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Enid Blyton - Problematic Writing

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

Enid Blyton's books made up most of my childhood. She ignited my passion for reading and I could never forget her. A few years ago, I wouldn't read any books written by other authors since I was so addicted to her books. Now, I read other books and almost completely stopped reading Famous Five, Mallory Towers and her other books which I continuously read a few years ago. Why, you ask? Here's why.

PS : Read till the end, or you may be angry.

Her books have some ideas about gender and race which aren't exactly right. This gender stereotyping is one of the main reasons why I stopped reading her books. It says that men are the strong ones, the money earners, while women are mostly portrayed as housewives and caretakers. This absolutely drives me crazy as I strongly believe in gender equality.

It also mentions that only the 'white' or the fair-skinned are pure. Even in 'The Little Black Doll', the character Sambo is accepted by the its owner only after its face is 'cleaned' by the rain. This describes black skinned people as impure, which is again incorrect.

Now, when I read her books, I absolutely loved them. I was around 9 when I did so. About a year later, news articles started to come in that Enid Blyton's books aren't that great for children. People asked me not to read, but I loved Enid Blyton and I refused to stop reading her work. Slowly, I read most of her books, and moved on to other authors and books too. Here's a link where I wrote about that in detail : Why did I read other books?

When I started reading other books where gender was treated equally like Divergent, Hunger Games, etc, I realised how much Enid Blyton had strayed from the truth. Now, even when I want to try her books again, I just get frustrated while reading some of the parts.

I feel that these books can still be read, but not by the young kids, who can be easily influenced by the books. They may get the wrong idea of gender, race, etc. Teenagers, on the other hand may already have their opinions and may not be influenced by Enid Blyton's books, and I think they can read it, that is, if they want to.

Now, I do not entirely blame Enid Blyton. These books were written a long time ago, and at that time, this was the world. At that time, her views were probably accurate. Now, the world has changed a lot, and it isn't her fault. We should use these books to have an idea of the past world and read her books without a grudge in out hearts, remembering that it was written a long time ago.

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