[DWJ] corporal punishment

Lucy Pearson lucy.r.pearson at googlemail.com
Wed Mar 9 13:42:51 EST 2011

There's a scene in 'Little Men' (Alcott) where Professor Bhaer makes Nat
cane him as a punishment for Nat's lying.

There's a famous scene of corporal punishment in Barry Hines' 'Kestrel For A
Knave' - famous because when they filmed 'Kes' they didn't tell the children
involved in the scene that they were going to really hit them. They
naturally reacted with the shock and pain the director was going for! (I'm
sure this could never happen now!)

In Rosa Guy's 'The Friends' the father hits Ruby with a strap in order to
punish her sister (the main character, whose name i can't recall) for
refusing to eat. It's a really powerful scene.

I seem to think that in Jacqueline Wilson's 'Diamond Girls' the middle class
mother canes her daughter, although this is very firmly presented as abusive
rather than corporal punishment - I'm not sure if that's slightly outside
your remit or not.

Dickens of course has several corporal punishment scenes - perhaps the most
memorable is the one in which David Copperfield bites Mr Murdstone.
'Nicholas Nickleby' is another obvious source.

In Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Farmer Boy' the teacher thrashes the big boys
with a whip after they plot to beat him him  - the trigger for the incident
is when he tries to cane one of them. And in one of the later Laura books (I
think it is Little Town on the Prairie, but I may be wrong), the new teacher
canes Willie Oleson, who has become a sort of idiot under the rule of the
previous teacher who can't maintain discipline (I am always really troubled
by the fate of Willie).

Apparently I know quite a few! Hope these help!


On Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 5:25 PM, Gili Bar-Hillel <hptranslator at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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?
> 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!
> Gili
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Dr, Lucy Pearson, Newcastle University
lucy.r.pearson at googlemail.com

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