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British Children's Fiction in the Second World War$
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Owen Dudley Edwards

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748616510

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748616510.001.0001

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(p.462) (p.463) 9 Class
British Children's Fiction in the Second World War

Owen Dudley Edwards

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter looks at the use of class in children's fiction during the war. It shows that J.R.R. Tolkien's story of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee was based on the most painful of British obsessions – class – and notes that the principle relies heavily on the master–servant tradition. The chapter reveals that after the war, many women were persuaded, on sexist grounds and amidst lack of employment opportunities, to get rid of most of the freedom they experienced during the war. Despite this, many maids did not return to the households they once served, although some children's writers did return as maids due to a sense of nostalgia. The chapter reveals some experiences of writers who worked as household helps and shows how they transferred their experiences into their novels.

Keywords:   class, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, British obsessions, master–servant tradition, household help

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