not questioning that he may be the sort of boy for whom 
flogging may be good from some one."

"He is!" said Felix. "He never will behave himself till he has felt his 
master! It has been so at school; and once, even my father made himself 
quite ill for a week with having to flog Fulbert for disobedience. It 
settled him; but he is not like the others^—Clem and Lance are never any 
trouble; but—I know it will come to it sooner or later; Ful will never mind 
me or Wilmet till I have done it once."

"And when his strength is equal to yours?"

"Then I hope he will have more sense."

"Yes, Felix; but what if by forcing him into dogged submission by your 
bodily strength you have lost his confidence, and have no moral power over 
him? Things that can be borne from a father come very differently from a 

Felix was quite crimson now. "But what shall I do, Mr. Audley, when he 
defies Wilmet, and teazes Cherry and the little ones?"

"Try all you can with his better sense, but don't anger him by tones of 
authority. What you think needful rule may seem to him domineering. And if 
necessary, call me. My blows will not leave the after rankling that your's 
will, even if they are necessary."

Helen Schinske 

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