Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm George......They're Annes

As a child, I loved the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Nowadays many people see them as outdated with their 1950s mannerisms and values. But, to me, they represent an idyllic world where evil grownups can be outwitted by clever and righteous children.

I've blogged about how hard it is for me to fit into my second small town in three years.  I've wondered why I keep feeling like I don't fit in.  How strange that the good old Famous Five has provided the answer...

I'm like George.

I'm like George, and I'm surrounded by Annes who expect me to be Anne.

Let me explain...

I've always liked George as a character.  We are alike in many ways - stubborn, obstinate, prickly with a short fuse, unconventional, happy to be on our own,  we refuse to be put in a box, want adventures, and love animals.  Apparently the reason why she is one of Enid Blyton's best-loved characters is that is she is real!  Blyton has been criticised for creating two-dimensional characters, but she said that George is based on a girl she knew.  Later on, she came clean and admitted George is based on herself!

The first Famous Five book, Five on a Treasure Island, in my opinion, is the book which clearly displays George's character.  Being someone who hates people telling me to do things I don't like just because they like them, I could definitely relate to this passage:

"You'd like boarding school," said Anne.  "We all go.  It's fun."
"No, it isn't," said George obstinately.  "It must be awful to be one of a crowd and to have other girls all laughing and yelling round you.  I should hate it."
"No, you wouldn't," said Anne.  "All that is great fun.  It would be good for you, George, I should think."
"If you start telling me what is good for me, I shall hate you," said George, suddenly looking very fierce.  "Mother and Father are always telling me that things are good for me - and they are always the things I don't like."
(page 48)

Thr trouble is I am in a place that expects me to be like Anne.  People want me to 'play house'.  They are always pestering me to have kids.  But I am like George in that I want adventures - not scary ones involving smugglers and kidnappers, but I want to write, I want to create.  I want to be 'out there', I want to own heaps of animals.  I like my home, it is comfortable, but I'm not into interior decorating and homemaking the way I imagine Anne would be.  I'd like to have kids one day, but I'm not desperate to.  This puts me at odds with 'Annes' I meet in the country whose greatest desires seem to be marriage and motherhood.  Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with having those desires.  I love marriage, but I'm not really domestic and I prefer to keep my home simple.  I read somewhere on the internet that someone reckoned Anne would be the type of girl every woman would want for a daughter-in-law - but headstrong, obstinate, unfeminine George would be her in-laws' worst nightmare! :)

Now this post is not to praise George and put down Anne.  One is not better than the other.  There are George sins and there are Anne sins.  I'm also NOT saying that every woman who lives in the country loves homemaking like Anne.  There are many ways in which I'm NOT like George.  I find many of the things that George excels at (such as climbing and rowing) either difficult or plain terrifying, and while I enjoy swimming and would like to scuba dive one day, I'm certainly no great talent in those areas.  In many ways, I'm more like Anne - cowardly and timid.  I even look more like Anne.  While I loved watching football and playing cars growing up, I, like Anne, also liked dolls and never wished to be a boy.

But I find it irritating that there seems to be more of an 'Anne culture' in the country than in the city.  I'm sick of people nagging me to have kids.  I'm really not into scrapbooking or card-making and never will be.  It's like they're saying, "When are you going to become like us?"

I'm George, they're Annes.  Don't try and get me to conform, just let me be.  I told this to Duncan recently and he agreed that I'm definitely a George.

George certainly has many faults.  But she is very cool! :)

Images are from and

1 comment:

Karen said...

Other than my issue with them having a lovely long holiday whenever they were sick (!), I loved reading these books too. And my boys love reading them now so I am having a second childhood reading them again!

Anne was definitely the conservative conforming type. When I was reading these books, it used to irritate me when she wanted to opt out of everything. But I'm not sure I'm as free spirited and unconventional as George is maybe I'm on the middle ground?

Love those pictures too, by the way. I watched the TV series growing up in the 70s and thought it was so cool back then!?