Literature and Its Impact on My Childhood

The most formative books of childhood were books about orphans: The Secret Garden, Daddy-Long-Legs, Mandy (by Julie Edwards), and A Little Princess. All of them include little girls who are more or less forced to make it on their own in a harsh, hostile world for a while, but were rescued from a lonely, empty life in one way or another. In The Secret Garden, Mary was “rescued” by discovering beauty in the world she was forced to live in, first in a flower garden, and then in friendships with children her own age. In the latter three books, the girls were rescued by giant acts of love from strangers that showed itself in generosity and kindness. (Interestingly, at least one other book [Mandy] included finding beauty in flowers.)

I think all of these books taught me to carry a hope that all the world was not a cruel, hostile, dark place and that there would be figures of light and beauty along the way that would get me through the hard times. (Interestingly, I also believed in guardian angels at that age.)


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