Sunday, 26 February 2017

That boarding school girl - a critique

I suppose the very first thing to say is writing a critique is not something I am accustomed to, not being a skill taught at my boarding school but having read That Boarding School Girl, I am able to make some comment upon the story and the style used by Dorita Fairlie Bruce.
One aspect of her writing style in this story and that of her Nancy at St.Brides is the way she describes the relationships in more full, personal way of the Sixth form, from whom the prefects are selected to that of the girls in form Vb and the maintenance of personal friendships.
There is a strong element of Protestant Christian morality running in terms how they girls behaviour is judged, the work ethic where Nancy raises the average of the form and also in the redemption of her moral character following her leaving St Brides after a number of serious incidents and of breaches of school rules.
In many ways, the message one gets is that honest hardworking endeavour as explorfied in her putting aside personal pleasure to ensure she is at the top of her subjects, that she does not let down herself, her Aunt and Grandmother.She redeems herself though hard work even if stubborn over not revealing just why she feels she has to work so hard and why St. Brides and her departed company even if it would of been better understood for being open about it.
Dorita touches on inter school feuds, a not uncommon fact of school life, and how the one between Maudsley, Nancy’s  school and of neighbouring  Larkiston while seen by some as tradition worth preserving had become both increasingly out of control with children being hurt and also losing any real meaning. Toward the end of of the book where the Head is able to bring a inter school cricket match between the two, you can see establishing a proper arena for such matters to be settled works.
Connected with this the idea of the moral and physical improvement through Guildry - the setting and in specting of  standards, of teaching first aid and nutrition and moral education is shown as a guild is established at Maudsley but off the premises and it is open to Larkiston children. Part of the aim was to bring together both sets of children and build bridges helping to end the feud.
Nancy through this term comes on from the unsocialized impulsive and immature for her age girl that was asked to leave St Brides to one who is beginning to mature, becoming an asset not least in the final pages where Charity Sheringham, whose hand was cut and strapped up unable to compete in the inter school cricket, is replaced by Nancy who leads the team to a memorable draw.
What makes these stories different and the more important in the canon of Girls Only fiction, having read Nancy at St. Brides too, is her use of biblical and literary  allusions together with more stretching vocabulary than many, being almost a junior fiction for the advanced reader that makes for a most rewarding read.

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