Event Title

Victorian Restriction, Restrain, and Escape in the Children's Tales of Beatrix Potter

Location

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

Start Date

28-3-2011 4:30 PM

Description

PURPOSE: Since 1902, the works of Beatrix Potter have entertained children and adults of all ages; however, beneath these seemingly cheery tales, Potter’s stories suggest something a little darker. Her characters get tangled in nets, wrapped in pastry dough to be cooked, and often come dangerously close to death before barely escaping an untimely end. What would make Potter place her cute and cuddly characters in such dangerous situations? In what way has her Victorian upbringing influenced her works? What was the social atmosphere of England at that time and how was Potter commenting on it through her tales? How has Potter’s literature impacted the English landscape? Using Potter’s life—including her childhood, adulthood, and her legacy—as the basis for her stories, I have examined the forms of restriction, confinement, and escape in five of the children’s tales. PROCEDURES: Extensive research of current literature, including criticism and biographies, along with critical analysis of the text and images of five of the children’s tales. CONCLUSIONS: Beatrix Potter’s severe Victorian childhood has influenced the themes of restriction and escape cloaked in her children’s tales, and also acted as a catalyst in the preservation of the Lake District. IMPACT: Prior to this thesis, there had been no thorough examination linking the influence of Potter’s childhood to both the children’s stories and her legacy of land preservation in England’s rural Lake District.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 28th, 4:30 PM

Victorian Restriction, Restrain, and Escape in the Children's Tales of Beatrix Potter

Exhibition Hall, DeVos Center

PURPOSE: Since 1902, the works of Beatrix Potter have entertained children and adults of all ages; however, beneath these seemingly cheery tales, Potter’s stories suggest something a little darker. Her characters get tangled in nets, wrapped in pastry dough to be cooked, and often come dangerously close to death before barely escaping an untimely end. What would make Potter place her cute and cuddly characters in such dangerous situations? In what way has her Victorian upbringing influenced her works? What was the social atmosphere of England at that time and how was Potter commenting on it through her tales? How has Potter’s literature impacted the English landscape? Using Potter’s life—including her childhood, adulthood, and her legacy—as the basis for her stories, I have examined the forms of restriction, confinement, and escape in five of the children’s tales. PROCEDURES: Extensive research of current literature, including criticism and biographies, along with critical analysis of the text and images of five of the children’s tales. CONCLUSIONS: Beatrix Potter’s severe Victorian childhood has influenced the themes of restriction and escape cloaked in her children’s tales, and also acted as a catalyst in the preservation of the Lake District. IMPACT: Prior to this thesis, there had been no thorough examination linking the influence of Potter’s childhood to both the children’s stories and her legacy of land preservation in England’s rural Lake District.