UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Narratives of transformation : orphan girls, dolls and secret spaces in children's literature Goerzen, Christy Sharon 2006

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_2007-0102a.pdf [ 5.57MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0101210.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0101210-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0101210-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0101210-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0101210-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0101210-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0101210-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

N A R R A T I V E S OF T R A N S F O R M A T I O N : O R P H A N G I R L S , D O L L S A N D S E C R E T S P A C E S IN C H I L D R E N ' S L I T E R A T U R E  by CHRISTY SHARON GOERZEN B . A . , Simon Fraser University, 1999  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF ARTS  in  T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES  (Children's Literature)  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A December 2006 © Christy Sharon Goerzen, 2006  Abstract M a n y critics working in the field o f literature for children have acknowledged the prevalence o f orphan characters, dolls and doll characters and "children-only" spaces in the literature. W h i l e many have discussed their significance separately, to the best o f m y knowledge no one has thus far examined how they can function and operate together in literature for children. This examination o f these formerly separate topics together is grounded in the question: H o w do dolls, secret spaces and the play associated with them function in literature for children such that the marginalized and displaced orphan girl characters therein undergo positive psychological transformation? M y study is based in literary and psychological analysis. The theoretical framework employs the play theories o f D . W . Winnicott and Erik Erikson, in conjunction with Gaston Bachelard's and Y i - F u Tuan's theories o f space. The methodology o f this study builds upon psychological analyses o f the orphan girl protagonists, within the context o f their secret space environments and their relationships with dolls in the novels. This thesis analyzes four distinct novels featuring orphan girl protagonists, secret spaces and dolls, and examines the forms o f psychological transformation experienced by each protagonist: Rumer Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Sylvia Cassedy's Lucie Babbidge's House, Enys Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e and Sylvia Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l . In each case, this positive outcome is encouraged and facilitated by the girl's relationship to her dolls and her place o f solace, or secret space. The patterns found here can point to ways o f discovering the psychological changes in other protagonists in literature for children, and how playthings and secret spaces can work to facilitate these changes.  11  Table of Contents  Abstract  ii  Table o f Contents  iii  Acknowledgements  iv  CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION  1  CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW  8  Theoretical Frameworks: Play and Space Play Theory: The Psychology of Child and Doll Interaction Special Places: Theories of Space Freud and Lacan: Psychoanalytical Frameworks  8 8 14 18  The Meaning o f Dolls and Secret Spaces: Histories, Contexts and Politics Experiential and Clinical Research on Children and Dolls The Significance of Dolls in Children's Literature Experiential and Clinical Research on Children and Childhood Spaces The Importance of Secret Spaces in Children's Literature  19 19 23 25 27  The Lost Girls: Forgotten, Displaced, Lonely, Troubled and Troublesome Orphans in Children's Literature  30  Critical Receptions o f Tregarthen, Cassedy and Godden  35  CHAPTER THREE: CONNECTIONS A N D CONTEXTS  39  Definition o f K e y Terms  39  The Scope o f the Discussion  43  The Role o f Secret Spaces in the Lives o f Fictional Orphan Girls...  43  The Role o f Dolls in the Lives o f Fictional Orphan Girls  47  Guys and Dolls: Orphan Boys, Toys and Secret Spaces  48  Selection o f the Primary Works and an Introduction to Their Analysis  51  C H A P T E R FOUR: MISS HAPPINESS A N D MISS F L O W E R A N D L U C I E B A B B I D G E ' S HOUSE: N A R R A T I V E S OF INTEGRATION A N D A W A K E N I N G 56 CHAPTER FIVE: T H E D O L L W H O C A M E A L I V E A N D BEHIND T H E ATTIC W A L L : N A R R A T I V E S OF T R A N S C E N D E N C E A N D OPENING 81 C H A P T E R SIX: C O N C L U S I O N  107  Works Cited  112  iii  Acknowledgements The work presented in this thesis would not have been possible without the support and assistance o f many people who deserve mention. I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Judy Brown, for her patience, thoroughness and thoughtfulness i n her feedback—I truly could not have completed this project without her assistance. M a n y thanks to Judi Saltman, not only for chairing the Master o f Arts in Children's Literature program, but also for her guidance in m y research as a member o f m y thesis committee. Thank you also to Jane Flick, for her valuable time and guidance as a member o f m y committee. To my parents and stepparents—Mum, Dad, Jim and Cindy—thank you for your constant encouragement in my educational and creative goals. Thank you to m y sisters Chay and Tara for their creativity, enthusiasm, contributions and for always knowing how to make me laugh. Thank you to m y friends and colleagues, including, but certainly not limited to Robyn Campbell, for patiently coaching me during many a wintry evening as I worked out m y thesis topic; Maryn Brown, for her eagle eyes and incredible insight; Laura Dodwell-Groves, for her great ideas; and Heather H i l l , for her magical and inspiring presence in m y life. Special thanks go to my partner, Joshua Robertson, for his unconditional love and kind words, from m y initial procrastination to this finished product.  iv  CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION "Orphans are a tangible reflection o f the fear o f abandonment that all humans experience. Orphans are outcasts, separated because they have no connection to the familial structure which helps define the individual." - Melanie K i m b a l l "I lived a very full and crazy life through m y dolls. I had full-on worlds for them, and I think it was just a way for me to do things that I wouldn't normally have the balls to do. There was something about being able to do things with m y dolls that I couldn't do in real life." - D o l l enthusiast Gina Garan (qtd. in Sims) "There may be a basic urge for each o f us to surround ourselves with a known, and hence, safe space to which we can retreat in times o f danger or difficulty." - Roger Hart  In their own unique ways, orphans, dolls and the secret spaces o f childhood have had a constant presence in literature for children. M a n y critics working in the field have acknowledged the prevalence o f orphan characters, dolls and doll characters and "childrenonly" spaces in theliterature. A s Sarah Ellis, Perry Nodelman and M a v i s Reimer outline i n their writings, orphan characters abound in children's literature. In her 1994 work When Toys Come A l i v e . Lois Kuznets points out that narratives featuring doll characters have figured prominently in literature for children, especially British and North American literature o f the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Gaston Bachelard and Susan Honeyman discuss at length the importance o f the secret spaces o f childhood, from dollhouses to hideouts. The prevalence o f orphans, dolls and secret spaces in children's literature is likely due to a poignancy, a universality and a resonance that children may find in all three. When these elements intersect in children's literature, as they do in several notable cases, magical events o f transformation can occur for the protagonists. This study is the result o f my longtime fascination with orphan characters, dolls and secret spaces, and their correspondences in children's literature.  1  Another aspect central to this study is children's play. In literature and in life, the act o f play creates connections between and among children, their playthings and the environments within which the play takes place. A s children's literature scholar Virginia W o l f writes, "[h]aving imaginary friends, giving voices and histories to toys, imbuing objects with life, creating scenes, families, towns—these are central parts o f children's play" (51). Playing is what children do. Given the "opportunity, children usually choose to play...play is indeed complex, beautiful and important for children's development" (Scarlett xi). Although I am interested to some extent in the role o f play in the development o f preschool-aged children, I am most interested in the function o f play in "late childhood"—in children ages six to twelve (Scarlett 86). In this period, as psychoanalyst D . W . Winnicott theorizes, playing can assume a vital role in the child's developing sense o f self (54). For the orphan girls in this study s four primary works, who are all in late childhood, play proves to be an 7  empowering force, and a way for girl protagonists to develop a strong identity without the support o f a consistent family structure. When studying the relationships between and among orphan girls, dolls and secret spaces, play is an essential connecting element. Examined separately, each element is fascinating in itself. Orphan characters, dolls and secret spaces could each be the subject o f an extended study, as the work o f the scholars mentioned above can attest. Before investigating the connections, I w i l l now introduce each element in turn, beginning with orphan girl characters. From fairy tale orphans to the title character o f L . M . Montgomery's Anne o f Green Gables to M a r y Lennox in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, lonely, orphaned, lost and otherwise forgotten girl characters are a frequent preoccupation in children's literature. For many child readers, the lives o f these orphan girls represent mysterious childhood experiences far removed from their own.  2  Orphan characters exist on the periphery o f society, and their need for love and attention is made even more poignant by their status (or lack o f it) as parentless children. For many contemporary girls and women, the word "dolls", is a loaded one. One may conjure up thoughts o f a favourite childhood doll, memories o f play with dolls or images o f the beloved or despised (depending on whom you ask) Barbie doll. A widespread symbol o f girlhood, the doll, beyond almost all other playthings, is the "most capable o f arousing a child's violent longing or loathing" (Kuznets 95). Historian Antonia Fraser has acknowledged the doll's "deep importance in the psychological development o f a child and therefore presumably o f the human race throughout its history" (11). In life and in literature, relationships between girls and their dolls are complex, meaningful and intimate affairs o f the heart. Dolls and orphans seem to endure similar life experiences. L i k e the orphan, the doll must suffer through life as an object, susceptible to the whims o f authority figures, rather than as a subject with its own identity and independence. Dolls become orphaned once the children who play with them grow up and move on, and orphans become like dolls, shuffled from one setting to the next. A l l y s o n Booth points out in her essay "Battered D o l l s " that "dolls, being unusually susceptible to harm on the one hand and unable to act or even to consent on the other, occupy a precarious territory somewhere between subject and object" (146). Orphans are typically made to occupy a similarly precarious territory by authority figures in children's literature. In doll literature, the authority figures, the objectifiers o f the dolls, are most often the children who own and play with them, while the objectifiers o f orphans are most often the governesses, extended family members or other adults who have responsibility for orphans' lives.  3  In many works o f children's literature, and especially in narratives involving orphans, a special place to which the child protagonist can escape is o f utmost importance. Secret, "children-only" spaces such as treehouses, forts, caves, imagined fantasylands and other hideaways separate from the adult world are mental and spiritual homes for children. They are places o f solace, private places where children can temporarily retreat from a world o f adult rules and authority figures. Fictional orphans are most often depicted as living i n orphanages or group-living situations: these children do not have easily accessible places o f refuge as do many other children, but they are just as much, i f not more, in need o f such places. In m y research surrounding the use o f secret spaces by orphan girls, I have found that the space used by them is often one o f interiority: these are enclosed, primarily indoor spaces, whether they are attics, dollhouses, storage rooms, cupboards or closets. This use o f interior spaces, I argue, is part o f the fictional orphan girl's quest for home and a sense o f belonging. A s M i n d a Rae Amiran writes, i n the traditional orphan story, the orphan boy "runs away from his adoptive family or sets out to make his fortune," while for the most part orphan girls long for loving homes and struggle to find them (85). In their secret spaces, the girls are attempting to create a sense o f home for themselves, when they may never have known the comforts associated with a loving home. Again, the sorts o f play that can take place in these secret spaces, because the children are at last unfettered and have the space to do so, can prove empowering and life-changing. The quartet o f primary works I have chosen to explore in this thesis—Sylvia Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l (1983) and Lucie Babbidge's House (1989), Rumer Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower (1961) and Enys Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o  4  Came A l i v e (1942)' — a l l feature orphan girls, dolls, secret spaces and play, but each relationship and situation is distinct. In all o f the primary works, and in many other narratives involving orphan characters, the orphan girls experience a profound transformation in their lives by the end o f the story. The purpose o f my research has been to investigate how these elements come together for a meaningful and distinct purpose for each o f the orphan girl characters. M y study adds a new dimension to the existing literature on orphan characters, dolls and secret spaces in that it examines the fascinating and intricate connections between and among these three elements in literature for children. The rationale for selecting these particular primary works is presented in Chapter Three. In terms o f theoretical and critical approaches, it is not m y intention to examine the sociological and historical contexts surrounding orphans and doll play, nor to focus on the many aspects o f human geography and spatial theory in constructions o f space in childhood. Rather, m y study is based in literary and psychological analysis. The theoretical framework of my study employs the play theories o f D . W . Winnicott and Erik Erikson, in conjunction with Gaston Bachelard's and Y i - F u Tuan's theories o f space. M y study o f the primary texts builds upon psychological analyses o f the orphan girl protagonists within the context o f their secret space environments and their relationships with dolls. M y study is grounded in the following research question: H o w do dolls, secret spaces and the play associated with them  Originally written in the late nineteenth century (exact date unknown), The Doll Who Came Alive was not published until 1942, following Tregarthen's death. The work was heavily revised and re-released in 1972, this time with a different ending. M y analysis of this story will use the 1942 version rather than the 1972 version, as the former is truer to the original spirit of British author Tregarthen's story. In the 1942 version, Jyd and her doll escape to the world of the Small Folk, while in the 1972 version, "the live doll-renounces the fairy kingdom for Cornwall and Jyd; the sailorman [who gave Jyd the doll as a gift] returns from the sea and off they go to keep house for him" (Horn Book 597). As Horn Book commented in its unattributed 1972 review of the work, the 1972 version was a "regrettably conventional and somewhat sentimental alteration of the essential Cornish spirit of the story" (597). Please refer to the footnote on page 36 for details as to where to locate these Horn Book reviews in the list of works cited.  5  function in literature for children such that the marginalized and displaced orphan girl characters therein undergo positive psychological transformation? W i t h the purpose o f the study and the research question in mind, then, I investigate the psychological dynamics between orphan girls and their dolls within secret spaces o f solace to uncover the function and importance o f these dynamics in the narratives. These relationships help the girls achieve a more positive, powerful position in their lives— emotionally and/or physically. B y creating a sense o f safety and belonging in their secret spaces with the dolls, the girls are then, and only then, able to find belonging and meaning in their lives. I argue that the dolls and secret spaces fulfill a function that no human, at least solely, could provide for these fictional girls. M y analysis o f the primary works examines the social and psychological significance o f dolls and their secret spaces in these girls' worlds. In organizing my analysis, I argue that each primary work represents a unique type o f doll/secret space narrative according to the combined influences o f these two elements on the orphan girl protagonist in each work: Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower is a narrative o f integration, Cassedy's Lucie Babbidge's House is a narrative o f awakening, Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e is a narrative o f transcendence, and Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l is a narrative o f psychological opening. Thus, each primary work is a narrative o f transformation on the part o f the orphan girl protagonist, and each transformation is unique. In examining these issues, I provide a review o f the relevant literature, as I do in Chapter T w o . In Chapter Three, I define m y research terms, outline the parameters o f my analysis, illustrate the context in which the quartet o f primary works can be located, examine other works with similar themes, address the question o f gender and provide a rationale for  6  the selection o f the works and a brief synopsis o f each primary work. W i t h the scope and frame for m y analysis defined,-in Chapters Four and Five I discuss the four primary works. Chapter Four investigates these issues as they unfold in Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower and Cassedy's Lucie Babbidge's House, while Chapter Five looks more closely at Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l and Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . In Chapter Six, I summarize my analysis and propose potential applications o f this study.  7  CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW This study is informed by a variety o f historical, social, psychological and literary sources, theories and relevant research studies. The following literature review frames these elements in several ways. First, I expand on play theory, theories o f space as outlined by Gaston Bachelard and Y i - F u Tuan and the relevant psychoanalytical work o f Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Second, I outline research relating to the meaning o f dolls in children's literature, the importance o f childhood spaces in this literature and clinical studies on children and their relationships to dolls and space. Third, I look at the significance o f orphans in children's literature, and finally, I examine critical receptions o f the works o f Enys Tregarthen, Rumer Godden and Sylvia Cassedy.  Theoretical F r a m e w o r k s : P l a y and Space This section provides a survey o f the works o f theorists relevant to this study, including theorists who have developed the areas o f play theory and spatial theory, as well as psychoanalytic theory.  P l a y T h e o r y : T h e P s y c h o l o g y o f C h i l d and D o l l Interaction  To work toward m y own definition o f play within doll-child relationships, it has been important to examine the work o f play theorists such as Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Melanie K l e i n , and D . W . Winnicott—both their definitions and their interpretations o f play. Opinions on the function o f play in children's lives differ from theorist to theorist. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), Freud acknowledges the importance o f the "yield o f pleasure" involved for the child in play (8). H e also writes that " i n their play children repeat everything that has made a great impression on them in real life, and in doing so they abreact  8  the strength o f the impression and.. .make themselves master o f the situation" (11). That is, by miniaturizing an event, the child can analyze a problematic or confusing situation in her own way; this theory is especially meaningful for doll play. Freudian theory provides the foundation for psychoanalysis and also the work o f many play theorists, including D . W . Winnicott and Erik Erikson, to be discussed later in this section. Jean Piaget's studies, begun in the 1920s and described in Play, Dreams and Imitation (1962), focus on play as a medium for developing the child's intellect, particularly logical thinking. Piaget concentrated his research primarily on play in infants and toddlers; thus, his findings are not quite as relevant to m y study o f older children as those o f other theorists, particularly Winnicott and Erikson. Still, Piaget is such a dominant theorist in the realm o f child development that it is useful to consider his research within the larger realm o f play theory. A n important theory o f Piaget's is the symbolic use o f toys and other objects: the child projects her behaviour onto her toys as "imaginative symbol and adapted imitation" (146). Piaget comments on the use o f play to understand life events on a smaller, more manageable level: "[in] order for a child to understand something, he must construct it himself, he must re-invent it" (qtd. in Erikson 34), an idea picked up by Erik Erikson. Psychoanalysts and contemporaries Melanie K l e i n , D . W . Winnicott and Erik Erikson further explore the importance o f play in their research. Although influenced by Freud, all three theorists move beyond Freud's interpretation in their writings. In Melanie K l e i n ' s theory o f play, the child's play activity is taken as symbolic o f unconscious desires and thoughts, and is interpreted in the same way that dreams and free associations are in adult psychoanalysis. Her landmark 1932 book, The Psychoanalysis o f Children, was the first study to view children's play as a meaningful activity. A s K l e i n notes, " i n play the child not  9  only overcomes painful reality, but at the same time it also uses it to master its instinctual fears and internal dangers by projecting them into the outer world" (177). K l e i n also outlines "projective identification," a play process o f interest to a study o f children and doll play. In K l e i n ' s process o f projective identification, as Margaret and Michael Rustin point out, a "part of the self is projected onto an external object and then identified with, [and this] enables us to begin to understand how the self can experience itself as obscured or lost in identification with others, in whole or in part" (90). Strongly influenced by K l e i n ' s theories o f the use o f the object, Winnicott's overall theory o f play activity focuses on the search for the self. In Playing and Reality (1971), Winnicott argues that "[it] is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the s e l f (54). Through play, he argues, "the whole o f man's experiential existence [is built]" (64). Children often use items such as special blankets or toys, described by Winnicott as "transitional objects," in order to begin to differentiate between self and other (89). A s social anthropologist Brian Sutton-Smith posits (with Winnicott's theory in mind) i n Toys as Culture (1986), the transitional object is "completely in the child's power; it is cuddled, loved and mutilated; yet it gives warmth. It has its own texture and vitality and, as the years go by, it can gradually fade in interest" (45). Although Winnicott's theory o f transitional objects generally applies to infants and toddlers, transitional objects may again take on importance when the child has difficulties with separation, as orphan girls, for example, may experience during difficult periods o f moving and transition. Erik Erikson used doll play in his clinical studies not only to assess any underlying psychological problems in a child patient, but also as a tool for the child's self-  10  empowerment. In Toys and Reasons (1977), Erikson throws into question other play theories, commenting that "clinical and other theories have burdened child's play with formidable tasks" beyond leisure activity: trauma, he argues, "serves the compulsion to repeat symbolically experiences not sufficiently managed in the past"; cathartic theory he views as "the release o f some pent-up emotion" in the present, While in functional theories, play involves "the exercise o f new faculties, and thus a preparation for the future" (41-42). Although he did not wish to discard these theories entirely, Erikson saw play as having a different, more all-encompassing function: as a constructive, problem-solving act in the lives o f children, a way to use "objects endowed with special and symbolic meanings for the representation o f an imagined scene in a circumscribed sphere" (43). A s Kuznets observes, Erikson considered playing with toys to be a source o f emotional gratification, as well as a means o f problem solving and conceptualization. Where other psychoanalysts might see play as a way o f acting out only past and present conflicts, Erikson considers it to be more constructive. For him it also becomes a means o f avoiding and solving problems likely to happen in the future and therefore o f gradually strengthening the child's ability to deal with inner anxiety and outer demand—to develop ego strength. (40) Erikson's theory o f play as a constructive act is o f great importance to my thesis research, particularly in explaining how orphan characters build a sense o f comfort and identity within a secret space. Acknowledged by Erikson as the "great theorist o f play," Johan Huizinga describes the evolution o f human play from a historical perspective in his 1944 work, Homo Ludens: A Study o f the Play-Element in Culture (Erikson 43). Huizinga sees play as a cultural rather  11  than biological phenomenon. H i s work questions other theorists who, in their analyses o f what play means, assume that "play must serve something which is not play" (2). W h i l e I question Huizinga's assumption that the "fun-element.. .characterizes the essence o f play" because it "resists all analysis, all logical interpretation" (3), I do subscribe to his views on the value o f the secludedness o f play. Huizinga argues that a major characteristic o f play is "its secludedness, its [limitlessness]. It is 'played out' within certain limits o f time and place" (9). The locations, or playgrounds, in which play occurs are "temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance o f an act apart" (10). One who is playing is "stepping out o f 'real' life into a temporary sphere o f activity with a disposition all its o w n " (8). A n d yet, Sutton-Smith feels that play is an activity based on imitating observed reality: "Play becomes a vehicle for captive alternations as i f suspended between a reality which is defied and a reality which can never be overcome. It is a dialectic which both mirrors and mocks reality but never escapes it" (141). Sutton-Smith's theory also holds true for fictional children, whose real-life worlds can enter the protagonists' play situations, even i f those situations involve enchanted lands or animated china dolls. Marjorie Taylor's Imaginary Companions and the Children W h o Create Them (1999) goes beyond the realm o f children's toys into the child's world o f imaginary friends. Taylor describes from a psychological standpoint the propensity o f children to personify their stuffed animals and dolls, thereby creating imaginary friends from formerly inanimate objects, and identifies personified dolls and stuffed animals as imaginary companions rather than simply transitional objects that help children to work out the distinction between self and other (12). She cites several clinical studies including one conducted by British psychologists John and Elizabeth Newsom, writing in the 1970s, who classified dolls and  12  stuffed animals as imaginary companions in cases where "so extensive a saga had been built upon this foundation that fantasy had long since outstripped reality" (qtd. in Taylor 13). Taylor maintains that dolls and imaginary companions are thus often employed by children as a healing response to trauma: "[m]any children use pretend play to help cope with terrible life events related to war, medical conditions, abuse, poverty and loss" (Taylor 78). In their 2005 work, Children's Play, W . George Scarlett and his three co-authors outline several ideas about make-believe play in late childhood (here defined as ages six to twelve). While some scholars, including Piaget, have argued that "children who keep pretending in late childhood are behind in their development or behaving childishly," Children's Play provides an alternative view that several scholars, including Marjorie Taylor, have come to support in the past few years (Scarlett 86). One major claim by Scarlett and his colleagues is "that pretense does not disappear in late childhood; it simply takes place in different contexts, away from observers" (86). This view is key to m y analysis o f the function o f secret space. Guided by the research o f Jerome Singer, Scarlett and his co-authors assert that in the privacy o f their homes, children in late childhood still engage in pretense or make-believe (86). Children at this age "also develop fantasies and alternative scenes to real life in the privacy o f their minds" (87). Because my study focuses on older children, these theories about play in older children have proved useful; I build upon these ideas surrounding private play, and play as a way to escape reality temporarily before facing it. In The Search for the Real Self (1988), psychiatrist James Masterson picks up on Winnicott's and Erikson's theories, defining the healing power o f creativity as having the ability "to replace old, familiar patterns o f living and problem-solving with new and equally or more successful ones" (44-45). Similarly, in Playfulness: Its Relationship to Imagination  13  and Creativity (1977), J. N i n a Lieberman sees how imagination can "help in strengthening a person's sense o f individuality and uniqueness" (149). This recognition o f creativity, imagination and play as transformative forces is essential to understanding the function o f dolls and secret spaces in children's lives. More specifically, Winnicott's interpretation o f play as the search for the self and Erikson's views o f play as a constructive activity help to shape my argument that child and doll relationships encourage inner growth and help the girls to find their rightful places in the world.  Special Places: Theories of Space , A s outlined in The Dictionary o f Human Geography, geographers have "examined both the character intrinsic to a place as a localized, bounded and material geographical entity, and the sentiments o f attachment and detachment that human beings experience, express and contest in relation to specific places" (Johnston 731). In employing space theory in this study, I am more interested in literary children's emotional attachment to home and the poetics o f space than to human geography. The work o f theorists who analyze an individual's attachment to space and the experienced richness o f places o f comfort and solace are o f greatest relevance. Spatial theorists Gaston Bachelard and Y i - F u Tuan have both written o f the profound significance o f home space in the lives o f children and adults. Bachelard's theories in The Poetics o f Space (1964) are immensely useful for an analysis o f intimate space as a place for magic and transformation to occur. In his work, Bachelard draws on the childhood experience o f space as well as the adult's memory o f childhood space. H e theorizes that these memories and experiences affect our perceptions o f space in our present-day lives (6). The Poetics o f Space concentrates on the first-person experience and interpretation o f objects and images. Bachelard believed that people crave  14  spaces that inspire them to daydream; he describes these as "felicitous space[s]" (xxxv). In this context, literary space may be seen as a series o f images o f intimacy in the home (in Freudian terms, the closed maternal space) in that "the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.... the house is one o f the greatest powers o f integration for the thoughts, memories and dreams o f mankind" (Bachelard 6). W e can return in our memories to comforting thoughts o f our childhood homes, for "our house is the corner o f our world. A s has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense o f the w o r d " (Bachelard 4). Bachelard's theory, while applicable to space, intertwines beautifully with play theory (particularly the theories o f Winnicott and Erikson), because he connects imagination and reverie to intimate spaces. Indeed, Bachelard considers "imagination as a major power o f human nature" (xxxiv). For many, Bachelard writes, life "begins well, it begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom o f the house" (7). I am interested in Bachelard's theories here particularly in light o f my discussion o f orphan girl characters, as they either have not experienced the womb-like warmth o f the childhood home, or it is a distant memory. The protagonists in the quartet o f primary works, for example, must create this "bosom o f the house" for themselves. They can piece together memories o f formerly warm, happy domestic spaces in their childhoods as Maggie and Nona do respectively in Behind the Attic W a l l and M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, or create them based on stories they have heard, as Lucie and Jyd do in Lucie Babbidge's House and The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . Through their play in secret spaces with their dolls, the girls create their own sense o f home in the Bachelardian sense.  15  In their 1999 article, "Gaston Bachelard and Phenomenology: Outline o f a Theory o f the Imagination," authors Christian Thiboutot, A . Martinez and David Jager describe how Bachelard's theories are based on a dialectic between an inside and an outside. O n the one hand, we find dreams and images that draw inward toward a center, that explore the interior life o f the hearth and the home, while on the other hand, we find [dreams] that draw us outward to a larger world. He understands dreams and images as cosmic links that intertwine and mutually clarify an inside and an outside. Thus even while he insists on the solitary nature o f the life o f the imagination, he never forgets the fact that this solitude remains linked to the lives o f others and to a common human world. (17) A s the authors point out, the solitude afforded by interior spaces was a central view o f Bachelard's. Given my study's focus on the interiority o f children's secret spaces as representing the comfort o f home, Bachelard's theories are particularly useful. Bachelard, however, was not without his detractors. In Children's Experience o f Place (to be discussed later in this chapter), behavioural psychologist Roger Hart comments on the narrowness o f Bachelard's view o f space and childhood. H e acknowledges the popular view that poetry and literature more accurately capture childhood experience than does behavioral science, but "while this belief has left us with descriptions o f children's experiential engagement with the environment which are both beautiful and voluminous, they are at the same time narrow" (155). Hart argues that writers such as Bachelard have presented readers with a "most romantic image o f children's empathic [sic] engagement with the natural world" (155). B y comparison, behavioral scientists have adopted a more clinical  16  view o f the child's perception o f space. A s Hart explains, they have "largely retreated from saying anything about children's feelings for the everyday world o f places and things, having limited themselves to the materials o f experiments, tests and simulations" (155). A s my thesis focuses on emotional attachment to space, the work o f Hart and other behavioral scientists is o f lesser relevance to my study than Bachelard's. Writing a decade after Bachelard, human geographer Y i - F u Tuan's work also explores the emotional resonances found in spaces. In the title o f his 1974 book, Tuan coined the term "topophilia," which refers to "the affective bond between people and place" (4). Topophilia offers a framework for the study o f humans in their environments, and although he reaches into the realms o f environmental issues and ecology, Tuan's thoughts on humankind's ties with the material environment prove useful. Tuan's 1977 work, Space and Place, delves further into the child's views on space. Space and Place features a chapter entitled "Space, Place, and the C h i l d , " in which Tuan endeavours to answer the questions: "[h]ow does a young child perceive and understand his environment?" (19) and "[h]ow does a young child understand place?" (29). If, he says, "we define place broadly as a focus o f value, o f nurture and support, then the mother is the child's primary place . . . . A s the child grows he becomes attached to objects other than significant persons and, eventually, to localities" (29). O f significance to m y research, Tuan also asks: "[wjhat is the character o f a young child's emotional tie to place?" (31). Tuan's thoughts on this matter have informed my thinking on the child's need for private and tucked^away spaces, in that "[ojlder children in their play seek out nooks and corners both in man-made environments and in nature" (32). A s Phil Hubbard and his co-authors explain in K e y Thinkers on Space and Place, Tuan's work has not always been readily accepted by the academy. M a n y researchers  17  working in the realm o f human geography do view Tuan as an inspirational figure, enjoying and employing his thoughts on geographic discovery as self-discovery (Hubbard 308). For much o f Tuan's career, this has been a much-criticized view, as human geographers at large have subscribed to notions o f scientific objectivity, studying the world, and peoples, as 'objects,' and de-emphasizing the possibility or value o f either self-reflection or the potential impact o f geographic research upon the researcher. (Hubbard 309) For precisely these reasons, Tuan's work resonates deeply with my research. 1 admire his focus on the personal and the emotional rather than the clinically detached, as my examination o f orphan narratives focuses on the emotions o f fictional children. When combined with the work o f Winnicott and Erikson, Bachelard's and Y i - F u Tuan's theories o f space form the ideal lens through which to examine orphan girls, their dolls, and the spaces in which their interactions occur.  Freud and Lacan: Psychoanalytical Frameworks  A s Freudian theory underpins the foundation o f psychoanalysis and also informs the work o f Bachelard and many play theorists, for context and background it is important to outline briefly the major tenets o f psychoanalysis. Freud's theory o f the Uncanny, as outlined in his book-length essay o f the same title (1925), helps to frame certain aspects o f doll narratives, particularly those in which the dolls are personified. In the doll world, Kitti Carriker explains that the sensation and situation o f the Uncanny present "the double, the automaton, death, and the intrusion o f the unfamiliar and undomesticated (what Freud terms the unheimlich) into the territory o f the familiar and the tamed (the heimlich)" (30). A s Kuznets further describes, the term heimlich is also  18  "rooted in heim, that is, 'home'" (123), which helps to illuminate the excitement o f these secret worlds o f animated dolls and children residing in the same home at once. Jacques Lacan updated and interpreted Freud's work in The Four Fundamental Concepts o f Psychoanalysis (1977). Here, he outlines the theory o f the Other: the s e l f s perception o f the external, rooted in the unconscious mind. A s Lacan explains, "the unconscious is the discourse o f the Other" (131). A s Carriker points out, the Other can be defined as "whatever exists as an opposite o f someone or something else, or that which is excluded by something else" (71). Carriker writes that unconscious desire is "both directed toward and received from the other" (72), which helps to explain the continual fascination with orphans in children's and adult literature, as well as the fascination with personified dolls and toys in children's literature. Orphans (and dolls) are, after all, "the eternal Other" (Kimball 559).  The Meaning of Dolls and Secret Spaces: Histories, Contexts and Politics To gain a fuller understanding o f dolls, the secret spaces o f childhood and their meanings, I w i l l outline previous research and analysis on dolls and spaces in the lives o f children in the following ways: experiential and clinical research on children and dolls, experiential and clinical research on children and childhood spaces, the significance o f dolls in children's literature and the importance o f secret spaces in children's literature. Experiential and Clinical Research on Children and Dolls  A s long as dolls have been in existence, children have played with them. The history o f the doll stretches back at least to Ancient Egypt, and the doll "is a category o f object that has been produced, in one way or another, by most o f the world's cultures" (Museum 16). The following doll history sources provide helpful historical background on the world o f  19  dolls and dollhouses in Western society: Carl F o x ' s The D o l l (1972), Antonia Fraser's A History o f Toys (1966), and Lois Kuznets' When Toys Come A l i v e . L i k e Antonia Fraser (quoted in my introduction), many doll historians, in addition to providing thorough aesthetic and historical commentaries on dolls, have also acknowledged the doll's significant emotional impact on the child's life. Fox offers a sentimental commentary in his introduction to The D o l l : "What we strive for [in the doll] is a talisman for memories, a conjuration to evoke for you some feeling o f innocence, delight, and mystery. Perhaps the greatest single attraction o f the doll is its almost magical power to engulf the viewer and lift h i m out o f himself into the doll's world—whatever it may be" (13). A s play theories suggest, children's emotional attachments to and interactions with their toys go far beyond leisure activity. A s Fraser explains, psychologist Susan Isaacs, writing in the 1930s, maintained that "since in all their free play children are working out their fears and fantasies, the nature o f their toys must be o f enormous importance .... Toys help [children] to accept the limitations o f the world, and to control their real behaviour—in short, to pass from a dream world into a real world" (qtd. in Fraser 11). Since the late nineteenth century, when the first in-depth doll study was published in the United States, clinical studies have attempted to understand children's psychological, emotional and intellectual development through their dolls (Wagner-Ott 46). Quantitative and clinical studies in the complex realm o f play theory have focused primarily on children's observed behaviors toward their dolls. A s Anna Wagner-Ott notes in her doctoral thesis, The Politics o f Dolls and Action Figures (2000), many o f these studies "observed children with their dolls in a clinical setting and did not include conversations with children to learn about what children see or think about dolls" (52). O f particular interest to  20  my study is clinical research in which girls ages eight to twelve were studied interacting with and describing their play with dolls and dollhouses; however, Wagner-Ott also notes that "little research is available...on girls' viewpoints on the impacts dolls and action figures may have on their lives" (44). M y research on this topic yielded similarly few results. I w i l l , however, provide a cursory look at the few studies that focus on girls in the age range relevant to m y thesis (eight to twelve), beginning with G . Stanley H a l l and A . Caswell E l l i s ' 1897 work, A Study o f Dolls. A s Carriker notes, in "almost a century, very few studies on the topic o f dolls have followed the groundwork laid by H a l l and E l l i s " (13). These American researchers gathered data from numerous surveys o f school children, and their remarkably comprehensive questions asked about doll names, clothes, eating habits and hobbies. The goal o f the researchers' inquiry was to examine the role that dolls play in the emotional and social development o f children, and the continuing significance o f dolls into adulthood—that is, to know "doll anatomy, doll psychology, the real source o f the many instincts that are expressed in doll play" (Hall 3). The responses to the surveys, as might be expected, are fascinating but so varied that it is difficult to draw any distinct conclusions from the study. L i k e other theorists and researchers after them have, H a l l and Ellis note that "a large part o f the charm o f doll play is the small scale o f the doll world, which ... focuses and intensifies affection and all other feelings" (4). Produced more than one hundred years later, Wagner-Ott's doctoral research explores the use o f dolls in the lives often American girls, between the ages o f nine and ten, and the motivational factors influencing their play with dolls. The space in which the play took place was significant to Wagner-Ott. She found that most o f the play took place " i n their house, in  21  the attic, in the basement, and in their bedroom" (83); this suggests that the girls took care to find quiet, more private places in which to play with their dolls. Unlike the isolated literary orphans i n my study, however, eight out o f the ten girls preferred to play dolls with their friends in these locations, because they felt it was better and more fun than playing alone (87). A s hers is a study in art education, Wagner-Ott's research focuses on how children "read" images and associated marketing o f modern dolls (Barbies and the like); nevertheless, it is interesting to keep her research in mind in terms o f how real girls in my age range o f interest interact with their dolls. Dorothy Washburn's study, "Getting Ready: D o l l Play and Real Life in American Culture, 1900-1980" (1997), looks at the culture o f dolls in twentieth century American society from an anthropological and museum studies perspective. Washburn's analysis attempts to decipher the kinds o f meanings that children have assigned to dolls, and presents her study from two points o f view: the voices o f adult women reminiscing about their childhood dolls and the voices o f young girls describing their current dolls and doll play (112). A s Washburn explains, the "need to know how an individual gives an object meaning within his personal experiential world constitutes the subject matter o f the anthropology o f experience" (108). Through her study, Washburn found that for "doll players [children who regularly play with dolls], dolls are real people with real feelings . . . . They are not thrown in boxes under the bed like Barbies. D o l l players talk to their dolls and believe that their dolls listen to them" (118). For literary children, too, dolls are often viewed as real people. The child and doll relationships in my study's quartet o f primary works, for example, exemplify the importance o f the doll as confidante.  22  Maria Tallandini's study, "Aggressive Behavior in D o l l ' s House Play" (2004), emphasizes the function o f independent doll play as a way to express frustrations without having to interact with other children (or adults, for that matter). Tallandini's study examines the quantity and quality o f aggressive behaviours in preschoolers and school-age children (6 to 8 years) when the relationships they enact are representations o f the inner world and not the result o f involvement with an external reality requiring interaction with peers (516). Tallandini found that girls engage in verbal aggressiveness rather than destructiveness with their dolls, while boys tend to act out violent physical aggression toward their toys (516). These select studies support through real-life investigations m y use o f play theory to examine how literary children, especially girls, use their dolls for emotional empowerment and growth.  The Significance o f D o l l s in C h i l d r e n ' s Literature  Several critics have taken an interest in providing literary and social interpretations o f doll narratives, most notably Lois Kuznets and Kitti Carriker. In her 1998 work Created in Our Image, Kitti Carriker focuses on the portrayal and function o f doll figures and their creators in literature for adults, and comments that {ljittle attention has been given to the problematic role played by the handmade doubles, the three-dimensional, tangible figures such as dolls arid puppets that fictional characters and craftsmen create in their own images. Especially when created in miniature, it seems that dolls appeal to the reader's fascination with and fear o f images made in human likeness. (9) Carriker employs Freud's theory o f the Uncanny and Lacan's discourse about the Other in exploring the psychological implications o f dolls and their relationships to their human  23  creators (9). In children's literature, as Perry Nodelman and M a v i s Reimer suggest, these "miniature human beings and living dolls and toys can all be read as metaphoric representations o f children... .[fjhe miniature beings are much smaller than the creatures who control them" (195). The work o f Lois Kuznets is eminently useful in examining a range o f issues related to doll narratives. In her major survey o f doll and toy narratives, When Toys Come A l i v e (1994), Kuznets takes a multi-disciplinary and feminist approach to reading literature for children in which toys and dolls are personified. In her study, and within her aforementioned theoretical framework (which also owes much to Freud), Kuznets recognizes that one or r  more o f the following motifs usually appear in doll narratives: 1. Toys, when they are shown as inanimate objects developing into live beings, embody human anxiety about what it means to be "real"—an independent subject or self rather than an object submitting to the gaze o f more powerfully real and potentially rejecting live beings. 2. Toy characters embody the secrets o f the night: they inhabit a secret, sexual, sensual world, one that exists in closed toy shops, under Christmas trees, and behind the doors o f dollhouses....It can be a marginal, liminal, potentially carnival world. 3. When manipulated by human beings....toys embody all the temptations and responsibilities o f power. A s characters with whom humans identify, they also suggest the relatively powerless relationship o f human beings to known or unseen forces: their dreadful vulnerability. (2)  24  Although some o f Kuznets' interpretations do not apply directly to my analysis (in that I am not offering feminist readings o f primary works), many o f her insights about dolls i n literature have guided me in m y discussion. Chapter Three includes a review o f the roles and functions o f dolls in nineteenth and twentieth century British and North American literature for children.  Experiential and Clinical Research on Children and Childhood Spaces A s my use o f space theory suggests, this study is most concerned with the child's emotional connection to space rather than, for example, the child's visual perception o f space or the child's relationship to the natural world. A s noted in Chapter One, for the most part the secret spaces that I am interested in represent interiority, both physical and psychological. Thus, I am interested in a child's relationship to space in spaces that represent or symbolize home, either the comfort evoked by home or its contained, physical warmth. 1 am also primarily interested in these secret spaces as providing a time for solitude, reflection and private play. In m y research o f critical literature on children and space, it has been important to focus on studies that relate to children's attachment to space and, more specifically, the home and the private spaces within the home. T w o studies from the 1970s and 1980s by Roger Hart and Robin Moore are o f particular interest, as both include useful data on children in late childhood. Hart's seminal 1979 study on children's relationships to their environments, Children's Experience o f Place, remains the most authoritative study on this subject. Hart articulates the importance o f the physical environment to the psychological development o f the child. He interviewed the children o f the N e w England town o f Inavale to determine their  25  favourite places in and around the town. The resulting study, with its focus on outdoor environments in children's play, is o f lesser relevance to my thesis. In his 1986 work Childhood's Domain, urban planner Robin Moore reports his work with over 100 British children, spread evenly across the nine to twelve age range and split 50/50 by gender (268). He asked the children to draw representations o f spaces that they regularly inhabited and played in, such as schoolyards, gardens and rooms. In the chapter "Habitats Around the Home," Moore asks, "[w]hat does home mean to a child?" (82). He found that the high rank given to homesites in the drawings indicated home to be the centre of family life and a child's ultimate haven o f security and comfort (as we would expect). When children were asked where they went to "be alone," over fifty percent answered ' m y own room' . . . . [pjrivacy is evidently a key function o f the domestic indoors. (82) The privacy afforded by interior spaces is key. While my study deals with children who have perhaps never known the feeling o f a loving home, M o o r e ' s findings point to questions about how orphan characters can construct their own sense o f home within a secret space. While the work o f Moore is fascinating, little other research on this topic exists. Acknowledging the substantial and fascinating research literature on children's play in general, Moore himself notes "how little o f it, with few exceptions, pays attention to the relationship between play and the places actually used by children" (Moore 11). Despite the lack o f scholarly research on the subject o f children's play in relation to their play spaces, the highly relevant work o f Moore does make clear that private space is  26  intensely important for the vast majority o f children. This view is central to my interpretation o f literary children in their play spaces.  T h e I m p o r t a n c e o f Secret S p a c e s i n C h i l d r e n ' s L i t e r a t u r e  A s research on childhood spaces suggests, physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual homes for children are vastly important. A n d perhaps due to their importance in children's lives, such spaces have figured prominently in children's literature. A s Susan Honeyman notes in her 2001 article "Childhood Bound: In Gardens, Maps, and Pictures," writers for children have often created no-adults-allowed fantasy worlds and "friendly spaces" for their child characters: Peter Pan has Neverland; M a r y Lennox, her secret garden; Laura Ingalls, her "magic circle"; Fern Arable, the barnyard; Harriet Welsch, her imaginary "town"; and Dorothy Gale has the Land o f Oz. Fictional children.. .often have a magical place to go to, to inhabit, to define, even to control .... The most common escapes are the garden or the remote island, but all these childhood spaces share one quality—they are clearly bound and inaccessible to adults. (117) In her recent full-length work, Elusive Childhood: Impossible Representations in Modern Fiction, Honeyman expands on her discussion o f literary representations o f children and childhood spaces in literature for both children and adults. A s Karen Coats maintains in her review o f the book, Honeyman astutely shows that [child-friendly spaces] are in fact imaginary spaces with the dual function o f freedom and containment, like playpens full o f fascinating toys. While on the one hand they exist to satisfy a nostalgic and Utopian impulse for a  27  child-empowered space, their mapped boundaries reveal their connections to adult rationalism, protection, and confinement o f presumed child pleasures. (88) Although Honeyman argues that these "friendly spaces" o f childhood are symbols o f adult confinement (despite their other function as spaces o f freedom), 1 view secret spaces as representative o f a child's power over her situation. I have previously explored this idea in m y unpublished essay, "Secret Worlds: The Power o f the Imagination in the Lives o f Troubled Girls in Sylvia Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l and Lucie Babbidge's House." In this paper, I advanced the idea that Cassedy's protagonists, through the use o f a dollhouse or attic room, construct their own sacred, secret spaces in which to dream, have healthy interactions (with their doll companions), and advance their inner growth. For Cassedy's protagonists, "the ability to construct and participate in another reality, a metaphorical 'room o f their o w n ' apart from the outside world that rejects them, is a transformative, restorative, essential element in their lives" (Goerzen 1). In this thesis, I expand on this argument to include not only Cassedy's protagonists, but also other orphan characters in children's literature in need o f the solace and emotional safety that a secret space can provide. In many cases, the secret spaces also provide the appropriate space and time for children to resolve emotional problems, issues o f identity and other troubles. For many girls, an important child-only space is the dollhouse. A s long as dolls have been in existence, so have homes for dolls: "[miniaturized domestic settings are found in Egyptian tombs dating from 2000 B . C . ; dollhouses in their current Western form go back to the mid-sixteenth century" (Armstrong, 24). In many doll narratives, the dollhouse (or the space where the dolls reside) is nearly as important as the dolls themselves. "[The] social and psychological importance o f the house is that it safeguards the identities o f its inhabitants by  28  providing a boundary within which personal considerations are paramount" (Rustin 85)—and this is equally true o f dollhouses. In addition to offering a home for dolls, dollhouses can offer a sense o f home and solitude for the children who play with the structure. The dollhouse can be a sort o f secret space for dolls and children, a place for children to find solace from adults and other authority figures. W i t h Bachelard's space theory as a context for discussion, it is important to examine the specifics o f dollhouses and their significance in children's literature and in children's lives. Bachelard has influenced many critics, including Frances Armstrong and Susan Stewart, to see home as "felicitous space" and miniatures as "the tiny things we imagine [that] simply take us back to childhood, to familiarity with toys and the reality o f toys" . (Bachelard 149). In Freudian terms, the dollhouse also represents the desire to become so small as to return to the womb. The magic o f the miniature is inherent not only in the doll but also in the dollhouse. In O n Longing: Narratives o f the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (1984), Susan Stewart writes that [fjranscendence and the interiority o f history and narrative are the dominant characteristics o f the most consummate o f miniatures—the dollhouse. A house within a house, the dollhouse not only presents the house's articulation o f the tension between inner and outer spheres, o f exteriority and interiority—it also represents the tension between two modes o f interiority. Occupying a space within an enclosed space, the dollhouse's aptest analogy is the locket or the secret recesses o f the heart: center within center, within within within. The dollhouse is a materialized secret; what we look for is the dollhouse within the dollhouse and its promise o f an infinitely profound interiority. (61)  29  Stewart's thoughts on the dollhouse as a profoundly intimate place, a place for play and freedom from social restrictions, are o f special importance to m y analysis. In "The D o l l ' s House as Ludic Space, 1690-1920" (1996), Frances Armstrong continues the idea o f felicitous spaces as she traces the textual history o f dollhouses from the late seventeenth until the early twentieth century. A s Armstrong explains, "although early dollhouses were valuable artifacts supplied and controlled by adults, it seems quite clear that most girls were able to regard dollhouses as their own ludic spaces, places dedicated to their own play, rather than as sites for training and compliance" (24). Armstrong insists that the miniature scale o f the dollhouse "creates distance limiting the degree o f identification between child and d o l l " (39). I read the dollhouse as a special place for child and doll, thus strengthening the connections between the two. Regardless o f their sometimes differing views, at the heart o f it, for Armstrong and Stewart the dollhouse represents a special place for children's imaginative play.  T h e L o s t G i r l s : Forgotten, D i s p l a c e d , L o n e l y , T r o u b l e d and T r o u b l e s o m e Orphans i n C h i l d r e n ' s Literature When children's literature scholars write about orphans, as a large number o f them do, they invariably mention the prevalence o f orphan characters in the literature. In The Pleasures o f Children's Literature (1992), Perry Nodelman and M a v i s Reimer write that adults tend to believe that the possibility o f being orphaned—of having the independence one wants and yet having to do without the love one needs—is an exciting and disturbing idea for children who are not in fact orphans, and a matter of immediate interest for those who are. In depicting orphans, writers can focus on children's desire for independence, or on their fear o f loss o f security. (197)  30 i  Thus, children might enjoy living vicariously through the lives o f fictional orphans, and this ensures the orphan's continuing popularity in children's literature. Canadian author, scholar and children's librarian Sarah Ellis also notes the abundance o f orphan characters in literature in her unpublished essay, simply entitled "Orphans": [ojrphans in books—their numbers are legion. Let's sit back in the reviewing stand and watch them as they parade by. Goody Two-Shoes, Toby Tyler, Sara Crewe, M a r y Lennox, Anne Shirley, K i m , M o w g l i , T o m Sawyer, Heidi, Peter Pan, Madeleine, Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil, M a r y Anna Wilson, Pippi Longstocking, Jane Eyre, Becky Sharp, Heathcliffe, and practically everyone in Dickens. A n d they are not all dressed in knickers and pinafores, either. Some appear in jeans and Reeboks. (1) W h y does the orphan continue to be such a constant and popular figure in children's literature? Some critics, such as Nodelman and Melanie K i m b a l l , suggest that the orphan as a universal symbol o f suffering ensures the tireless popularity o f the orphan character in literature for children as well as adults. K i m b a l l writes o f the symbolic nature o f orphans: "[it] is because the orphan so deeply represents the feelings and pain o f us all that the character continues to exist in children's literature. A n d until the day when none o f us feels the pain o f isolation, orphans w i l l continue to symbolize it for us" (577). K i m b a l l ' s 1999 article, "From Folktales to Fiction: Orphan Characters in Children's Literature," locates the origins o f fictional orphans within folktales, and traces their popularity in fiction for children. Her analysis o f fifty folktales from different cultures reveals the universal elements in the orphan story, patterns which she argues can be found in literature for children. In her study, she focuses on the canonical text, The Secret Garden. A l l literary orphans are on a quest,  31  K i m b a l l adds, an idea that proves useful for m y study in terms o f the orphan girls either consciously or subconsciously seeking "a place to belong and the right to be there" (577). Susan Drain continues with the theme o f belonging in her article "Community and the Individual i n Anne o f Green Gables: The Meaning o f Belonging" (1992): Finding one's rightful place in the social fabric is part o f the challenge o f growing up, and as such, it is an important focus o f many books for and about children. A n entire tradition o f nineteenth- and early twentieth-century 'orphan tales' is explicitly concerned with the problem o f identifying and occupying that rightful place. (120) Drain cites Pollyanna (1913) and Elsie Dinsmore (1867), among others, as examples o f orphan tales in which finding a sense o f belonging means conforming to the norms and rules of the orphan protagonist's new home or situation (120). A n d Drain notes that the most realistic orphan tales, such as L . M . Montgomery's Anne o f Green Gables, feature a mutual transformation, " i n which both the stranger and the community are changed by their contact with one another. Adoption, in short, means adaptation" (120). This notion o f maintaining individuality while adapting to a new environment specifically pertains to my research on orphan girls and their dolls. A s M i n d a Rae Amiran points out in her 1992 article '"She Was W i l d l y C l a d ' : Orphan Girls in Earlier Children's Literature," orphans frequently featured as protagonists in Western children's literature o f the nineteenth century. This, she claims, is because so many children at that time were actually orphans (85). In her 1987 article "Children in Search o f a Family: Orphan Novels Throughout the Century," Claudia M i l l s writes that the "orphan child represents pure possibility, freedom from family ties that chafe and bind. Yet almost every  32  orphan novel in the end is about the search for a family" (228). M i l l s ' idea echoes A m i r a n ' s and Nodelman's thoughts on the orphan's quest: for many literary orphan girls, the search for a family is an integral aspect o f the quest. M i l l s also sets out a helpful framework for reading literary orphans. She identifies "three great bursts o f literary interest in orphans . . . . occurring in the early years o f the [twentieth] century, i n the 1940s, and in recent years" (228). Focusing on novels "that take as their subject an orphan child in search o f a family" (238), both boy orphans and girl orphans, she remarks on the change in the image o f orphanhood over time: , The effervescent, exuberant orphans o f the century's early years give way to the passive, polite orphans o f the 1940s and early 1950s, culminating in the angry, bitter 'orphans' (often actually foster children) o f more recent fiction. (228) M i l l s notes the protagonists o f Rebecca o f Sunnvbrook Farm (1903), Anne o f Green Gables (1908), Daddy-Long Legs (1912) and Pollyanna (1913) as examples o f the exuberant orphan character o f the early twentieth century (228). These novels "reinforce a view o f the child's nature as inherently good and capable o f transforming and redeeming adults who have grown too distant from their own childhoods" (231). A s for the passive orphans o f the World War II era, M i l l s offers the protagonists o f Doris Gates' Sensible Kate (1943), Helen Daringer's Adopted Jane (1947) and Frances Murphy's A N i c k e l for A l i c e (231) as examples o f this type. These novels "tell the story o f drooping, wilted flowers who learn to blossom [and thereby] reflect a shift in the image o f the nature and the needs o f children" ( M i l l s 231). These characters learn to move beyond their politeness and re-learn how to play, to become more childlike again.  33  O f particular relevance to my study are M i l l s ' thoughts on the "angry, bitter" orphan characters o f the late twentieth century, the "portrait o f the orphan as a child badly scarred by his or her experience, suspicious, mistrustful, a 'problem c h i l d ' " (234). She cites Betsy B y a r ' s The Pinballs (1977) and Katherine Paterson's The Great G i l l y Hopkins (1978) as examples o f the angry, often abused orphan o f this time period. W h i l e M i l l s ' other examples focus solely on girl orphans, here she introduces novels involving boys, including Alberta Armer's Troublemaker (1966), Louise Dickinson Rich's Star Island B o y (1968), and Richard Parker's Second-Hand Family (1965) (234). In each o f these more recent orphan novels, the "protagonist takes some decisive step towards maturity. Often this involves a willingness to face and accept reality" (236). M i l l s ' theories on the types o f orphans are relevant to m y examination o f orphan girl characters, as the primary works in my thesis focus on orphans from various time periods: the late nineteenth century (The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e ) , the midtwentieth century (Miss Happiness and M i s s Flower) and the later twentieth century (Lucie Babbidge's House and Behind the Attic Wall). I employ her reading o f orphan types in Chapters Four and Five. Although they focus primarily on orphans in literature for adults, Eileen Simpson's Orphans: Real and Imaginary and Diana Loercher Pazicky's Cultural Orphans in America (1998) contain helpful information on textual representations o f orphans and the social history o f orphans. A n orphan herself, as well as a literary scholar, Simpson takes an intensely personal stance in her examination. She offers up a personal account o f her childhood as an orphan, as well as a history o f orphanhood. Simpson does not focus only on orphans in children's literature, such as those found in the work o f Rudyard K i p l i n g ; she also examines literature for adults about orphan characters, including the work o f Charles  34  Dickens and M a r k Twain. Her readings o f orphan characters offer a helpful historical and literary background for m y study, particularly the portrayal o f orphan characters in literature over time. After generations o f silent suffering, Simpson writes, and "with the development of the novel as a genre, orphans became heroes and heroines whose feelings readers could identify with, whose orphanhood was not merely stated ... but described as i f from the inside" (182). Pazicky looks at actual and textual representations o f orphans in early America and what the representations signify about American cultural values. In contrast to Simpson, Pazicky rejects the sentimentality o f the stories from the American nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—stories that portray orphans as pitiful creatures, and "so unrepresentative o f society's real orphans" (149). Although m y focus is not necessarily on "true" or authentic representations o f orphans, but rather on character development as portrayed by the authors o f a quartet o f novels, Simpson's and Pazicky's work is relevant in providing context.  C r i t i c a l Receptions o f Tregarthen, C a s s e d y and G o d d e n Before embarking on a critical analysis o f the primary works, I conducted a thorough search o f various University o f British Columbia library databases in order to gain a sense o f the amount o f critical attention paid to the primary works and the authors o f these works. In doing so, I also wanted to gain a sense o f the depth o f critical attention given to the works. Little critical attention has been paid to Enys Tregarthen (also known as Nellie Sloggett and Nellie Cornwall) or The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . N o w out o f print, The D o l l Who Came A l i v e is admittedly an old-fashioned tale both in style and plot, and many modern  35  readers and scholars are not familiar with it . In addition to The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , Tregarthen wrote Daddy Long-Legs, and H i s White Heath Flower (1885), as well as two books that were posthumously published (as was The D o l l W h o Came Alive): Piskey Folk: A Book o f Cornish Legends (1940) and The White R i n g (1949). A thorough search in various University o f British Columbia library databases has revealed only a handful o f reviews o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , and bibliographic entries o f the work in two reference texts: Ruth Nadelman L y n n ' s Fantasy Literature for Children and Y o u n g Adults: A n Annotated Bibliography and Alethea K . Helbig and Agnes Regan Perkins' Dictionary o f British Children's Fiction, A - M . Both the author and the work were absent from major bibliographic reference texts such as editor Victor Watson's The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature and Martha E . Ward and her co-authors' Authors o f Books for Y o u n g People. The unsigned, untitled review o f the 1942 publication o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e merely comments that "[cjhildren who care for dolls w i l l be especially interested in what happens when the doll ... comes alive because [Jyd] loved it so much .... they w i l l perfectly understand why the D i n k y Folk wanted her to live in their country" (422-423). The similarly unsigned, untitled review o f the 1972 version o f the story in Horn Book is highly critical o f the anniversary edition's editorial changes, especially the new ending: "those readers who still have access to the original story w i l l note with dismay that the ending is changed. N o w the live doll renounces the fairy kingdom for Cornwall and Jyd; the sailorman [who gave Jyd the doll] returns from the sea and off they go, to keep house for h i m " (597).  2  I was unable to determine when The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e went out o f print. 3  A s the 1942 and 1972 H o r n B o o k reviews are both unsigned and untitled, I have followed current M L A  guidelines for works cited and alphabetized them under the title o f the work reviewed: The D o l l W h o Came Alive.  36  M a n y o f the critical writings on Sylvia Cassedy's and Rumer Godden's body o f literature for children support m y interpretation o f play and interactions with dolls as a healing process for the orphan protagonists. T w o short articles look at Cassedy's portrayal o f the power o f the child's imagination. In " S y l v i a Cassedy: Valuing the C h i l d ' s Inner L i f e " (1991), Christine M c D o n n e l l writes that in both Behind the Attic W a l l and Lucie Babbidge's House, the "child's inner world is created by her imagination to fill an emotional need, and this inner world is as real and as important as the external, concrete world she suffers through" (101). Similarly, i n "Playing and Reality in Sylvia Cassedy's Novels" (1990), Virginia W o l f employs Winnicott's theories in examining the connections between playing and reality. W o l f asserts that Cassedy's protagonists, "as a result o f playing, find a way out o f their isolation and despair" (51). In When Toys Come A l i v e , Kuznets also supports the view that Maggie's and Lucie's secret time spent with their dolls is a coping mechanism with a healing effect (126). A s the author o f a significant body o f work for both children and adults, Rumer. Godden has received a generous amount o f critical attention. The scholarly work on Godden's writing for children has focused mainly on The D o l l ' s House; less critical attention has been paid to M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower. Godden has been the subject o f several author studies, including two Twayne Author Studies, Hassell A . Simpson's Rumer Godden (1973) and Lynne M . Rosenthal's Rumer Godden Revisited (1996), as well as another booklength study o f her life and work, Anne Chisholm's Rumer Godden (1998). While Simpson and Chisholm focus primarily on Godden's adult works, with only peripheral mentions o f her works for children, Rosenthal's study goes into more depth. In Godden's doll stories, Rosenthal writes, "children must find ways to build bridges between feelings and the  37  objective world, both o f which can be represented by the dolls" (64). Rosenthal affords M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower only a two-sentence mention, in which she writes, "the silent communication between the dolls strengthens both child and dolls" (63). Margaret and Michael Rustin provide a thoughtful analysis o f Godden's works for children from a psychological perspective in their article, "The Life o f Dolls: Rumer Godden's Understanding o f Children's Imaginative Play" (2001). Although they do not discuss M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower specifically, their analysis is useful in looking at Godden's world o f dolls in general. To the Rustins, the dolls are projections o f the self, " o f or in the child's imagination. They are available and important to children as representations o f aspects o f their internal worlds" (85). Dolls also have the "power o f wishing, which in Godden's work proves itself a subtle yet potent force. These tenuous communications from the dolls may be perceived as either pure imagination or psychological projection on the children's part, although the weight o f the fantasy leans toward volition and consciousness on the part o f the dolls" (Kuznets 111). Godden's intricate world o f dolls and doll psychology is examined further in Chapter Four. This literature review demonstrates that, clearly, a deeper and more comprehensive examination o f the small body o f orphan, doll and secret space narratives is warranted. Before delving into a critical examination o f the primary works in Chapters Four and Five, in Chapter Three I define my research terms, discuss my rationale for selecting the primary works, and offer an introduction to the quartet o f primary works.  38  CHAPTER THREE: CONNECTIONS A N D CONTEXTS Either individually or collectively, orphans, secret spaces and dolls have figured prominently i n countless works o f literature for children. Expanding on my preliminary discussion o f these three themes in the literature review, I intend in this chapter to examine other works o f children's literature featuring orphan girls, secret spaces and dolls. M y examination o f secret spaces, in particular, i n a selection o f novels for children led me to produce an evaluative framework to analyze the secret space's meaning and function in the wider context o f children's literature. The purpose o f this chapter is to define my research terms and to establish the scope o f m y discussion, to illustrate the context i n which the quartet o f primary works can be located by examining other works with similar themes, to address the question o f gender, to provide a rationale for m y selection o f the quartet o f primary works and to offer a brief introduction to each primary work.  Definition o f K e y Terms W i t h guidance from the theorists discussed in the literature review, I w i l l define core terms used in this study: "play," "orphan," " d o l l " and "secret space." The defining o f "play" is a tricky matter that raises several questions/What exactly is the nature o f the interactions between the orphan girls and their dolls? A r e these girls playing with their dolls, in the traditional definition o f the word according to The Oxford English Dictionary as an "exercise or action by way o f recreation; amusement, diversion, sport [or] frolic" (1012)? The girls in the quartet o f primary works, for example, use the objects o f play (dolls) in what would be deemed by adults as playing, but their activities go far beyond merely entertaining themselves. Guided by.D. W . Winnicott's theory o f play as a means o f discovering the self, and Erik Erikson's interpretation o f play as a constructive, problem-  39  solving activity, 1 have developed m y own definition o f play, or more specifically, doll play. I define play as the interaction between a child and her dolls in which the following activities may take place: conversations with the dolls (in instances in which the dolls are animated) and/or the manipulation and movement o f dolls. Thus, m y definition o f doll play goes beyond mere amusement for the child, and can include conversation and human-like interaction with dolls. This definition supports m y argument that dolls can help fictional children to develop a strong sense o f agency and identity through these play relationships. For the purposes o f this research, I have adapted Caroline Goodfellow's definition o f the doll, as described in The Ultimate D o l l Book: "an inanimate object that represents a human being in miniature" (8). In m y adapted definition, the doll can be inanimate or animate. In three o f the four primary works (the exception being Lucie Babbidge's House), the dolls are presented and perceived by the child characters as sentient, living beings. Thus, this adapted definition represents part o f the surprise o f their sentience: the dolls are supposed to be inanimate, but in these fantastical settings they are animate and capable o f humanlike interaction with child characters. Since all o f the dolls in ,the primary works are companion dolls, or dolls that resemble either older children or adults, I am more likely to imagine a companion doll rather than a baby doll when I use the term " d o l l . " Companion dolls seem more appropriate for interaction with children at a peer level than do baby dolls, which are meant to be cooed at and coddled. Adapting Goodfellow's definition helps to focus m y attention firmly in the realm o f toys for girls. Toys that resemble animals or machines are another matter entirely. I define "doll narrative" as any picture book or novel for children that features a doll, as per the definition above, as a major figure in the story. The dolls in doll narratives are  40  most often magically personified, with speech and thought o f their own. They may appear with or without child protagonists, although I am much more inclined toward the former, as child-doll dynamics are o f such significance to m y study. M a n y doll narratives are fantasies 4  in that they bring to life i n literature what nearly every child wishes: for her toys to come to life and interact with her. Beyond the child-appeal o f the fantastical element, however, lies an even deeper level o f meaning: the interactions between dolls and girls in these special spaces are a testament to the power o f the imagination and to the importance o f dolls as more than playthings. Throughout this thesis, I use the term "orphan girl" or simply "orphan." After much wrestling with this potentially problematic term, I settled on the word "orphan" to describe those children who have lost both parents, or, in the case o f losing only one parent, children who have become either physically estranged and/or emotionally distanced from the other parent as a result. Depending on the situation, the orphan girls might find themselves in the care o f caregivers (and "caregivers" is sometimes a misnomer), as do N o n a in M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Maggie in Behind the Attic W a l l and Jyd in The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , or in an orphanage, as does Lucie in Lucie Babbidge's House. The term "orphan" also suggests the inner struggles o f the girls in the four novels, and in the larger world o f children's literature, as they reconcile feelings o f loneliness, anger, resentment, displacement and alienation within themselves.  4 In W o r l d s W i t h i n . Sheila E g o f f makes a distinction between the " d o l l fantasy" and the " d o l l story." In doll fantasy, the dolls are personified and can move and operate separately from humans (130-131). In the more traditional doll story, however, the dolls can only talk among themselves, but they "cannot move on their own, and much o f the action in the story is the result o f where the children place the dolls in relation to one another" (144). A l t h o u g h E g o f f s distinction is a good one, m y analysis concerns relationships between girls and their dolls rather than distinguishing between fantasy and more realistic narratives. Thus, I have classified all stories that feature doll and girl interaction as " d o l l narratives."  41  I define "secret space" as a child-only space, where adults are not welcome ( i f adults do discover or enter it, it is often with detrimental results). A s I discussed in Chapter One, for fictional girls, secret spaces are often spaces o f interiority such as attics, dollhouses, storage rooms or tucked-away areas—these spaces are symbolic o f home, safety or belonging. Although human geographers have distinct, in-depth definitions o f space and place, I w i l l not enter that territory. For m y purposes, I am far more interested in the poetics o f space and the values placed on private space by children. For many characters in children's literature, and especially the orphan girl protagonists discussed herein, these secret spaces are mental, emotional, spiritual and physical rooms o f the self. Thus, I accept Y i - F u Tuan's definition o f place, "as a focus o f value, o f nurture and support" (Space 29), as well as Lois Kuznet's notion o f the "magic space" in which dolls exist (When 119). These terms illustrate the emotional meaning that children attach to their secret spaces. A s Joyce Thomas notes in her article "Woods and Castles, Towers and Huts: Aspects o f Setting in the Fairy Tale," ultimately "setting functions as an external, tangible correspondence to things internal and intangible" (127). Children's secret spaces, as exemplified in many instances in children's literature, provide strong links to their psyches. In Chapter T w o , I outlined characteristics o f orphan characters in literature for children, as well as relevant research. Here, I wish to provide examples o f how orphan characters interact with their dolls and/or secret spaces in works o f children's literature outside the quartet o f primary works. First, however, I w i l l describe the scope o f this comparative discussion.  42  The Scope of the Discussion In placing the primary works i n context, I focus on the time periods in which the primary works were written—the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—and the geographic locations in which they are set: Britain and North America, A s the focus o f m y study has been girls, I employ examples o f girl orphans in this discussion. Although a wealth o f these narratives exists in picture book form, m y study focuses on novels and longer illustrated works for children . These longer, more in-depth works, aimed primarily at children ages 5  eight to twelve, lend themselves more readily to a psychological analysis o f their protagonists. T o provide context for a discussion o f the primary works, in this chapter I investigate ways in which orphans have interacted with dolls and secret spaces in works o f children's literature. This provides a cursory look at the effects o f dolls and secret spaces in the lives o f orphan characters outside the quartet o f primary works.  The Role of Secret Spaces in the Lives of Fictional Orphan Girls Chapter T w o introduced the concept o f children's secret spaces. In this chapter, I expand on that idea to inform my larger discussion o f children and dolls within these spaces. Secret spaces for child characters in children's literature can be represented in the following ways: physical space, as embodied in forts, treehouses, bedrooms, dollhouses, attics and other hideaways; cognitive space, as represented by diaries and daydreams; and fantasy space, as in Neverland, Wonderland and other fantastical realms. This system o f classification assists in developing an evaluative framework for assessing secret spaces in the  Although not a novel, the illustrated book The Doll Who Came Alive goes beyond the picture book with its more in-depth storyline and characterization of Jyd. While not as sophisticated or complex as the other primary works, Tregarthen's story is fascinating as an earlier example of doll personification, and represents an excellent comparative text for Cassedy's Behind the Attic Wall.  43  primary works, as well as in other works o f children's literature. In all cases, and especially in the cases o f physical and cognitive space, secret spaces are often places where psychological growth and personal development are promoted within child characters. Physical, real space is the most powerful form o f secret space, as it allows the child character to escape wholly from the outside world. Physical secret spaces are the most obvious type o f what Bachelard describes as a "felicitous space" (xxxv). It is in a physical secret space that transformation can truly occur for fictional children, as it does for M a r y Lennox in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911). A n imperious, recently orphaned girl sent to live i n England, Mary, by the time she "arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, [is one whose] soul has died symbolically because o f neglect, lack o f love, and loneliness" (Kimball 566). She discovers a locked garden at the manor, which she dubs the "Secret Garden": "She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out o f the world in some fairy place" (Burnett 106). Through this discovery o f a secret garden, which fast becomes her secret space, as well as in her interactions with characters such as Dickon and C o l i n , M a r y experiences a spiritual rebirth. Although the rebirth has much to do with her interactions with others, and with helping to empower the sickly Colin, the physical secret space allows her this time and freedom from adult rules. B y the end o f The Secret Garden, M a r y no longer resembles the girl she was when she first arrived.  6  The child's secret space can take on another form entirely: the cognitive secret space. A cognitive secret space is any space a child can enter psychologically to "tune out" the  I draw further parallels between M a r y and M a g g i e in m y analysis o f B e h i n d the Attic W a l l in Chapter F i v e .  44  pressures o f the outside world. This type o f space can include daydreams, diaries and memories. Anne Shirley's mirror in the orphanage in L . M . Montgomery's Anne o f Green Gables (1908), for example, acts as a place for Anne to pour her dreams, hopes and desires, and this helps her to maintain her bright spirit in difficult times. L i k e many other girl orphans, Anne, too, wishes for a home: as she says to Matthew Cuthbert when he picks her up at the train station, "'[o]h, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to y o u ' " (12). The exuberant Anne craves human interaction and company, and thus her development into a fully integrated member o f the Avonlea community ultimately takes place as a result o f her friendships with others in her new home. E m i l y Byrd Starr in L . M . Montgomery's E m i l y o f N e w M o o n (1925) has a secret space that begins as a physical location and later becomes a sustaining memory and a cognitive secret space. E m i l y lives with her ailing father in a house in the hollow (her mother died when she was four), which is ' " a mile away from anywhere'" (1). When her father dies, E m i l y is sent to live with her mother's pompous relatives on N e w M o o n Farm. For the rest o f the novel, E m i l y writes letters to her late father in a diary. These letters, combined with her memories o f her father and her beloved childhood home, nourish her during her time o f transition. Because E m i l y has this cognitive secret space to retreat to, she is better equipped to deal with difficult people and eventually make friends in her new community. In Frances O'Roark D o w e l l ' s Where I'd L i k e to B e (2003), a girl named Maddie, living in a contemporary group home setting, creates a scrapbook using images from magazines o f homes where she longs to live one day. She and her friends also create a fort in which they can gather to talk about ideal futures for themselves. For Maddie, though, the hope for future safety and belonging comes in the form o f her cognitive secret space, her  45  "Book o f Houses" (42). Maddie puts her hopes and desires into this scrapbook, just as Anne Shirley does with the mirror. Although both physical secret space and cognitive secret space can be powerful for fictional children, physical secret space has the most power to transform the fictional children who take solace in it. Cognitive space can sustain fictional orphans while they deal with hardships, but the privacy afforded by physical space has the most positive influence. The lure o f fantasy space—magical and fantastical lands such as O z , Wonderland, the Hundred A c r e W o o d , Neverland and Fairyland—is undeniable for fictional children. W h i l e it is beyond m y scope to engage in a discussion about the larger world o f fantasy and fantasylands, it is helpful to acknowledge fantasy space as a type o f secret space. Jyd in The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e does, after all, retreat to a fantasy secret space for the rest o f her life. A notable fantasy space novel that also features an orphan girl protagonist is K i t Pearson's Awake and Dreaming (1996). Although Theo is not technically an orphan because her mother is still alive, her mother's neglect makes Theo an emotional orphan—she does not have a loving caregiver to turn to in times o f need. In Pearson's novel, Theo magically yet briefly becomes part o f a caring family. A s part o f the fantasy Kaldor family (the family actually exists in, the novel, but initially Theo encounters a fantastical and romanticized version o f the family), she finds a warm loving place to belong. When the fantasy breaks and Theo is plunged back into real life, she is uplifted by memories o f life with the Kaldors, and now knows how life should really be lived. She becomes friends with the real Kaldors, and her mother promises she w i l l try to do better. Again, the search for a loving home is a prominent theme.  46  M i n d a Rae A m i r a n ' s theory that fictional orphan boys are on a quest for adventure while fictional orphan girls are on a quest to find a home is a guidepost in m y analysis o f orphan girls and their secret spaces. V i e w e d in light o f Bachelard's and Tuan's ideas surrounding the emotional attachment to home, it is fascinating to explore the secret spaces of selected orphan girls. In examining the primary works, it is helpful to ask the following question: how do these spaces function i n terms o f the emotional and cognitive needs o f the girl characters?  The Role of Dolls in the Liyes of Fictional Orphan Girls In the four primary works, o f course, dolls also play an essential role in the girls' secret spaces. Dolls have featured prominently in children's literature in a variety o f roles: as companions to children, as devices for time travel, as facilitators o f magical events, as mentors to children, as playthings, as confidantes. In many doll narratives, dolls fill several of these roles at once, especially in narratives featuring animated dolls. A s it is m y intention to focus on the relationships between dolls and children, I w i l l not include in m y discussion the many fine doll narratives in which dolls and other toys have lives independent o f children, such as Sylvia Waugh's The Mennyms, Rachel Field's Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, and Jane Gardam's Through the D o l l ' s House Door. Just as the dolls in the selected primary works help the orphan girls to grow and develop, dolls have functioned similarly in the lives o f many non-orphan fictional children. In Rumer Godden's The D o l l ' s House, for example, the lives o f a doll family help non-orphan sisters E m i l y and Charlotte to realize the meaning o f special relationships. These realizations, and the related emotional growth o f the protagonists, recalls Perry Nodelman's and M a v i s Reimer's thoughts on dolls as metaphoric representations o f children (195)—by working out issues and desires in miniature, both  47  fictional and real-life children are then better-prepared to deal with these same issues in their everyday lives. W h i l e dolls and doll characters abound in children's literature, in m y research I soon realized that in few, very few, instances are they featured interacting with orphan girl characters. In researching other possible works o f children's literature that feature orphan girls, secret spaces and dolls, it soon became clear that there are few works for children that feature all three o f these elements. W h i l e there are several novels in children's literature featuring orphan girls and their secret spaces, in addition to the quartet o f primary works chosen for this thesis, few other instances in children's literature feature orphan girls and their dolls. Indeed, a thorough search o f library catalogues and critical bibliographies turned up only one other novel in addition to the primary works: Elvira W o o d r u f f s The Christmas D o l l (2000). L i v i n g in a British orphanage in the mid-nineteenth century, sisters L u c y and Glory Wolcott live in their memories, and try to remember life with their parents and their long-lost and much-treasured doll, Morning Glory. When they find an old doll that they are sure is Morning Glory, a series o f magical events occurs in which they find themselves working for a kindly dollmaker, M i s s Thimblebee. Because the doll is merely a vehicle for magic-making rather than for psychological growth in the protagonists, W o o d r u f f s story it is not especially pertinent to m y overall analysis.  Guys and Dolls: Orphan Boys, Toys and Secret Spaces A n extended look at girls and their dolls naturally leads to questions about the other gender: what about boys, their toys, and secret spaces in children's literature? The richness o f this topic is enough to inspire another thesis, and thus it is not my intention to engage in a discussion o f orphan boy characters in children's novels. However, it w i l l prove helpful to  48  investigate how girl characters differ from boy characters in their relationships to dolls/toys and secret spaces. In investigating this, I am most interested in how secret spaces and toys function in the lives o f boy characters, to help illustrate m y theory that dolls and secret spaces can be integral to orphan girl characters finding a place to belong. D o boys relate to their toys in different ways than girls relate to their dolls? M o r e significantly, in narratives featuring orphan boys, how might their interactions with their toys or secret spaces exemplify M i n d a Rae A m i r a n ' s aforementioned theory that while girl orphans long for loving homes and struggle to find them, boy orphans set out on independent quests to find their fortune (85)? M u c h as few examples o f orphan girl/doll/secret space narratives exist, even fewer orphan boy/doll/secret space narratives can be located. T w o examples, one featuring an orphan boy and a secret space, the other featuring an orphan boy and a toy, demonstrate the focus on adventure and fortune-seeking over the protagonist's psychological growth in these narratives: Sarah E l l i s ' The Several Lives o f Orphan Jack and Edith Nesbit's Harding's Luck. In making this comparison I do not intend to disparage works about orphan boys over works about orphan girls by suggesting that the novels featuring boys are o f lesser value because they focus on adventure. Indeed, adventures and experiences are important vehicles for self-discovery and the development o f a strong identity in all children. But I do argue that the main function o f toys and secret spaces for boy characters is to facilitate adventure, rather than emotional growth. The title character in The Several Lives o f Orphan Jack lives in an institution called the Opportunities School for Orphans and Foundlings, where he is known as "Otherjack" (to differentiate h i m from another Jack at the orphanage). Otherjack soon embarks on a journey in search o f the sea, taking only a change o f clothes and his beloved dictionary. H e discovers  49  that he is a born storyteller, and that he can trade his thoughts, ideas, opinions and impressions with the people he meets in exchange for the necessities o f life, such as food. Jack's ideas and dictionary (he becomes Jack again after he leaves the institution) may be seen as cognitive secret spaces in that they allow h i m to transcend his reality, but their function as secret space is entirely different from that o f the girl character's secret space: here, the space functions as a way for Jack to make important life decisions, but mainly as momentum for Jack to further his travels. The toy owned by an orphan boy in Edith Nesbit's Harding's Luck (1909) performs a similar function. Y o u n g Dickie Harding has inherited an old rattle from his father that is to bring h i m luck, but as the story opens, there is little luck or j o y in the sickly child's life. In a magical spell involving the rattle, Dickie is transported back in time three hundred years to the reign o f K i n g James I, where he takes on the identity o f Richard Arden. He saves the Arden family's fortune and eventually has to choose between returning to present-day London or remaining in the past. Although it is a special possession that brings h i m some level o f comfort, D i c k i e ' s toy is an inanimate object that functions primarily as a time-travel tool.  7  In narratives featuring non orphan boy protagonists, secret spaces and/or toys still have a similar effect in acting as vehicles for adventure. In A . A . M i l n e ' s Winnie-the-Pooh (1928), the fantasy space o f the Hundred A c r e W o o d , and Christopher Robin's play with the animated toys are integral to the story's sense o f adventure and play. In Rumer Godden's Impunity Jane (1954), a tough little girl doll, seeking adventure, encourages play from her boy owner. A notable exception is Lynn Reid Banks' The Indian in the Cupboard (1980), in  A l t h o u g h it is not an orphan a n d doll narrative, C o r a T a y l o r ' s T h e D o l l (1987) also features a doll that acts as a device for time travel.  50  which a boy named Omri learns the tremendous responsibility o f adulthood through caring for two tiny, magically animated plastic figurines: a Native American named Little Bear and a cowboy named Boone. A s I discuss in Chapter Six, there is much opportunity for an extended analysis o f boys, their toys and their secret spaces.  Selection of the Primary Works and an Introduction to Their Analysis M y choices o f primary works are informed by critical bibliographies mentioned in Chapter T w o ; as well, they are much-loved novels from m y own childhood. Moreover, the four primary works o f this study—Miss Happiness and M i s s Flower, Lucie Babbidge's House, The D o l l Who Came A l i v e and Behind the Attic Wall—are the only works I could locate which feature orphan girls, their dolls, and secret spaces. Before close analyses o f these primary works in Chapters Four and Five, it is helpful here to introduce the gist o f each narrative in turn. Each primary work is distinct in tone, theme, characterization o f the protagonists, portrayal o f the dolls, and form and function o f the protagonist's secret space. Rumer Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower features an orphan girl named Nona Fell. The eight year-old has been sent from her birthplace in India to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins in England, a country she has never before visited. Nona's mother died when Nona was a baby, and she has been raised by an Indian nanny at the family home "on her father's tea garden, Coimbatore in Southern India" (4). It is not revealed whether Nona's father is still alive, but it is clear that he is not involved in his daughter's life. Nona has come to England as a virtual orphan. The story focuses on her relationship with two Japanese dolls, M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, who also feel displaced, and on Nona's desire to build the dolls an authentic Japanese dollhouse to help them feel more at home. A s Nona designs and  51  builds the dollhouse, her confidence is similarly shaped and developed. This leads to her integration into her adoptive family. Sylvia Cassedy's psychological fantasy Lucie Babbidge's House is the story o f an eleven year-old named Lucie Babbidge. A s Lois Kuznets describes it, the first part o f the novel is largely confined to exploring her consciousness; the reader may suspect but w i l l not know until the beginning o f part 2 that the warm and loving family to which Lucie retreats after her excruciating school experiences at the hands o f her smarmy teacher, M i s s P i m m , and her fellow classmates is one she has created with dolls in an antique dollhouse she discovered in a storage room. (126) Lucie's incredible imagination and intelligence, though squelched in the "real world," are /  revealed in the dollhouse scenes. Through a series o f dramatic events involving her pen pal in England, Lucie experiences a profound psychological awakening. In The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , Enys Tregarthen's protagonist is Jyd Trewerry, a "little eight-year-old Cornish lass." Jyd suffers from emotional and physical neglect, and lives with her often-absent stepmother, a "very unworthy woman, often neglecting Jyd and treating her cruelly" (11). A s the local frockmaker M i s s Orange Nankelly observes, Jyd's dress ' " i s all ragged and torn and slipping off [her] shoulder blades'" (42). In addition to her lack o f love, food and adequate clothing, Jyd has never attended school. A s she later describes to her doll, school is a '"place where children learn their A . B . C s , an spelling an" writing ... Y o u have to pay money to go to school, an' m y stepmother can't afford schooling for m e ' " (29). Jyd first knows her doll Jane as an inanimate wooden Dutch doll that eventually comes to life because o f her love, a metamorphosis from inanimate to animate that  52  recalls Carlo Collodi's The Adventures o f Pinocchio and Margery W i l l i a m s ' The Velveteen Rabbit. Together, Jyd and Jane transcend their harsh existence forever by becoming permanent residents o f the "Small People's w o r l d " (64). Sylvia Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l is perhaps the most psychologically complex o f the primary works, largely due to the depth o f the protagonist, Margaret A n n Turner (Maggie). A t twelve, Maggie is a veteran o f American orphanages and public school classrooms, having been shuffled from place to place across the country since her parents died in a car accident. When the reader first meets her, with her "[b]ony legs, untied shoes, sandpaper knees [and] rotten temper," Maggie is being picked up at the train station by her quirky Uncle Morris (8). She is to be taken to live with her her health-obsessed great aunts Lillian and Harriet, who live in a now-deserted orphanage named Adelphi H i l l s . Shortly after arriving, Maggie hears mysterious voices. She at last discovers a forgotten attic room and sees the owners o f the voices: two china dolls named Timothy John and M i s s Christabel. Slowly, tentatively, Maggie builds a meaningful friendship with them, which eventually transforms her and allows her to be open to other meaningful relationships in her life. Thus, while each protagonist experiences a form o f psychological and social transformation, each transformation is unique according to each unique protagonist. In m y research and thinking about the connections between orphan girls, dolls and secret spaces in the quartet o f primary works, it sometimes seemed that more questions arose than answers. Does it matter that some o f the dolls are personified and animated (as in The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e and Behind the Attic Wall), while others are inanimate and controlled by the child (as in Lucie Babbidge's House) and still others communicate through silent wish-making (Miss Happiness and M i s s Flower)? Does it matter whether the secret spaces are physical spaces  53 .  such as attics and dollhouses, or cognitive spaces such as diaries and daydeams, or fantasy spaces such as the Small People's country? Certainly, a psychological reading o f orphan girls in relation to their dolls and spaces is a complex matter. In determining the nature o f psychological changes i n each character and the function of the dolls and the secret spaces, one overarching question arose: in order to experience profound changes in herself and in her life, what does each girl need? I argue, for example, that because Maggie.in Behind the Attic W a l l needs to have her desire to nurture and caretake fulfilled, she needs a space and interactions that allow her to love and care for others before she can experience profound psychological growth. This question o f the child's need is essential, and w i l l be highlighted in the close analysis o f texts in the following chapters. A closer look at the primary works presents many opportunities for comparison. The orphan protagonists have experienced varying degrees o f trauma and abuse in their lives, from neglectful stepmothers to drastic displacements, to witnessing their parents' deaths, to bullying from teachers and peers. These orphans need places o f solace to heal from their wounds (or, in Jyd's case, escape from the outside world altogether). Within these secret spaces exist remarkable relationships between girls and dolls. L i k e the environments themselves, each doll-child relationship is unique. Both Maggie and Jyd talk to their dolls as they would to humans; there is a back-and-forth dialogue in these interactions. For Nona, the Japanese dolls communicate almost telepathically, by wishing for what will happen to them. For Lucie, the interaction is another matter altogether, and perhaps the most traditional doll play situation: Lucie's dolls are not magically animated, and therefore there is no communication between Lucie and her dolls. Lucie manipulates and moves her dolls to act out the aforementioned warm and idealized familial scenes.  54  M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower and Lucie Babbidge's House seem a natural fit for analysis alongside each other. Dollhouses figure prominently in both Lucie Babbidge's House and M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, while Behind the Attic W a l l and The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e employ other types o f secret spaces. For Nona, Lucie and Maggie, the dollhouses and the attic room represent "what Winnicott calls transitional space to a child protagonist in need o f a link between inner and outer reality" (Kuznets 119). M o r e significantly, the spaces also provide the "felicitous space" that Bachelard deems as required to facilitate the child's capacity for imaginative play. In each o f the primary works, the dolls symbolize aspects o f the child's desires, fears, needs and hopes, whether it is Maggie and Jyd's intense desire to play caregiver, Lucie's compulsion to create an ideal family situation as an emotional escape, or Nona's need to fit into her new environment. In discussing the protagonists' psychological growth, various elements o f the works must be considered: characterization o f the protagonists, the protagonists' relationships to other non-doll characters, the portrayal and function o f the dolls, and the meaning o f secret spaces in the two works. With these connections in mind, I w i l l examine each work in the quartet I have chosen, beginning with M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower and Lucie Babbidge's House in Chapter Four.  55  C H A P T E R FOUR: MISS HAPPPNESS A N D MISS F L O W E R A N D L U C I E B A B B I D G E ' S HOUSE: N A R R A T I V E S OF INTEGRATION A N D A W A K E N I N G  "[The dollhouse] is the home, the evoked dream." - V i v i e n Greene  Both Rumer Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower and Sylvia Cassedy's Lucie Babbidfie's House demonstrate the interplay between the dollhouse as secret space and dolls as catalysts for psychological growth in the protagonists. Nona Fell and Lucie Babbidge, the orphan girl protagonists in each work (respectively), could not be more different from each other. W h i l e the generally well-adjusted N o n a needs help making the transition from life in India to life with a new family in England, the emotionally crippled Lucie Babbidge's problems appear much more permanent. The dolls, too, are portrayed differently in the two works. Whereas The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e and Behind the Attic W a l l , to be discussed in Chapter Five, feature personified dolls, in Godden's work and especially in Lucie Babbidge's House the dolls do not actively interact with the protagonists. A n d yet, the dolls still function as essential playthings and companions in the girls' lives. In M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Nona's building o f the dollhouse and her playing with two Japanese dolls acts as a temporary, transitional facilitator to help integrate her into the Fell family. Words o f encouragement from the dolls, transmitted telepathically to Nona, and Nona's construction o f a dollhouse for them, help her to gain a sense o f comfort, self-confidence and, ultimately, integration into her new life and family by the end o f the novel. In Lucie Babbidge's House, however, Lucie's dolls and dollhouse have become a long-term coping tactic and means o f escape from her lonely, seemingly hopeless existence in the orphanage, until events surrounding the dolls and the dollhouse conspire to bring about a psychological awakening in Lucie. Thus, I argue that while M i s s Happiness and Miss  56  Flower represents the orphan/doll/secret space story as a narrative o f integration, Lucie Babbidge's House represents the orphan/doll/secret space story as a narrative o f awakening. A s many o f the themes in Godden's novel illuminate those o f the much darker and more complex Lucie Babbidge's House, I w i l l begin with a discussion o f M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, published twenty-eight years before Cassedy's work. Although Godden's novel takes its title from the two tiny Japanese dolls given to the Fell girls as a gift, M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower is Nona's story. A s outlined in Chapter Three, eight year-old Nona Fell has been sent from her lifelong home in India to live with extended family in England. W i t h "her dark hair and eyes," N o n a feels like and is perceived as the Other among her "pink-cheeked, fair-haired cousins" (4). There are "three o f them: Anne, who [is] fourteen, slim and tall; T o m , who [is] eleven; and Belinda, who [is] a rough tough little girl of seven" (4). Although Nona's ethnic background is not specified, the narrator states, "there had been no other English boys and girls in Coimbatore" (5, emphasis mine). Thus, it seems that Nona is o f British rather than Indian heritage, but with a different complexion and hair colour than her fair cousins, also o f British descent. Her cousins laugh at her clothes, a "stiff red velvet dress, white socks, black strap shoes and silver bangles" and the way she speaks English, in a "sing-song voice" like her Indian nanny, or A y a h (5). Indeed, her visible cultural differences do not help Nona to easily feel part o f her new family. Initially, Nona seems to fit Claudia M i l l s ' definition o f a passive, polite orphan, refusing food and invitations to go outside with a "ho, thank y o u " every time. A l l through Christmas, when she first arrives, Nona is "unhappy" (6). Depressed, withdrawn and tentative, she is afraid to leave the relative safety o f the Fell home. She stands by the window, running her silver bangles from India up and down her wrist: "she had had them  57  since she was a baby and to feel them made her seem closer to Coimbatore" (6). To N o n a , everything in England is unfamiliar and frightening. She has "never ridden a bicycle, or roller-skated, or played ping-pong, or rounders, or hide-and-seek, or even card games like Snap or Beggar-my-neighbour" (5). She does not like English food, or the cold o f England, and is frightened by the busyness o f the streets, "for she had never seen so many buses and cars,-vans and bicycles; they went so fast it made her dizzy" (5). A s Belinda comments, ' " N o n a is a good name for her.. . A l l she does is say N o , no, no all the time" (4). Paralysed by her homesickness, N o n a does little other than sit in a corner, read or cry. A t least at first, Nona's daydreams o f Coimbatore help her to cope with her homesickness, and in doing so act as a cognitive secret space. But her daydreams o f India w i l l not help her to integrate into the Fell household—the dolls and the dollhouse help her to do that. Nona appears to feel safe, at least physically, in the Fell house. A s she might be described by Y i - F u Tuan, Nona perhaps unconsciously recognizes the Fell house "as a focus of value, o f nurture and support" (Space 29), even i f this house does not feel like a home to her yet. Nona could be aware (perhaps on an unconscious level) that she is in a place where her new family is attempting to make her feel at home and take care o f her needs. Nonetheless, she feels despair about her new circumstances. After a time M r s . Fell, whom Nona calls "Mother," expresses her concern about the child's lack o f integration into the family and withdrawal from the household activities: ' " Y o u really must try to be happier, Nona. Y o u ' r e not the only small person to come from far away'" (7). Such a comment from Mrs. Fell, although well-meaning, does little to help Nona, who responds, ' " I ' m the only one here'" (7). A t this point, it seems that nothing can assuage Nona's feelings o f isolation and Other-ness.  58  The family's support alone is not helping N o n a to feel a sense o f belonging. It seems that Nona requires something else—an external force or catalyst—to help integrate her. She finds that catalyst, literally, in the mail. Shortly after N o n a and M r s . Fell's conversation, the two Japanese dolls, M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, arrive by post from Great-Aunt L u c y Dickinson in America. They are for the "Misses F e l l , " that is, Belinda and Nona, as Anne is now "too b i g " to play with dolls (11). A s their names may suggest, M i s s Flower is nervous and "always frightened," while M i s s Happiness is more jovial, relaxed, "more hopeful and more brave" (3). Through their wishing, the dolls make their needs for proper shelter and comfort known. ' " W e do want a house o f our o w n , ' " they think, " ' W e do wish M i s s N o n a could look after us'" (18). A s I discuss later, the sensitive N o n a senses the dolls' deeply felt wishes for culturally-appropriate, comfortable housing. I w i l l pause here in m y analysis to provide a glimpse into Godden's fascinating portrayal o f dolls and their wishes, which are transmitted telepathically to children. Godden offers a fantastical interpretation o f the inner lives o f dolls present in all o f her doll narratives for children, including The D o l l ' s House, Impunity Jane, The Fairy D o l l and H o l l y and Ivy. Her premise o f doll communication as outlined in The D o l l ' s House suggests that "[dolls], o f course, cannot talk [to people]. They can only make wishes that some people feel" (12). A s Lynne Rosenthal suggests, Godden's doll narratives provide "a series o f mirrors in which children's inner conflicts and changing self-images are reflected in miniature i n the figures o f the dolls" (59). Godden's carefully devised world o f dolls and their wishes perhaps grew out o f her love o f miniature objects, a fascination evident in all o f her works for children. A s Godden has expressed, "'[m]y books for children .... are about small things, dolls' house size  59  dolls, pocket dolls, m i c e ' " (qtd. in Rosenthal 15). A l l o f these patterns and themes are evident in M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower. Children themselves "have only limited means with which to fulfill their desires, and 'wishing' is a very important mode o f being for children. The dolls who can only proceed by wishing convey the essence o f this childhood experience" (Rustin 87). Writing about Godden's doll narratives, Margaret and Michael Rustin comment that dolls are available and important to children as representations o f aspects o f their internal worlds. The passions o f the dolls and the children revolve around relationships with home....The subject matter o f the stories thus enables them to be intense and moving symbolizations o f the emotional preoccupations o f children. (85) For each o f the protagonists in the quartet o f primary works, the dolls often represent the girls' deepest wishes and desires, whether that desire is the search for someone to take care of, as it is for Behind the Attic W a l l ' s Maggie, or as a representation o f an ideal family life, as Lucie Babbidge desires. Nona and the Japanese dolls are united by their mutual wishes for a place to belong, which they fear w i l l not come true. M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower fear that their needs w i l l not be met in their new environment: ' " N o one w i l l understand us or know what we want. Oh, no one w i l l ever understand us again!'" (3). Like the dolls, Nona knows that "wishes are very powerful things" (9-10). Nona also makes silent wishes: "1 wish I could go home...I wish I could see my own father. I wish I could see A y a h " (14). Later, she makes these wishes tangible by writing them on bits o f paper and tying them onto a tree outside: "[it] seemed to help her unhappiness to put the wishes on the tree and she went back to write  60  some more, but she had said all there was to say" (16). The act o f materializing her wishes— perhaps unconsciously inspired by the wishes N o n a feels from the dolls—is the first step in healing herself. Feeling the dolls' wishes for a home, and acting on those wishes, is the second and most important step in Nona's journey toward integration in the Fell family. M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower continue to send their wishes telepathically to Nona. Every day, M i s s Flower silently pleads, "'[b]ut where is our house?'" (24). This need for a house is poignant for Nona, and in her behaviour toward Belinda she shows that she feels the dolls' wishes. A s I discuss later in this chapter, Belinda feels intensely jealous o f and resentful o f Nona's presence in the family. In her frustration, Belinda throws the dolls into her European-style dollhouse, "-'a funny kind o f house,'" according to M i s s Happiness (19). N o n a immediately feels their sense o f discomfort, perhaps because [she] too had known quite other kinds o f houses, and felt so unhappy and strange in England, that she could guess what M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower were feeling behind their stiff plaster faces. "1 don't think the doll's house w i l l do," said Nona. (20) A s N o n a recognizes this, her "discomfort in the Fell household is mirrored by the dolls' unhappiness in Belinda's doll's house" (Rosenthal 63). N o n a reacts protectively toward the dolls, arguing with Belinda that the dolls need to kneel rather than sit, and that they need cushions to kneel on. A t that moment, the dolls make another strong wish for Japanese-style cushions, and Nona sees in her mind "a heap o f bright doll's-house cushions" (22). This empathetic visualization is one way a child can feel a doll's wish.  61  In defending the dolls' needs, N o n a becomes their empowered advocate. In doing so, Nona is able to positively focus the energies that she had previously dedicated to moping and crying. A n d , by advocating for M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, N o n a also becomes a powerful advocate for herself: she is able to vouch for the dolls' needs because she identifies so strongly with them. That the dolls function in Nona's life as identifiers for Nona, as two other small "people" who have come from far away, is important. The dolls' thoughts on their new life in England are a miniaturized reflection o f Nona's feelings and attitudes toward her new life in England. A s M i s s Flower comments to M i s s Happiness, the new country feels "strange and cold" (2). Likewise, in the unfamiliar frost o f the English winter, N o n a is described by the narrator as "always cold" (4). The dolls are perceived as the Other by the Fell children, as something undesirable and strange, as Nona is: '"What queer little dolls,'" Belinda comments (9). T o this, N o n a replies, '"[fjhey're not queer. They're Japanese'" (9). The dolls wish for a "little girl who is clever and k i n d " to feel their wishes and understand their needs, because there "always has been" (3). Nona appears to be the "right one," like Maggie in Behind the Attic W a l l , the chosen one to align herself physically and psychologically with the dolls. Nona and the dolls share the same sense o f loneliness and confusion. Dolls are not asked i f they would like to be shipped off to a new country to live with new people, and "[cjhildren are not asked, either" (Godden, M i s s 3). A s Godden's narrator observes in The D o l l ' s House, . [it] is an anxious, sometimes a dangerous thing to be a doll. Dolls cannot choose; they can only be chosen; they cannot "do"; they can only be done by; children who do not understand this often do wrong things, and then the dolls are hurt and  62  abused and lost; and when this happens the dolls cannot speak, nor do anything except be hurt and abused and lost. (13) The word "children" could easily replace the word "dolls" in this passage, and, even more powerfully, so could the word "orphans." Orphans like Nona, Lucie, Maggie and Jyd are vulnerable and powerless objects in the hands o f caregivers, teachers and other adults on whom they depend for their care, their education, and for the provision o f their material needs. Thus, the dolls' companionship helps alleviate Nona's feelings o f loneliness and powerlessness. Nona keeps the dolls close by her side whenever possible, and, as the narrator observes, "now every day on the playroom window seat three heads could be seen: Nona's dark one, bent, as she sat cross-legged with one o f M r . Twilfit's books, and beside her two very small black ones" (35). Melanie K l e i n ' s theory o f projective identification is evident in Nona's strong identification with M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower. W h i l e the other members o f the family only seem to drive Nona deeper into emotional isolation, the dolls help to alleviate it. She frequently confides in the dolls, as she does when she is afraid to go to the store for wood to make the dollhouse. She expresses her fears o f fast bicycles and cars to the dolls, who "[appear] not to hear" (46). Taking their silence as a sign that they would not be afraid o f busy streets, Nona responds, '"Japanese people are horribly brave'" (47), and decides to accompany T o m on his trip to the store. Thus, Nona is able to project her feelings onto the dolls and by doing so, finds not only emotional comfort but also a sense o f agency. These are important actions for Nona, which help her to move out o f the passive orphan role—she is empowering herself to make small changes toward integration into her new English life.  63  W i t h this knowledge o f the intense and valuable connection that Nona feels with M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, it is also important to examine Nona's relationships with nondoll characters in the work and how they affect her psychological development and integration into her new family. In addition to her homesickness, Nona has another challenge to contend with: her new adoptive sister Belinda, one year younger than she. Although not an irredeemable bully like those in CassedyVnovels, Belinda deeply resents Nona's new presence in the family. She asks Nona: ' " W h y did you have to come? W e don't want you. W h y don't you go home? W h y don't you have a house and a family o f your o w n ? ' " (14). A s I have described, Belinda exhibits classic signs o f the youngest child feeling anger and frustration with the introduction o f a new member o f the household, especially a girl so close in age. The rest o f the family's attention to Nona's needs has detracted from the attention usually given to Belinda, and "Belinda [thinks] everyone [is] spoiling N o n a " (45). Although Belinda presents the greatest challenge to Nona in the Fell family, it is also Belinda who inadvertently encourages Nona to build a doll's house for the Japanese dolls. After Nona admonishes her for treating the dolls so roughly, Belinda mockingly suggests that Nona "'had better make them a whole Japanese house'" (22). Despite the wishes o f the dolls, Nona is initially unsure how to proceed with the building o f the house. She attempts to shape a cardboard box to resemble a Japanese dollhouse, and then tries "to arrange an empty drawer with the wooden box for a bed and some rolled-up handkerchiefs for cushions, but it did not look like anything at a l l " (24-25). Luckily, two other prominent characters, T o m and M r . Twilfit, offer support to Nona, and in doing so play an important role in Nona's integration into her new family.  64  Unlike Maggie, Lucie, and Jyd, who have virtually no external emotional support to speak of, N o n a is surrounded by a family (with the exception o f Belinda) that wants her to feel comfortable in her new surroundings. A s Rosenthal points out, that "children can help children becomes evident when N o n a is empowered by Belinda's brother, T o m , who tells her ' Y o u could make a doll's house,' and that everything necessary can be learned from books" (63). T o m encourages the building o f the Japanese dollhouse, and T o m , despite his occasional grumbling, helps Nona craft the house. M r . Twilfit, the kindly owner o f the local bookshop, lends Nona books to help in the planning o f the dollhouse. T o m and M r . Twilfit seem to understand Nona's feelings o f discomfort and need for purpose in her new home. In both characters, Nona finds her first English friends (34) and, they, like the dolls, offer quiet emotional support for Nona. Nona puts much care into planning and building the Japanese dollhouse. She pays meticulous attention to cultural and historical details, and wishes to study thoroughly all the available background information from M r . Twilfit's books before building to be absolutely correct in all aspects o f the dollhouse. A l l the while, Nona pays strict attention to the cultural needs o f the dolls; for example, she has the dolls bow when they meet new people, and kneel instead o f sit. A s M i s s Flower notes to M i s s Happiness, '"She is beginning to understand'" (35). Fully engrossed in the dollhouse, Nona has no time to "stand and look out the window; she [spends] all day over M r . Twilfit's books or trotting up the road to see M r . Twilfit. She [is] learning all she [can] about Japan" (35). Changes are already occurring in Nona: she now wants to leave the refuge o f the house to go to the bookshop for research. She is still afraid, but '"once you start being brave you have to go on,' [thinks] N o n a " (29). Indeed, Nona's determination and newfound sense o f purpose are strong.  65  In creating a place o f solace for the dolls, N o n a also creates a secret space for herself. Paradoxically, Nona's secret space is intensely public: unlike Lucie, who temporarily escapes the harsh reality o f her orphanage each day, Nona constructs the dollhouse in full view o f everyone else in the household. Because one o f the functions o f the dollhouse is to act as a transitional space that helps integrate N o n a into the family, the dollhouse necessitates this level o f connection with the members o f the family. A s Godden's narrator observes, [a] strange thing had happened. Suddenly it was as i f everyone in the house were helping to make the Japanese doll's house. "Everyone except me," said Belinda. "I won't help." Perhaps it was Nona's reading aloud, or M r . Twilfit's interest, or the plan that T o m had drawn from the pictures in the books.. .or "because o f our wishing," said M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, but all the family seemed to be running backwards and forwards to Nona, asking Nona questions, bringing things to Nona. "Except me," said Belinda. (43) Although it does have this socially integrative function, the dollhouse is still Nona's secret space, as she is far more emotionally and privately connected to its meaning than are the. other members o f the family. W h i l e the other Fells view the building o f the dollhouse as an engaging and interesting project, for N o n a it serves a more powerful function. In this way, the dollhouse is both a physical space and a cognitive space for Nona. A s a secret space, the dollhouse is a place into which Nona can purposefully focus all her wishes, dreams and hopes. A s Antonia Fraser comments, "the devotee o f the dolls' house w i l l certainly argue that the future architect has always from childhood busied himself with building with bricks, and therefore that the urge to construct a dolls' house is every bit as universal as that to play with a d o l l " (51). Nona feels a great affection and companionship for  66  the dolls, but her urge to construct a house for them is even stronger than her urge to play with them. Her time spent in her cognitive space, thinking about the dolls and the dollhouse, gradually empowers her to voice her opinions. For example, when T o m and N o n a argue about the traditionally-prescribed niche in the dollhouse, Nona says, ' " B u t I told you...It's a most important part o f a Japanese r o o m ' " (49). Nona's insistence prevails, and the niche is added to the dollhouse. The initially passive N o n a would never have spoken her opinions so assertively, or at all. Just as N o n a is beginning to experience a growing sense o f empowerment, there comes a time when she must put aside her intense focus on the dollhouse. L i k e the Fell children, she must go to school. N o n a is bolstered by a "fresh wish" from the dolls, when they learn that while at school Nona can learn to sew: ' " T i n y careful stitches!...O honourable M i s s Nona, please go to school. Oh, go to school!' A n d Nona began to think that perhaps school might not be so very dreadful" (54). M r s . Fell suggests that Nona take M i s s . Happiness and M i s s Flower to school in her head, further emphasizing the importance o f the dolls and the dollhouse in the creation o f a cognitive space for Nona. Nona's feelings o f alienation emerge again in the classroom, where she finds it difficult to integrate into her peer group. She feels rejected by her classmate M e l l y , and complains to M r s . Fell, '"she's too pretty and stuck-up to speak to m e ' " (66). Nona's passion for the dolls and the dollhouse is evident in one o f her exchanges with M e l l y . She spots M e l l y ' s pencil box, which she feels would make a "perfect little cupboard" for the dollhouse (69). She offers to swap it for her silver bangles, one o f her only souvenirs from her life in India. A s the narrator comments, "Nona felt an ache in her heart; she had had her bangles  67  since she was a baby and they reminded her o f Coimbatore, but she had the dolls to think o f now" (70). W h i l e Nona's impulsive willingness to give up an object o f such sentimental value might be read as a sign o f assimilation into her new English life, I interpret Nona's behaviour here as another sign o f her gradual integration and adaptation. In (temporarily) giving up her souvenir o f Indian life, N o n a demonstrates her intense emotional involvement with the dolls. She still has her precious memories o f life in India, but the dolls have entered her mind and heart as a new focus o f her attention. Nona's act o f trading her bangles also symbolizes her transition: to engage more fully with her new life, she must be willing to surrender parts o f her former life. A s it happens, the exchange is not permitted: when the girls' parents find out, they naturally do not allow such an unequal exchange to take place. The failed exchange brings N o n a and M e l l y together, and their budding friendship proves to be a sustaining factor in Nona's growing happiness. When M e l l y gives N o n a a selection o f beautiful fabric to create tiny Japanese cushions and quilts, M e l l y ' s involvement in the communal building o f the dollhouse is cemented. A s the narrator comments, Nona hardly knew i f she was standing on her head or her heels. To go to tea with M e l l y ; to make the quilts and cushions; to have this heap o f soft and beautiful stuffs! "What is the matter with Nona?" asked Father, who happened to be looking out o f the window as Nona and Belinda came back from school. "She looks as i f she were dancing on the pavement." (76) This growing friendship with a peer outside the Fell family demonstrates that Nona is moving beyond integration into her new family, and is also beginning to integrate into her new community.  68  In addition to her friendship with M e l l y , N o n a also gains increasing favour with Belinda. Although Belinda enacts her resentment toward Nona until the very end o f the novel, even taking away M i s s Flower just before the reveal o f the completed dollhouse, she is ultimately able to see the error o f her ways and accept Nona as a member o f the family. After Belinda returns M i s s Flower to the Japanese dollhouse, where she belongs, Nona's happiness is complete. A s the narrator describes, "Nona came running into [Belinda's] room. She looked a new N o n a now with her eyes shining and her hair flying, her cheeks pink. She jumped on Belinda's bed and in a moment they were hugging one another. 'I never thought we would do that!' said Belinda" (99). W i t h the dollhouse complete and Belinda's resentment towards her now resolved, Nona's integration into her new family and community is complete. Erik Erikson's theory o f play as a constructive act is reflected in Nona's discovery o f confidence, self-worth and identity in the Fell family through the building o f the dollhouse. Nona needs the dolls and the dollhouse, as they prove to be invaluable transitional objects in a difficult time. B y solving in miniature a problem similar to her own—providing a comfortable, culturally-appropriate home for M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower to live i n — Nona diminishes her own feelings o f isolation and Other-ness. In problem-solving through play, N o n a has created an emotional and physical sense o f home both for herself and for her dolls. Bachelard would be proud: Nona has created for herself what he calls a "bosom o f the house" (Bachelard 7). In the sequel Little Plum, which takes place one year after the events in MissHappiness and M i s s Flower, N o n a has emerged as a fully integrated member o f the Fell household.  69  W h i l e N o n a finds a happy ending, the title character o f Sylvia Cassedy's Lucie Babbidge's House is in a far more bleak and desperate situation. Nona's initial emotional withdrawal and depression are temporary, yet the problems o f lonely, unloved Lucie appear far more permanent. Thus, while Nona needed help with a more short-term c h a l l e n g e integrating into a new family—Lucie needs a complete psychological overhaul for her longterm problems o f emotional isolation and withdrawal. For Lucie, the secret space o f the dollhouse and her make-believe play with the dolls do not serve an integrative purpose; rather, they allow her a temporary escape from her almost unbearable reality. Bullied from all angles by her peers and teacher, Lucie needs this space away from other people. A s Lois Kuznets explains, Lucie has "maintained this imaginary after-school life while to all outer appearances her 'real' life has come to a standstill" (126). Orphaned at the age o f six, five years before the events o f the novel take place, Lucie is depicted as a passive victim at school, emotionally and physically trapped in the cold, unloving environment o f Norwood H a l l , "a place for orphans who were neither this nor that. Nobody ever said orphans anymore" (Cassedy, Lucie 130). In the classroom and the "real world" o f the orphanage, Lucie is painfully withdrawn and isolated. She is the pitied example o f her condescending teacher, M i s s P i m m : "What did Lucie fail to do?" M i s s P i m m liked to ask the class questions about Lucie. "What did Lucie forget to wear today?" she would sometimes begin, or "What did Lucie do to her face?" as though Lucie were a demonstration on a table. (7)  70  Lucie rarely speaks in class. Her voice, "when she [speaks]—if she [speaks] at all—[is] a soft kind o f whisper, hoarse and fuzzy: what M i s s P i m m [calls] a croak" (4). Lucie always sits with her head down—"I don't know, M i s s P i m m " is her usual response (3). Treated as an invisible outcast by her peers, who refer to her as "Goosey-Loosey," Lucie is rarely talked to but rather talked about. A s one o f her classmates remarks to a small group o f fellow classmates, '"She messes up everything... She messes up herself. Look at her. W i t h her hair in those knots and a l l ' " (6). Lucie's peers bully her incessantly, poke her with sticks, fire all manner o f insults at her and push her against walls. Lucie also finds an uncaring bully in M i s s P i m m . When P i m m asks the class to make a historical frieze, with each student representing a period in time on a piece o f paper, Lucie colours a piece o f paper grey to represent the sky "before the stars come out" (144). This grey shade, the reader learns later, is the exact colour o f the sky six years previous when L u c i e ' s parents died in a train crash. A s Cassedy's narrator explains, "[i]t was that gray hour between day and night when the light has left the sky but the dark and the stars have not yet come to take its place" (146). Lucie's classmate, Jane, is asked to complete Lucie's picture, adding an astronaut and a moon to the plain greyness. In the classroom, the misunderstood Lucie does not reveal any o f the witty, conversational nature that the reader later sees in the dollhouse scenes. A t this point, the reader still believes that although "unengaged and tormented at school, Lucie is happy at home" ( W o l f 54). For the first part o f the novel, it appears that Lucie returns home after school each afternoon to a loving, caring family. The reader does not become aware that the house is not Lucie's own house but a dollhouse within a forgotten storeroom until the second part o f the novel. The narrator reveals this twist to the reader in one surprising sentence: "[Lucie] slipped her hand into her pocket then, and reaching through  71  the open wall o f the house, very carefully dropped the new family member into its tiny, tiny bed" (77). A t once, the psychology o f it all becomes clear— Lucie, who never speaks in class, is the voice o f these witty, kind, loving and lovely characters. Her happy home life is a fantasy, created by LuCie as an escape from her harsh existence. Lucie's life was not always so grim. For the dimly remembered first five years o f her life, she led a normal childhood with loving parents. Her faint memories o f the events leading up to the train crash that killed her parents are scattered throughout the novel, interspersed with the relentlessly harsh classroom scenes. In one memory o f a blissful afternoon at the beach, Lucie's father helps her write messages in the sand to mermaids. Lucie wants her father to tell the mermaids '"that I'm happy, and I want to stay like this forever'" (122). These memories appear like beacons o f light and love in contrast to Lucie's current reality and form a cognitive secret space that allow her, at least fleetingly, to escape her Norwood H a l l torture. In her Norwood Hall reality, another bright spot emerges in the form o f letters from Lucie's British pen pal Delia Hornsby Booth, to whom Lucie writes as part o f a letter-writing scheme created by M i s s Pimm. After her initial letter to Delia, Lucie reads and enjoys but does not respond to any o f Delia's letters, which Lucie receives on a regular basis. M u c h mystery surrounds these notes, especially when the events in Lucie's dollhouse begin to affect the events in Delia's real home in England. I w i l l discuss these events later in this chapter. With Delia and her letters in mind, I w i l l discuss Lucie's behaviour in her secret space, and how her true nature is gradually revealed in the dollhouse scenes. To cope in the classroom, over time Lucie has raised a defence o f muteness; numbed to the insults o f her  72  peers and teachers, she has fashioned herself into a passive (although not exactly polite) orphan to get through everyday life. She is, for example, far more intelligent than she appears in class: in the secret space she can recite all eleven verses o f the poem "Come into the garden, M a u d , " but in class she acts as i f she forgot (97). In her secret space, she is free to be her true self. Lucie's construction o f her alternate reality is complex and highly imaginative. The reader learns that "[e]very afternoon, when the clock said three and classes were done, [Lucie] took a sudden quick turn down a dark hidden stair and locked herself inside a room where no one went....no one even knew that it was there" (81). She found the dolls, who had "been asleep under the stairs for so long" (84), and brought them to life. Until it is invaded later in the novel, this secret space o f solace belongs to Lucie and Lucie alone. The witty, loving and often quirky family scenes at Lucie's house are clearly inspired by The Adventures o f the Pendletons, a book about "a family that lived in England long ago" (31), which M i s s Pimm reads aloud to the class each day. In creating these scenes in her secret space, Lucie becomes a storyteller rather than a passive listener, constructing an ideal narrative o f her life. With only the faint memories o f the love o f her parents to build on, Lucie is able to create a remarkably nurturing existence in the dollhouse. In addition to the scenes inspired by the Pendletons, she re-enacts events from her past with the dolls, such as an afternoon at the beach with her parents. A s Lucie the doll explains to her doll mother and father, ' " W e l l , M u m m a is going to be the mermaid queen who lives in the exact middle o f the ocean, and you are going to be the mermaid king who lives there, too'" (138). Kitti Carriker likens this act to the creation o f a double, a motif found in adult literature in which a dollmaker creates a doll in his own likeness, like Gepetto's creation o f Pinocchio. Through  73  the china doll version o f herself and the dollhouse itself, the real Lucie is able to enact her unconscious and conscious desires, as N o n a does with the Japanese dollhouse. Lucie has identified a miniature likeness o f herself, a "china Lucie," who is "a great many wonderful things all at once: beautiful and kind and sensible and smart. Gifted, in fact" (115). The china Lucie is an embodiment o f her own unconscious desires to be liked and loved: ' " S a y you like me, Greenheart.. .Say you think I'm nice,'" she says to her pet bird in the dollhouse (171). In deciding on china Lucie's bedroom, the real Lucie says in her head, '"[fjhis room w i l l be for you....because it's going to be so beautiful. Beautiful like y o u ' " (86). When in reality Lucie is never chosen to be on a sports team, the china Lucie is the star athlete o f the playground. A s the china Lucie says to her mother, "[fjhere were relay races, and I got picked first to be on a team. I'm the fastest runner in my class, and hopper, too" (180). Thus, the flesh-and-blood Lucie can take on every positive quality she has ever wanted through the miniature version o f herself. Lucie develops personalities for her doll characters which represent various aspects o f her own complex personality, from comedian to caregiver: "The real Lucie had decided from the beginning that Emmett would be the silly one. M u m m a would be the beautiful one, and the kind one, too. Dada would be the funny one" (115). The dolls' personalities can also represent figures from Lucie's life, as in the case o f Olive, who "would be like whoever Lucie's teacher was, which meant she wouldn't change much from year to year" (115). In her interaction and communication with the dolls, Lucie acts as a puppeteer. A s the narrator explains, "The dolls never spoke to the real Lucie, not ever at all, nor she to them. They addressed only each other, inside her head" (96). When she plays with the dolls, a separate  74  Lucie does not exist—in her mind, according to my interpretation, the china Lucie and the real Lucie are one and the same. The storage room and the dollhouse represent a physical secret space for Lucie. She has clearly-drawn boundaries for her secret space, and has created this alternate reality completely within its confines. Her fantasy world is limited to place: she does not remove the dolls from the dollhouse, nor is she shown playing at any similar type o f game in the classroom. She has endowed the dollhouse room with tremendous emotional value in the sense that Tuan outlines: one's definition o f "place" as a location endowed with emotional value (Topophilia 6). For Lucie, her fantasy world o f the dolls and the dollhouse "is not a lesser world, nor a paler place, nor a poor substitute. Rather, it is a rich world, preferable by far to the bleakness o f home, schoolroom, and neighbourhood" (McDonnell 103). Lucie's play with the dollhouse represents a deeply felt desire to be part o f a loving family. In her depiction o f the secret dollhouse room, Cassedy reveals the "complex relationship between isolation, however painful, and creativity—isolation breeding creativity—which in turn helps to alleviate or fill the void o f isolation" (McDonnell 106). Isolation is a necessity in Lucie's life, as this time spent alone affords her the space to play. A s D . W . Winnicott describes in Playing and Reality, the child's "capacity to play imaginatively is linked with [her] ability to be in touch with unconscious feelings" (qtd. in Rustin 8 8 ) . Unfortunately, unlike Nona, Lucie's desire, conscious or unconscious, may never be fulfilled. In true Bachelardian fashion, Lucie uses the storage room as "felicitous space" in which to daydream and remember a time when she was surrounded by loving parents. Play and secret space are a necessity for Lucie—without them, "the backdrop o f pain is so intense that, were it not for the reprieve o f inner worlds, neither [character] nor readers could endure  75  it" (McDonnell 105). Fortunately, by the end o f the novel, as I w i l l discuss later i n this chapter, Lucie's awakening enables her to rise above this real-life "backdrop o f pain." B y empowering herself through dollhouse play, Lucie has unintentionally gained a mysterious power: the ability to affect God-like change in Delia and her family's life, as Delia reveals in her unanswered letters to Lucie. T o test her powers, Lucie enacts an uncharacteristic moment o f violence on the Olive doll: "Then she did something she had never done before. Grasping Olive's pipe cleaner arm between her fingers, she gave it a sudden, sharp twist, bending it out o f shape and leaving it to dangle like a broken wing. ' O w ! ' she shrieked in her head for O l i v e " (140). In Delia's next letter, Francy, the Booth family's housekeeper and the living double o f Olive, has "caught her arm in a fridge door" (150). When Lucie bumps the dollhouse in another scene, her accidental rocking o f the structure causes an earthquake in Delia's part o f the world (158). L i k e Maggie's in Behind the Attic W a l l , there comes a time when Lucie's carefullyconstructed secret space is invaded and shattered by outsiders. A n unidentified group o f Lucie's classmates—Cassedy brilliantly portrays their jumbled-up chatter in short, unattributed lines o f dialogue—is bold enough to enter the orphanage's storeroom to discover Lucie's dollhouse. To them, the dollhouse is filled with old toys and junk, such as the reinforcements and thumbtacks, which Lucie collected to represent a doll-sized game o f ringtoss (190). After messing about with the dolls, Lucie's classmates take them and run out of the storeroom. Separated from her lifeline, her idyllic universe, Lucie falls gravely i l l . With her secret space ruined, she now has only her unforgiving reality to contend with: no familial love in her life, a condescending teacher, bullying classmates and a faraway pen pal in  76  England whose letters Lucie never answers. The teacher and the school nurse can't understand how someone can be "so healthy one day and so i l l the next" (194). Without her coping strategy o f the dolls and the dollhouse, Lucie fades into a helpless shadow o f a girl and lies in the nurse's sickroom for three weeks. During her convalescence, Lucie receives a letter from Delia. W h i l e Lucie's play in the dollhouse had previously meant that simple events were then, mirrored in the Booth household, the impact has now reached drastic proportions. The stealing o f Lucie's dolls by her classmates has equaled, on the other side o f the Atlantic, the kidnapping o f the entire Booth family. In other words, Lucie's greatest advantage, her secret space, has now become a harrowing disadvantage in another's life. Compelled to save the Booths, Lucie locates the dolls in her classmate Rose Beth's desk, fixes them and returns them to the dollhouse. Then, once everything has been set to rights, Lucie leaves her world o f the dollhouse forever. She says "good-bye" four times, twice in her head and twice out loud (she rarely speaks aloud in her secret space), and hangs her sweater over the dollhouse in a moment o f closure (233). Lucie's relinquishment o f her dolls and her secret space demonstrates her awakening, as well as her growing empathy. The act o f giving up a space that she has visited daily for two years, a space which represents happiness and a "normal" life, is a brave move for Lucie. A s transitional objects, the dollhouse and dolls have played out their roles in her life. The surrender o f the secret space brings memory o f the real loss she evades and then recreates in playing that the dollhouse is her home. Similarly, the recovery o f the dolls, simulating her wish to recover her family, allows her at least to recover herself—her power to survive and to affect the world... .She has her love for [her family] and her memory o f  77  their love forever, but their actual love for her is always subject to loss. She must take care o f herself and her memories, as she does when she steals the dolls back and writes her first letter to Delia and speaks out to her teacher. ( W o l f 54) Lucie knows that her actions have negatively affected another's life, and she cannot allow that to continue, despite the comfort the space has come to provide her with. Although she has never before responded to Delia's letters, Lucie decides to explain "[in] a letter" (232) all of the events in the past weeks, such as why Delia's life has been upset by so many mysterious circumstances. W h i l e she was previously so inward-looking and isolated, Lucie has begun to reach beyond herself, both physically and emotionally. Once her psychological awakening has occurred, L u c i e ' s changes begin to emerge in her public life. When she returns to class following her illness she feels like an intruder, "like an accidental spill o f paint, on a landscape where she no longer belong[s]" (197). In the novel's final chapter, entitled "The Second Miracle," Lucie begins to display her tremendous mental and emotional changes. When M i s s P i m m calls on Lucie in class at the very end o f the novel, Lucie responds in a way that shocks her teacher and classmates: "Look at me when you speak." "Yes, M i s s P i m m . " " A n d pick your head up." For a long, long moment, Lucie didn't answer or even move. Then, suddenly, she stood up straight and tall and, with her eyes on M i s s P i m m , spoke in a voice both strong and clear. " H o w can I, M i s s P i m m ? " she said, at last saying aloud what had before been spoken only in her head. " H o w can I, when it never fell off in the first  78  place?" and Rose Beth, Daisy, and Anna, from different corners o f the room, stopped what they were doing and looked up at her in surprise. (243) A s M i s s P i m m has said earlier in botany class, speaking o f the miracle o f plant growth, bean seeds are "magic because they [can] be transformed" (4). This, as M i s s P i m m further explains, is the miracle o f life, and, as it turns out, the miracle o f Lucie's transformation. A s Kuznets points out, on this symbolic closing note, the reader "is clearly supposed to pay attention and connect this botanical miracle with Lucie's psychic rebirth, which has come about in part through the problem solving that the dollhouse life provide[s]" (128). Her newfound ability to employ her wit and intelligence in the classroom, which she has displayed so strongly in her secret space, thereby affords her a brighter future with better coping mechanisms to rise above the grey, unforgiving world o f Norwood H a l l . W i l l she find a loving home, as do Maggie and Nona, or is Lucie doomed to Norwood H a l l until adulthood? Certainly, o f the other protagonists in the primary works, L u c i e ' s situation remains the most grim. Armed with her new tools o f assertiveness and empowerment, though, Lucie may find a more powerful position within the hierarchy o f the orphanage: as an active participant rather than a passive sufferer. A s Rosenthal writes, "Godden seems to have a strong conviction that the universe and the child's imagination and willpower can indeed provide the wherewithal, the resources, for more than mere survival; they can provide for the integration o f a strong s e l f (117). This is true for both Nona's and Lucie's situations. With Nona's use o f the dollhouse as an integrative space, and Lucie's use o f the dollhouse as a space for psychological awakening to occur, both girls have experienced the connections between the dolls and secret spaces as powerful forces in their lives. While they both begin as passive orphans, both girls have  79  moved into the role o f assertive orphan. Although for Jyd and Maggie it is their relationships with their dolls that transform them, with their secret spaces as facilitators o f these relationships, it can be argued that for Nona and Lucie the dollhouses are even more significant than the dolls in the girls' psychological growth. With these connections in mind, I w i l l now turn my attention to The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e and Behind the Attic W a l l in Chapter Five.  80  I  CHAPTER FIVE: T H E D O L L W H O C A M E A L I V E A N D BEHIND T H E ATTIC W A L L : N A R R A T I V E S OF T R A N S C E N D E N C E A N D OPENING  "'[I]t is children who give us life,'" said the wax doll." - Rumer Godden, The D o l l ' s House  Sylvia Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l and Enys Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e are radically different novels in tone, characterization and historical context. Psychologically complex and intricately woven, Behind the Attic W a l l is a masterfully written story o f an orphan girl so rejected by the world around her that she has adopted coping strategies o f hostility and rebellion in order to survive. The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , written almost one hundred years prior to Cassedy's work, is a simple tale in comparison. W h i l e very different from each other, both works feature a deeply felt desire on the part o f their protagonists to be guardians—in essence, to love and care for another. Out o f this desire comes a corresponding desire on the part o f the protagonists to be loved in return. Both girls discover and experience their need for love differently. Jyd in The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e has a tremendous amount o f love to give, so much so that she is able to bring a doll to life because o f her intense and unrelenting affection for it, while Maggie in Behind t h e A t t i c W a l l discovers a capacity for love through her friendship with mysteriously animated china dolls in a hidden attic room. In both works, the presence and action o f protagonists Jyd and Maggie are required to animate the dolls, so that they effectively come alive and interact with the children. Because  At first glance, The Doll Who Came Alive seems to be the odd book out when compared with the other three primary works. It is a longer illustrated narrative, rather than a novel, and it was written in the late-nineteenth century (but not published until the mid-twentieth century), whereas the other works were written and published in the mid- to late-twentieth century. While the other works feature orphan girl protagonists who learn to integrate into their societies by the end of their respective novels, Tregarthen's work features a heroine who leaves the real world entirely to live in the Small People's country. The Doll Who Came Alive thus serves as a helpful contrast to the other works, and enriches my overall argument as a result.  81  they function independently, the dolls have an even more powerful role in the girls' lives. T o love and to be loved is a reciprocal experience; thus, personification o f the dolls is required for the girls to participate in what they feel is a fully loving relationship. I argue that the doll (or dolls) and secret spaces function in both works to create an atmosphere o f mutual caring, which is what both girls so desperately need. The ultimate effects o f these connections are also very different in both works: Jyd eventually transcends her harsh reality to live an enchanted life in the world o f Small Folk, while Maggie experiences a psychological transformation that allows her to feel love and be adopted into a caring family. W h i l e The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e represents the orphan/doll/secret space story as a narrative o f transcendence, Behind the Attic W a l l represents the orphan/doll/secret space story as a narrative o f psychological opening. To inform aspects o f my discussion o f Behind the Attic W a l l . I w i l l begin with a close look at The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . A s 1 noted in Chapter T w o , few critical writings exist to guide an examination o f Tregarthen's work. Thus, my analysis o f the work represents, to the best o f my knowledge, the only extended examination o f the work currently in existence. The language and style o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e may seem dated to today's readers. Nonetheless, I believe that the book holds a unique position in the larger world o f doll and orphan, narratives, and must be kept alive. Although not a scholarly source, Jane Bedinger, a reader/reviewer on Amazon.com, agrees. She writes that The D o l l W h o 9  Came A l i v e represents an authentic voice from an age all gone, a hard world but filled with pixies and white magic, a period that built Narnia and Middle Earth and now Harry Potter, a  A l t h o u g h out-of-print, the w o r k is available through used booksellers o n A m a z o n . c o m . i  82  world view that neo-Puritans have never allowed to flourish in the United States, but one that children continue to love to life [sic]. A very old story, not sweet but tender and good—little girls w i l l love it. It's been treasured by four generations o f women or more and shouldn't be lost. (n. pag.) Indeed, one o f m y reasons for including Tregarthen's work in m y discussion is to affirm its place in the canon o f children's literature. The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e is one o f the first stories for children in which a toy is loved so much by a child that it comes to life, preceding well-known twentieth-century works such as Margery W i l l i a m s ' The Velveteen Rabbit (although it is unknown whether Tregarthen's book influenced later works with the same theme). With its importance asserted, I w i l l now move on to a closer look at The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . A s I describe in Chapter Three, little Jyd Trewerry lives in a serious state o f neglect. O f all the orphan girls discussed in m y thesis, Jyd is in the most dire situation in that neither her physical nor her emotional needs are being met. Indeed, Jyd's reality—late nineteenth-century rural England—stands in stark contrast to Lucie and Maggie's late twentieth-century world o f Norwood Hall and Adelphi Hills Academy, and especially to Nona's life in the Fell household. A s I w i l l discuss, Jyd's escape to the Small People's country at the end o f the narrative seems a fitting escape from this sad existence. Despite her hardships, Jyd is sweet and shy. She is not totally alone: at several points the narrator refers to the other village children that Jyd plays with (56), but for the most part Jyd has been emotionally abandoned. From early on, the reader sees Jyd suffering from serious neglect, but also learns o f her tremendous need for love, for she is "starving for want of someone to love her and something to love" (11). Jyd at last has a proper focus for her  83  abounding love when she is given "a very superior Dutch d o l l " by a visiting sailor, a "doll with bright cheeks, black hair and blue eyes" (13). L i k e the Japanese dolls in M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Jyd's doll is the Other, brought in a box from another land. She too is essentially an orphan and in need o f care and a home. When the sailor asks what Jyd w i l l do with the doll i f he gives it to her, Jyd responds, "'I would love her and love her until . she was a l i v e l i k e m e ' " (12). The doll is hers and hers alone, and it is clear that, even before the doll is alive, Jyd is beginning to transcend her reality through her newfound focus on the doll: "What the Dutch doll was to little Jyd only Jyd herself could have said. She lived for it, as mothers live for their children. She talked to it, sang to it, and loved it all the day long. She held it close to her soft body all the night through" (14). Thus, even before the doll comes alive like a real child, its primary function is to provide a focus for Jyd's love. Through her affection for the doll, Jyd finds a level o f emotional comfort: she "no longer [looks] forlorn for she [has] her d o l l " (15). Although it is a full year before the doll's metamorphosis from inanimate to animate takes place, an eternity for a child, Jyd's belief is steadfast. A s the narrator states, "Jyd never once doubted but that [the doll] would be alive like her own self one day" (15). When the sailor returns one year later, he observes that the doll is not yet alive. Jyd confidently responds, "[s]he w i l l be alive soon. I am hoping she w i l l be alive before Christmas in time to sing ' N o w e l l , N o w e l l , NowelT as the Small People do down in the bals [sic]'" (15). When the doll does at last come to life, the animation is treated matter-of-factly: "[o]ne bright morning, when the sky above the court was a radiant blue and the sparrows were hopping cheerfully about in the gutter, the doll—who was lying back in Jyd's arms— blinked its eyes and smiled. Then Jyd knew it was alive like h e r s e l f (17). In her initial  84  moments with the doll, Jyd is delighted to discover that Jane can "talk proper" (19), can "walk beautifully" (24) and "run up and down the room" (25). Jane, as the doll later names herself, is portrayed as a small child that Jyd must guide and mentor. A s Jane says to Jyd, " T was a poor lifeless thing before I came to you, and I have everything to learn. Y o u w i l l teach me things, won't y o u ? ' " (22). The reader is to accept that the doll is alive, and not merely a figment o f Jyd's imagination, and Jane is seen alive by many adults in Jyd's village. Once Jane is alive, her function takes on even more importance: Jyd can at last have love returned to her. W h i l e Jyd is able to shower kisses on the doll, at this point she is also able to receive kisses from it. Jyd's emotional contentment is evident when she explains to Jane why she often used to cry "bitter": 'Cause m y stepmother didn't love me an' I wanted something to love, an' cause I was hungry an' cold, besides.' The note o f sadness i n Jyd's voice touched the doll who bent over Jyd's hand and kissed it. ' Y o u won't cry any more now, will you?' she asked tenderly. ' N o , indeed I won't,' said Jyd, 'for there's nothing to cry for now. I've got a dear little dollie to love me and play with me.' (33-34) Before and after the doll comes to life, the relationship is established as a mother-child dynamic. Jyd experiences the doll as an extension o f herself, and as hers; the doll is described throughout the work as Jyd's "daughter" and in the possessive, as "her d o l l " (emphasis mine). L i k e a child, the doll grows easily restless and "exceedingly bored" (33), but when Jyd tells her stories o f piskies, she listens with rapt attention. Some o f Jyd's comments to the doll resemble what a mother might say to her child, or statements she has overheard parents saying to their children, such as ' " i f you're g o o d . . . ' " (37). Although Jyd perhaps never had a  85  loving parental figure in her life, she is remarkably able to act as a caring mentor to her doll. Even though D . W . Winnicott argues that "good enough" mothering is required for the best sort o f play, Jyd loves and cares for her doll-child just as well, or even better than, a child who knows or remembers the love o f a parent (Winnicott 54). Since Jyd's emotional life appears to focus on giving and receiving love, 1 have wondered i f she would have responded as readily to a new, loving caregiver as she does to the Dutch doll. While the orphan girls in the other primary works, particularly Lucie and Maggie, are extremely suspicious o f other people, Jyd appears open and trusting o f the world around her. Nonetheless, having a doll as the first focus o f her love is still emotionally safer for Jyd than trying to love, for example, a new caregiver (of which there are none). Jyd's proud and loving guardianship over Jane represents an important period in her young life— she has not, in her recent memory, owned any toys or had any close friends, and Jane is both. She lovingly refers to Jane as "my own dear little dollie" (46). Without Jane, Jyd would never ultimately make her way to the "Small People's country," also referred to in the text as fairyland (64). Thus, Jyd's relationship with Jane is an integral part o f Jyd's ultimate transcendence o f her real-life existence. Through her active imagination and elaborate games o f make-believe play, Jyd has created a "felicitous space" similar to Lucie Babbidge's play with the dollhouse—a cognitive secret space through play that allows her to escape her harsh reality. Jyd has learned how to make the ordinary (or less than ordinary) into something extraordinary. For example, while her real dinner is "a small red herring, already cooked, and a stale piece o f bread," Jyd's imagination can turn these meager offerings into "pig-trotter pie" (29-30). Later, Jyd tells Jane, "'tis tea time ... and I must get our tea. I mustn't let you starve! I have only bread in the  86  cupboard and no butter, but w e ' l l pretend 'tis jam tart and cream i f you like—I like jam tart an' cream" (31). A n d , when circumstances become really difficult, there is always '"Footman's horse,'" which, as Jyd explains, ' " i s a dear old horse on which children ride.... He goes as fast or as slow just as his riders wish. H e ' l l take us as far as we want to go, an' we shall ride an' ride until we have seen all C o r n w a l l ' " (37). Jyd is eager to introduce Jane to the joys o f play, with games such as M o p an' Heedy, B l i n d M a n ' s B u f f [sic], Here Comes Poor Nancy, and especially Pretend: " ' [ w ] e ' l l play those games together an' have fine times when m y stepmother is out, which is nearly always'" (19). Games o f pretend are frequent in The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , and o f great importance to Jyd. Likewise, Jane becomes willingly ensconced in Jyd's world o f pretend. A s Jyd describes to Jane, her "eyes sparkling," " T like to pretend that I am somebody very grand....I like to be m y Lady H i g h Somebody'" (21). W h i l e Jyd previously played these games alone as a way o f coping with her reality, she now has a welcome partner in her play: When dinner was over, plates and hands washed and faces too, Jyd showed the doll all the fascinating games o f which she had told her. The child was a fine teacher and the doll quick to learn and soon they were playing the games with great zest. M o p and Heedy was the doll's favorite because it was so easy for her to hide herself and so difficult for Jyd to find her. (30) Through their play, Jyd and Jane transform the home into a place o f joy. A s the narrator describes it, the "living room o f that mean little house was a gay place that afternoon for it rang with the merry voices o f Jyd Trewerry and Jane, the Dutch doll, and the hours flew by so quickly that it was five o'clock before they knew it" (30). In this way, Jyd and Jane transform an otherwise cold and unloving place—that is, Jyd's stepmother's house—into a  87  secret physical space for themselves. If she is on a quest for a loving home, Jyd is also helping to create one o f her own through her love for her doll. W h i l e the secret space created in Jyd's stepmother's home functions effectively as a temporary haven for Jyd and her doll, the pair does not find a true secret space o f permanent escape until they go to live in the Small People's country. A sense o f magic and fantasy pervades The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , and this reverence for and belief in magic is important to the rest o f the events in the narrative. Jyd herself has a tremendous respect for the "Small People," whom she knows o f primarily through stories told to her by the old grannie-woman (33). The other characters in Jyd's village, too, appear to have a deep-rooted understanding o f and respect for magic and the Small Folk. When Jyd announces to the old grannie-woman and to M i s s Orange that her doll has come to life, they accept the information without question. Only those who understand the world o f magic and fantasy accept the doll; that is, everyone except for Jyd's cruel stepmother, who threatens to throw the doll into the fire. Just as a mother would fiercely defend her child, Jyd cries, "[s]he is my child and shan't be burnt" (48). When the "felicitous space" that Jyd and Jane have built up in the house has been ruined by the stepmother's intrusion, it is time for Jyd and her doll to make their escape. Jyd and Jane's escape from the stepmother's house is an important step in beginning to transcend their harsh existence. The pair runs "on Footman's horse" from Jyd's stepmother until they reach "a beautiful wood near a great down" (49). When Jane asks i f "this beautiful place" is Cornwall, Jyd responds, "'[w]e shall live here all our d a y s . . . . W e ' l l make a little cubby house somewhere an' live on fried friglets and buttered candlesticks, or feed on berries like the dicky birds" (50). Clearly, Jyd's desire for a secret space with her doll, away from  88  adult rule, is strong. A w a y from the village, Jyd and her doll find themselves in a fantastical world. When Jyd teaches Jane a singing game, "Here Come Three Knights A - R i d i n g , " three "dinky men in silver armour" come riding through the wood on tiny horses (52-53). These "fairy knights" are a manifestation o f Jyd's imagination come to life: she has played these games for years, and she is seeing them come to life (53). While some may read this scene and the rest o f the narrative as a confusion o f reality and fantasy on the part o f Jyd, a girl with an already elaborate inner life, I read these scenes differently. The world o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e is one o f magic, and the Small People's country is not merely a figment o f her imagination. The belief in fairy lore and fairy land is so strong in Cornwall, so truly embraced by Jyd and everyone in her village, that I read Tregarthen's depiction o f the Small People's country as a place to which Jyd can actually escape. To understand Tregarthen's use o f the piskies and the Small People's country, it is helpful to describe a little o f Cornish folklore. In The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, author W . Y . Evans Wentz quotes Henry Jenner, a nineteenth-century Cornish linguist: " Y e t certain it is that not only in Cornwall and other Celtic lands, but throughout most o f the world, a belief in fairies exists or has existed, and so widespread a belief must have reason for it, though not necessarily a good one" (163). The piskies are fairies, for "the only true Cornish fairy is the Pisky" (Wentz 165). Quoting Cornish historian Susan E . Gay, Wentz illustrates the function and meaning o f the Land o f the Small Folk: '"The pixies'and fairies are little beings in the human form existing on the 'astral plane,' who may be in the process o f evolution....The astral plane ishot known to us now because our psychic ability has faded out by non-use" (171). Jyd believes unquestioningly in magic and fantasy, and, as the old  89  grannie-woman comments to her, '"[pjerhaps you are one o f the rare folk who see beauty in everything'" (Tregarthen 68). A s do Nona, Lucie and Maggie, Jyd experiences a moment o f loss: in the fantastical land, the fairy knights take Jyd's doll away from her before she realizes it. Devastated, Jyd can no longer feel the "beauty o f the sky, sea and down for the loss o f her doll filled her heart with woe and blinded her eyes with tears" (60). She falls asleep for a long, undefined period o f time until the blackberries ripen, and encounters a "dinky woman with a queer smile which made Jyd think o f her lost d o l l " (61). The small witch explains to Jyd that her doll has been taken to see the K i n g and Queen o f the Small People's country, because ' " a doll has never been loved into life before within the memory o f the oldest person in the Small People's world, and so everyone in fairyland wanted to see her'" (64). Because o f Jyd's love, Jane has become the toast o f fairyland. Jyd proves her unrelenting love for her doll by offering to kiss the ugly yet kind witch, despite being warned o f the harm that may come to her; and she is rewarded by the reappearance o f her doll, who was bewitched to look like the tiny woman. Jyd's fear o f abandonment is evident when Jane regales her with stories o f life in fairyland: her heart feels "like a stone within her as she knew her little doll would never want to give up such lovely joys to live with her again" (72-73). Jane, however, would not be happy without Jyd, and the Small People's K i n g and Queen want both Jyd and Jane to live in "their country" (73). W i t h almost no hesitation, Jyd and Jane happily escape through the doorway that leads to the Small People's country. W h i l e the orphan girls in M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Lucie Babbidge's House and Behind the Attic W a l l find ways to integrate into the real world, The D o l l W h o Came  90  A l i v e is about transcending reality. For Jyd, the Small People's country represents the ultimate felicitous secret space: a world o f fantasy that Jyd (like many children) has always dreamed of, apart from the harsh realities o f the external world. The Small People's country represents freedom from the unfortunate truths o f Jyd's society, and I read her escape from reality as her only acceptable method o f survival. Although the text does not specify the time period in which The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e takes place, it is reasonable to assume (absent evidence to the contrary) that the story takes place in the same period in which Tregarthen wrote the narrative: the late nineteenth century. A s Laura Peters, author o f Orphan Texts: Victorian Orphans, Culture and Empire (2000) comments, British orphans in Jyd's time were often "neglected, malnourished and, at best, poorly educated" in the hands o f their so-called caregivers (14). Too often, being an orphan in Jyd's time was a sentence to starvation, sickness and premature death. This is made especially poignant by Jyd's tenuous situation with her stepmother, who does not want to take care o f her. Jyd's doll and her secret space function to provide her with a focus for her love and as a means for escape, but does Jyd also experience some degree o f psychological transformation, as do the other orphan girls? In her emotional makeup, Jyd changes the least of the four protagonists. W h i l e it is fascinating to unravel Maggie's thoughts and intricacies, for example, the characterization o f Jyd is far more straightforward. This is not to say that Jyd does not experience some level o f emotional development as a result o f her relationship with Jane. Lois Kuznets argues that Jyd is "transformed by her experience in caring for [the] Dutch doll that she loves 'into life.' In turn, the doll—for mutuality appears in this relationship—rescues Jyd from her unhappy familial situation" (110). Thus, while the girls in the other primary works find happy, or at least hopeful, endings through improved  91  circumstances in their real worlds, Jyd finds a different type o f happy ending entirely by escaping  her real world. Having discussed The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e as a narrative o f transcendence, I now  move to m y analysis o f Behind the Attic W a l l as a narrative o f psychological opening. I w i l l begin by examining the inner life o f protagonist and bitter orphan, Margaret A n n Turner (or Maggie). The reader learns in short order that Maggie has developed coping strategies o f hostility, aggression and rebellion to deal with a world that has rejected her. Like M a r y Lennox in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, Maggie is an "untouchable" (Kimball 567). Melanie K i m b a l l describes M a r y Lennox as one who "develops into a tyrant, loved by no one, isolated physically and psychically because she is so unpleasant" (567). This description aptly describes Maggie, who has also developed a force field o f bad behaviour to cope with her reality as an "untouchable." Dubbed "impossible to handle by her caregivers," Maggie is also "fresh, nasty, mean, disobedient, willful, rebellious, thieving—all those things she had been called by people who had to look after her" (65). Perhaps because she has been treated unkindly at best and harshly at worst, Maggie has developed an image o f herself as ugly and unwanted. "[Ujgly," she thinks as she gazes at her reflection, "ugly, ugly, ugly" (42). A s Ellen Fader comments in a School Library Journal review, Maggie is "at war with her world and winning, by her score; looking for the worst and finding it. W i t h cunning she can steal, lie, vanquish adults with her stare, scornfully dispose o f classmates before they can hurt her" (156). Maggie spits on her classmates from the vantage point o f a fire escape, and realizes for the "first time ever that she had managed to skip entirely the brief period when everyone would try to be nice" (Cassedy, Behind 90). Her aunts bring a parade o f potential  92  /  friends to visit her in the stark sitting room, and Maggie either chooses to ignore or becomes violent with them; for example, she stuffs a balled-up photo from a National Geographic into one visitor's mouth. Maggie has learned to deal with other people by rejecting them before they reject her, and she has learned that the way to find emotional refuge is by being alone. Maggie has built walls around herself to shut out the world; these emotional barriers manifest themselves in her solitary play. A t Adelphi Hills, Maggie creates little rooms on the lawn, her own boundaries within a house that allows her no freedom and gives her no love: as the narrator observes, "she [sits] among the little rooms on the grass, and move[s] one stick back and forth like a door, so she [can] walk her fingers from one room to the next and back again: kitchen to dining room to kitchen. In and out" (115). W h i l e Jyd actively seeks out company to alleviate her loneliness, Maggie appears to crave and seek out solitude. A s the narrator explains, walking about among the halls and grounds o f her old schools, she had [often] pretended that the buildings had been emptied o f everyone but herself, and she had suddenly become their sole inhabitant . . . . no one else would be there, and she would aim basketballs at the hoop and wind about among the trees totally, totally alone, her whole life through. (71) In her most recent school, the reader is told, Maggie had tried to build a wall o f flowers, taken from all the school's flower beds, and "when she was all finished she would stand behind it, behind the wall o f flowers, and let no one i n " (12). Clearly, forging healthy relationships with others, even with the sympathetic Uncle Morris, is both impossible and undesirable for Maggie. Psychologically, she is completely closed off. A n d yet, like Jyd's desire to be a caretaker, Maggie's similar desire caretaker is revealed through her private  93  play. Despite her deep desire to care for another, Maggie does not allow herself to be so vulnerable as to project the desire onto another person. Although she hotly claims to her aunts that she does not play with "anything," Maggie has created characters, other worlds and a v i v i d inner life for herself. A revelatory glimpse into the caretaking aspect o f Maggie's personality comes in the scenes featuring the Backwoods Girls. The Girls are the main characters in Maggie's game Caretaker, "a game she had made up long ago, and [plays] almost every day" (44). The Backwoods Girls are all "newly arrived from some unknown backwoods, and they [know] nothing, nothing at all, o f the ordinary things surrounding Maggie's life—of toothbrushes, even, or dresser drawers, and it [is] Maggie's job to explain things to them" (44). A s described in an unsigned review in Reading Teacher entitled "First in Excellence," others have "evicted Maggie from their reality so often that she has created a reality o f her o w n — the invisible Backwoods Girls, who are stupider than Maggie thinks herself to be" (777). In reaction to a world that has made her feel inferior, Maggie can feel superior when she summons the Backwoods Girls. Thus, these "five imaginary girls offer Maggie the only opportunity she has to be the superior one, the authoritative voice—in speaking to the Backwoods Girls, Maggie responds with the same sort o f condescending, insulting language that has been directed at her much o f her life: ' N o , dummies. That's just a piece o f glass, see?' (47)" (Goerzen 6 ) . So, while she describes the game as "Caretaker," Maggie 10  demonstrates her need to care for another via insults and condescension. A t this point, she knows no other way.  I have previously discussed the power o f secret spaces in Behind the Attic W a l l and L u c i e Babbidge's House in a 2004 class paper, entitled "Secret Worlds: The P o w e r o f the Imagination in the L i v e s o f Troubled G i r l s in S y l v i a Cassedy's N o v e l s Behind the Attic W a l l and L u c i e Babbidge's House."  94  In a key Caretaker scene, Maggie shows the Backwoods Girls the doll given to her by Aunt L i l l i a n . A t first, Maggie had harshly rejected the doll, commenting to her aunt, " T don't play with dolls....They're dumb'" (40). A w a y from the prying eyes o f her aunts, however, Maggie treats the doll with a surprising gentleness, even finding a ball-point pen to act as a hastily invented baby bottle. When the Backwoods Girls beg to see the doll, Maggie responds, "'No...[a]nd don't shout. Y o u ' l l make her cry again,' and for a long while she held the doll in her hands, feeding it from her pen" (48). This gesture reveals Maggie's ability and desire to care for another, long-hidden in order to maintain her fierce exterior in the presence o f peers and authority figures. Her care for the doll here also foreshadows Maggie's transformation into a more open and caring character later in the novel. L i k e many other girl orphans i n literature for children, as M i n d a Rae Amiran has pointed out, Maggie is (although she would never admit it) searching for a loving, permanent home. A s Virginia W o l f explains, "Maggie is in need o f a home" (51), and is hoping to find a house like the one she "[o]nce, long ago," shared with her parents (Cassedy, Behind 13). She remembers enough o f her earlier, happy domestic existence to have developed a sense o f nostalgia and an emotional attachment towards her long-lost childhood home. A s the narrator observes, "[e]very house in her imagination took on the arrangement o f that early one.. ..It was the house in which she placed herself when she was told that she would be looked after by two great-aunts who had agreed, when no one else had, to take her in and let her live with them" (13). Maggie daydreams o f loving aunts "smiling great white smiles," showering her with kisses, cocoa and cookies (14). Instead, she "finds a building that was once Adelphi Hills Academy and two aunts who care more about health and nutrition than they do about a  95  girl's happiness" ( W o l f 52). O n an unconscious level, Maggie seems desperate to find her own space and her own place to belong. Maggie ultimately fulfills many o f her emotional needs and finds her physical secret space and a sense o f home when, halfway through the novel, she encounters the dolls, Timothy John and M i s s Christabel. The attic room where the dolls reside performs a dual function. First, although it is located in the attic o f Adelphi Hills, the room is a temporary escape from the rest o f the austere, sterile house and Maggie's hygiene-obsessed aunts. Second, and more importantly, the attic room becomes a physical and spiritual home for Maggie, a place where she belongs and is loved. In Bachelard's terms, the attic is the spatial opposite o f the cellar: "both have stairs leading to an unknown, perhaps nonexistent, center, though each stairway speaks in a different voice to us. The attic's ascending steps seem less ominous and more promising than do the cellar's descending stairs that disappear into the very underground o f all architecture" (Bachelard 18). In this way, Cassedy's novel can be read as a narrative embodiment o f Bachelard and Tuan's philosophies o f space and emotional attachment to home. The poignancy o f the attic room for Maggie is revealed in the way that she discovers the space. Maggie has heard mysterious voices for months through the walls o f Adelphi H i l l s Academy, and as the reader later learns, she is the sole audience for these voices. Uncle Morris hints at the dolls' presence behind the attic wall several times in the early chapters o f the novel. A n d , after an early incident in which Maggie pours hot milk all over her dinner plate, Morris remarks cryptically, '"I think you are the right one after a l l ' " (35). The dolls' voices, always written out all in capital letters when heard through the walls, call to Maggie and finally say her name (144). The dolls have been waiting for her. Maggie's initial  96  encounter with the dolls is not a smooth introduction, and understandably so. When She bursts through the curtain and into the little attic room, she at last sees the source o f the mysterious voices: '"She's here at last.' The voice came—could that be?—from inside her head or something, because her lips didn't move, but she was speaking, saying real words—a doll. A t the same moment, her china hand, suddenly alive, began to grasp the handle o f the teapot and lift it from the table" (155). M i s s Christabel and Timothy John, it is revealed, were the founders o f Adelphi H i l l s who perished in a fire in the 1800s; the scrap o f newspaper that Timothy John reads daily contains a story about their deaths. The dolls' bodies are inhabited by the spirits o f the founders; as such, the pair appears unaware o f their existence as dolls. A s Timothy John comments to Maggie, '"but we have no dolls [here] as it i s ' " (164). The reader is to believe that the dolls are "real," and not a creation o f Maggie's imagination as are L u c i e ' s dolls. However, in their articles on Cassedy's novels, Christine M c D o n n e l l and to some extent Virginia W o l f do not necessarily support this interpretation. A s W o l f points out, "Maggie's rich fantasy life throughout the novel may work against our believing that the world.. .really exists" (52). M c D o n n e l l argues that the novel is not a fantasy at all, and that Maggie's "inner world is created by her imagination to fill an emotional need, an inner world that is as real and as important as the external, concrete world she suffers through" (101). Although M c D o n n e l l ' s and W o l f s analyses are interesting to note, I wish to offer a different reading o f this aspect o f the novel. Maggie believes the dolls are real, and the reader must also suspend disbelief to participate fully in Maggie's experience. A s Maggie ponders, "What was so special about M i s s Christabel? M i s s Christabel?  She was herself, that's what. She was real" (226).  Maggie's experiences with the dolls "still involve her imagination in terms o f how she  97  interacts with them, but for Maggie, M i s s Christabel and Timothy John are most likely more real than her aunts, and certainly the dolls are the most compassionate, most human beings that she has encountered in her recent memory" (Goerzen 8). I support Maggie's belief that the dolls are real, which is what makes them so special to her. For Maggie to love and be loved, the dolls must be real. A s the dolls explain, Maggie is in the privileged position o f having been chosen as the "right one," the only one out o f all the thousands o f girls who had passed through Adelphi H i l l s over the past century. For perhaps the first time in her life since her parents' death, Maggie feels unique and special. A s the "right one," Maggie is the only person permitted to visit with M i s s Christabel and Timothy John. A t first, however, she rejects the dolls just as • she has rejected other playthings, and Timothy John comments to M i s s Christabel that perhaps "she is the wrong one after a l l " (171). When M i s s Christabel tries to assure her that she belongs there, Maggie responds, ' " N o I don't...I don'tbelong to anything'" (165). Maggie wonders bitterly who the "right one" would have been: "[sjomeone, probably, who would have poured their pretend tea and nibbled their wooden bread and politely watered their wallpaper roses and sat in their make-believe garden saying all the right things. Someone nice" (184). Over time, and with the increasing frequency o f her visits to M i s s Christabel and Timothy John, Maggie begins to transform both physically and psychologically. She begins to open herself to the possibility o f feeling and demonstrating compassion toward another. The first glimmers o f compassion become evident after Maggie hurls the dolls across the room, following her first encounter with them. Regretting her violent behaviour, she finds a way to repair Timothy John's cracked forehead, M i s s Christabel's severed leg and the dog  98  Juniper's broken ear. Once the repairs are complete, Maggie feels "a sudden sense o f pride. A s far as she could remember she had never fixed—really fixed—anything in her life" (199200). She has "fixed them. Made them better. She [is] their caretaker, sort o f (201). In this scene Maggie stops feeling as though she is merely playing with dolls, and begins to believe the dolls' own reality. When M i s s Christabel asks Maggie to see i f the empty, doll-sized kettle is "'hot yet,'" Maggie replies, "'[i]t's hot....Scalding hot'" (201), whereas in previous interactions she refused to play along with the apparent pretense. In her relationship with M i s s Christabel and Timothy John, Maggie at last discovers her capacity for healthy rather than aggressive or isolating play. When Timothy John implores Maggie to listen for the cry o f the " G y p s y baby" (a rosebud on the flowered wallpaper in the attic room), Maggie does as she is told and "half expect[s] to hear a tiny whimper" (208). This more playful, receptive Maggie is not the same grouchy child the reader met when Maggie first arrived at Adelphi Hills. Maggie is able to feel a power over the dolls, as she does with the Backwoods Girls (whom she rarely summons after meeting the dolls). W i t h Timothy John and M i s s Christabel, however, she learns to harness this power for a positive purpose, and finds a great deal o f satisfaction from acting as their caretaker. A s Erikson has theorized, it often helps children to re-enact difficult-to-comprehend events or emotions on a smaller, more manageable level (34). The attic room allows Maggie to test out—tentatively—what it feels like to love another, and so she allows herself to be vulnerable in this small space. She has also discovered her true self, herself as a caretaker. This discovery is the result o f her "play" with the dolls, and exemplifies the function o f play described by Winnicott as a technique for selfdiscovery. A s Maggie begs the dolls, '"[l]et me live here with you. A l l the time. W e could  99  have lessons and I could make your tea and water the roses. Y o u could be m y teachers and I could be your—your caretaker or something. W e could belong to each other'" (210). A s M c D o n n e l l argues, when "Maggie accepts her role in the lives o f these dolls, as she fixes them and helps them, she becomes happier" (102). She is, after all, the chosen one, the "right one." Why? Although the narrative never answers this question, the reader can infer that the right ones all along have been misunderstood misfits like Maggie, in need o f the special space and care that the dolls represent. The dolls' personalities, with their evasive and childlike speaking style which at times sounds very similar to the wit o f Uncle Morris, function to allow Maggie to care for them, and to make her feel special. Through her interactions with the dolls, Maggie feels the positive attention and adoration that she had initially hoped to receive from her great aunts. For example, when she describes rose thorns as hooks '"for catching the Gypsy's scarves on, so they won't blow away,'" Timothy John exclaims, '"[fjhat's wonderful!...Maggie taught something to us today'" (209). This response makes Maggie feel proud, and even smile "a little" (209). She looks forward to her visits with the dolls, and one day announces to the dolls simply that she has skipped school in order to be with them. The dolls seem to think nothing o f this, noting that they shall have to give her lessons. A s the narrator describes, focalizing through Maggie's mind, she has found '"this wonderful place in the attic that nobody else in the whole world knew about—a wonderful place where it was warm and happy and they...what? They liked her a whole lot. A n d she liked them. L o v e d " (226). Although she views herself as having the serious responsibility o f being the dolls' caretaker, the dolls are in a similar caretaking position, encouraging the development o f Maggie's selfesteem and a sense o f identity apart from being a marginalized, rejected, antisocial orphan.  100  The beginning o f Maggie's transformation is evident, both physically and psychologically. A s M i s s Christabel comments to her, "[fjhe roses have changed y o u . . . [t]heir glow has come off on your face. A n d the bread has fattened your wrists" (213). Maggie, who previously felt ugly, knows that she looks better: "[n]ice. She looked nice" (2f3). Later, she notes that she knows she would look pretty in her new yellow dress. Maggie's physical and behavioural improvements are viewed by her aunts as examples o f what proper nutrition can do (her aunts are completely unaware o f the goings-on in the attic room). So although Maggie feels happy in the attic room, she continues to be misunderstood in the real world, as when her creative school assignment, based on the idea o f roses as Gypsies, is deemed "unacceptable" by her teacher (219). L i k e Nona in M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Maggie finds even more purpose in her life when she decides to throw the dolls a party, which.is to be, as Maggie herself describes, '"[their] own special day that nobody would know about"'(220). The party, which she diligently and excitedly prepares for, is a testament to her love for the dolls. Her deep desire to love and care for others is at the core o f Behind the Attic W a l l . Before she could ever demonstrate her affection for other humans (such as her adoptive sisters), as she does after she opens herself emotionally, Maggie has to experiment in the safety o f a secret space with non-threatening miniatures. Indeed, there would have been no other way to facilitate this change in Maggie. She becomes willing to do almost anything out o f her love for the dolls, including stealing a priceless Dresden doll for the attic room's table centerpiece and hiding from her aunts. In a  101  letter to her editor," M a r i l y n Kriney, Cassedy described her thoughts regarding Maggie's desire to be a caretaker: [throughout [Behind the Attic Wall] I have emphasized the main character's need not only to be cherished, but to cherish in return—to fix, to heal, to look after, to be what she calls a 'caretaker'—and insofar as the story has a theme at all, it can be characterized as the power o f such cherishing to alter the life o f a troubled human being. A s her need to cherish is fulfilled by the two dolls, Maggie develops from a withdrawn, emotionally crippled twelve-year-old, incapable o f dealing with anyone except in the most hostile terms, into a girl who can for the first time sing a song, j o i n in a game, cry over a death, and, finally, say 'I love you.' (qtd. in McDonnell 103) Essentially, Maggie has to love the dolls before she can like or love other people. Some o f her emotional changes are hinted at in the real world, such as in her interactions with her classmate Barbara, who invites Maggie over to her house: Surprised, Maggie responds, ' " I don't know.. . . M a y b e ' " (227). A s the narrator notes, "[n]o one had ever invited her to visit before. N o one. Ever" (227). In her brief chats with Barbara, Maggie has unwittingly made a new friend, something she has always so vehemently resisted. Just as Lucie Babbidge's classmates pillage her carefully constructed secret space, Belinda removes the dolls from Nona's dollhouse, and Jyd's stepmother invades her place o f play, there comes a time when Maggie's secret space is similarly invaded by unwelcome outsiders. In Maggie's case, the intruders are her great aunts—Harriet and Lillian. The invasion occurs in one o f the novel's most joyous scenes, during the party that Maggie hosts  McDonnell does not indicate the date of Cassedy's letter.  102  for the dolls in the attic room. Following this invasion, the dolls stop speaking and moving, a dramatic change that leads to a great despair i n Maggie. Even though throughout the novel Maggie maintains to her aunts, M i s s Christabel, Timothy John, and her classmate Barbara that she does not play with dolls, she now manipulates the dolls and makes them speak i n Lucie Babbidge fashion. W i t h her secret space invaded, and the dolls essentially "dead," Maggie's play takes on a new form. It becomes a play o f desperation in a former secret space that has been invaded and dis-enchanted. The reciprocal love has disappeared. A s in Lucie Babbidge's House, the time comes for Maggie to leave the comfort o f the secret space forever. The space is, after all, transitional space in Winnicott's sense o f the word. W h i l e for Lucie the separation from the secret space and the dolls was by choice (she could no longer bear to affect the life o f the Booth family through her actions), for Maggie it is a forced abandonment: she is going to live with a family '"[fjar away someplace" (303). Although Maggie and Lucie's orphaned states have resulted in emotionally regressive behaviour, "their ages [twelve and eleven respectively] permit them to move past this space when the time comes to abandon it" (Kuznets 125). A s W o l f writes, [this] ideal place allows Maggie and the reader to experience what she desires and thereby to heal her, but it also emphasizes that because there is no loss or any kind o f change in this ideal world, it is only a place for a growing child to visit and remember. The dolls are alive, but their human counterparts are dead— like Maggie's parents. Behind the attic wall, Maggie recovers her parents' love for her and hers for them, but she also experiences the limitations o f this memory. It may sustain her, but she cannot lie down in it and stay put, for to do so would be to die. . (52)  103  Thus, Maggie's former secret space becomes transitional, although it w i l l live on in her memory as a place o f great, abiding love long after she has left Adelphi Hills. A s W o l f explains, the novel's narrative structure is a testament to Maggie's dramatic emotional transformation and to the very special meaning o f the attic room for her: "Framing the memories [Maggie] shares with us, the prologues o f all parts o f the book and the epilogue occur in the present, where she does love and is loved, as evidence that a change in behaviour occurred while she lived at Adelphi H i l l s . Clearly, behind the attic wall exists for her as a special place, transforming her, her understanding and thereby reality" (52). Maggie knows she was a privileged participant in the life o f the dolls, and she holds the secret o f the "other room" close to her heart (147). But she would never reveal to anyone the secrets behind the wall: "[s]he wouldn't tell anyone about that. Ever" (5). The short prologues before each o f the novel's four parts do indeed reveal the tremendous transformation that Maggie has experienced. While Maggie was previously so closed off, she has opened herself to loving others and being loved in return: in her new life with an adoptive family, she is the older sister to two little girls, whose smiles she "had learned, after almost a year, to like. To love, really" (4). W h i l e my own reading o f the novel suggests that the dolls and the secret space allowed Maggie to feel love and belonging, thereby leading to her tremendous emotional development, Kuznets reads the text differently, suggesting that such a dramatic emotional change cannot be so simple: I am still not entirely sure that the Romantic tendency to venerate the imaginative faculty in children above all others is particularly appropriate for children who lack an outside support system. Winnicott's discussion o f transitional space  104  postulates the presence o f a "good enough" parent present to establish trust'in external reality, and Erikson makes no claims that play constructions provide more than models for problem-solving... .considering the degree o f disturbance realistically portrayed in Maggie and Lucie and the absence o f any reliable support for them other than the dolls, whether even the mildly ameliorative endings at which they arrive are good psychology is another question. (225)  v  What Kuznets does not acknowledge is the essential role that the secret space has played i n the emotional development o f the girls. In gaining and then later losing the dolls and the secret spaces, Maggie and Lucie experience life-changing dramatic events that are certainly enough to spark emotional transformation in the girls. Perhaps Maggie was the "right one" because the dolls could sense she was ready to love and be loved—her time had come. Thus, because she was ready to receive it, she was ready to begin her transformation. A t the close o f Behind the Attic W a l l , just prior to Maggie's departure from Adelphi Hills, another doll is added to the attic room. The dolls had hinted at the arrival o f a "third" joining them (211), and now a miniature Uncle Morris has joined the little family. W i t h his innocence and humour, Uncle Morris was probably as misunderstood by society as Maggie, and, as Maggie discovers, he knows the secrets o f the world behind the attic wall. This attic room, "we eventually surmise, is a kind o f heaven where Maggie's ancestors who have loved their home and children survive" ( W o l f 52). Perhaps one day, " i n many years' time, a Maggie doll w i l l join her family around the tiny tea table" (Goerzen 10). Both Maggie and the dolls' world were understood by the magical Uncle Morris, and his presence in his new incarnation as a doll completes the experience behind the attic wall both for Maggie and the reader.  105  Joined by the common themes o f love and play as "the source o f healing and recovery" ( W o l f 54), Maggie and Jyd succeed in transforming their lives and transcending their harsh realities. Through play and the building o f healthy relationships (with both doll and non-doll characters), Maggie is able to change her attitude and to experience an emotional transformation, thereby opening herself up to even more love in her life and to finding the loving home she has desired for so long. Jyd transforms her harsh reality through her love for Jane, making her unhappy home a happy place when she and Jane play their games o f make-believe, and eventually by finding a permanent home in fairyland. A s evidenced by Jyd and Maggie, the doll and child relationships can bloom into the deepest, most meaningful relationships that the protagonists have ever experienced, and allow them to experience rich relationships with humans in the future. Just as real-life relationships can be life-changing, so are Jyd's and Maggie's attachments to their dolls, and although they are dolls, these relationships are no less meaningful than i f they were to be with humans. N o w that I have thoroughly examined the nature o f the emotional and physical transformations in the orphan girls' lives in the four primary works, and the roles and functions o f the dolls and the secret spaces in facilitating this change, I w i l l move on to conclude m y argument and open up the discussion to other questions and final issues in Chapter Six.  106  C H A P T E R SIX: C O N C L U S I O N This study has explored the roles and functions o f dolls, doll characters and "childonly" secret spaces in the lives o f orphan girl protagonists in children's literature. W h i l e many critics and theorists have analyzed these three elements separately, a review o f relevant scholarship indicated the necessity to connect them in a meaningful way. I synthesized this research, which I then applied to a close examination o f four novels for children: Rumer Godden's M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Sylvia Cassedy's Lucie Babbidge's House, Enys Tregarthen's The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e and Cassedy's Behind the Attic W a l l . In examining the connections between and among these elements, m y central research question was this: H o w do dolls, secret spaces arid the play associated with them function in literature for children such that the marginalized and displaced orphan girl characters therein undergo positive psychological transformation? The resulting study has examined the psychological transformation o f the four distinctive protagonists in this quartet o f primary works. In conducting this examination, I have employed the theories and research o f many key scholars. The work o f Gaston Bachelard and Y i - F u Tuan has proved immensely useful in my discussion o f home space and the child's emotional attachment to place, while the theories o f psychoanalysts D . W . Winnicott and Erik Erikson were indispensable in m y analysis o f the protagonists' transformative play. Lois Kuznets lent her opinions on personified doll characters, while M i n d a Rae Amiran provided her central argument that fictional orphan girls are ultimately in search o f a home and a place to belong. These are but a few o f the critics who influenced m y thinking—I am indebted to them for their opinions, theories and research.  107  Through m y investigation o f the quartet o f primary novels, a corresponding quartet o f forms o f transformation emerged in terms o f the dolls' and secret spaces' ultimate influences on the protagonists. These themes are integration, awakening, transcendence and opening. In M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower, Rumer Godden depicts the Japanese dolls and the Japanese dollhouse as integrative forces in the initially lonely Nona's life. For Lucie in Lucie Babbidge's House, the dolls and dollhouse are sources for her psychological awakening. In The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , the doll, Jane, and the Small People's country act as vehicles for Jyd Trewerry to transcend her unforgiving existence. For Maggie in Behind the Attic W a l l , M i s s Christabel, Timothy John and the attic room offer an environment in which Maggie can open herself up to healthier interpersonal relationships. In order to create better situations for themselves, Nona, Lucie and Maggie must temporarily escape reality via their secret spaces before they can face it, whereas Jyd transcends reality all together. In all cases, it is doll play, according to m y definition o f the term as the child's interaction with, conversation with and/or manipulation o f dolls, which leads to the positive changes in the girls' lives. A s Lois Kuznets writes, "[o]ne seductive motif o f toy narratives reflects the struggle o f both children and adults to feel 'real'—to become a conscious, powerful subject rather than an object dependent upon others" (61). For the protagonists in the primary works, this is certainly true: by the end o f their stories, each girl is empowered, poised to make changes in her life rather than passively accept the actions o f authority figures (and sometimes peers). In each o f these narratives, the secret space provides a private place where the protagonists can feel like Kuznets' "conscious, powerful subject[s]," outside a reality where they often feel like objects. While this is often true o f fictional children in general, it is especially true for fictional orphans, who frequently find themselves under the charge o f stern headmistresses or  108  neglectful caregivers. Indeed, the secret space acts as a place for play and solace in which the protagonists find emotional healing. It is a space where the girls have control over a small part o f their lives. For these orphan girls, the dollhouses, the land o f Small Folk and the attic room all serve the same purpose: they provide a cognitive and/or physical home that is theirs and theirs alone. Out o f these secret spaces and the interactions within them comes an even more profound gain: a sense o f home and belonging outside o f the secret space. After all, as Melanie K i m b a l l writes, many fictional orphans are constantly seeking "a place to belong and the right to be there" (577). A s M i n d a Rae Amiran argues, it is fictional orphan girls who most often seek this sense o f belonging and home, while orphan boys head off on adventures to seek their fortunes. Three o f the four protagonists in the primary works find this sense o f home by the end o f their stories: Nona, as a fully integrated member o f the Fell family; Jyd, as a permanent resident o f fairyland; and Maggie, as the older sibling to two younger sisters in an adoptive family. The occurrence o f psychological transformation in orphan protagonists, as found in the quartet o f primary works, is not unique in children's literature. In children's literature o f the twentieth century, well-developed characters who experience some level o f psychological growth by the end o f their novels have become the norm. M y study aims to address the questions surrounding dolls, secret spaces and the roles they play in promoting psychological growth. W h y dolls? W h y secret spaces? W h y play? W h y do these elements, specifically, contribute so significantly to the positive emotional changes the protagonists experience? W h i l e many novels and picture books for children feature orphan girls, or dolls, or secret spaces, this quartet represents the complete set o f works that could be located in  109  English that features all three elements. M y study is unique in that it brings these three elements together in a meaningful way to illustrate the various forms o f transformation experienced by the novels' protagonists. Is my research limited to this tiny group o f works? N o , certainly not. The effect that secret spaces and dolls have on the orphan girl protagonists is indeed limited to this particular quartet—however, m y thesis does lead to further questions about the significance o f special places, playthings and possessions i n the lives o f fictional children within the larger field o f children's literature. M y study offers a preliminary frame for understanding how dolls and secret spaces can positively influence the lives o f fictional children, orphans or not. W h i l e m y thesis has focused specifically on orphan girls, there is a demonstrated need for a broader examination o f girls' relationships to dolls and secret spaces in children's literature. A p p l y i n g the notions o f cognitive and physical secret space described in Chapter Three as a starting point, a much broader study could be developed, examining and classifying the secret spaces o f fictional girls in North American novels o f the mid-to-late twentieth century, or another time period. Furthermore, there is much opportunity to fully examine the relationships o f fictional boys (orphans or not) to their secret spaces and/or toys, to reveal the sorts o f themes and patterns that emerge. A similar evaluative framework to that used in a broader study for fictional girls could be developed and employed. W h i l e these studies could be carried out separately, it would also be fascinating to conduct a comparative study. Truly, when it comes to children, toys and secret spaces, the research possibilities seem considerable i f not endless. Ultimately, m y discussion in this thesis focuses on two essential, sustaining aspects o f life: imagination and home. A s evident in the orphan girl protagonists in this vibrant quartet of primary works, the imagination is shown to sustain, to transform and to heal. For children  110  in general, both in fiction and in real life, the imagination is a gift that allows them to escape reality. Home is a powerful notion, loaded with meaning and nostalgia. To have both, a sense o f home (whether physical, psychological, or both) and a sense o f imagination and play, is to be more fully equipped to manage life's obstacles..For fictional orphan girls this is a lifealtering, life-sustaining discovery.  Ill  Works Cited Amiran, M i n d a Rae. '"She Was W i l d l y C l a d ' : Orphan Girls in Earlier Children's Literature." The Mid-Atlantic Almanack 1 (1992): 85-92. Armstrong, Frances. "The D o l l House as Ludic Space." Children's Literature 24 (1996): 23-54. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics o f Space. 1964. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon, 1994. Banks, Lynne Reid. The Indian in the Cupboard. N e w Y o r k : A v o n , 1980. Bedinger, Jane. Rev. o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , by Enys Tregarthen. Amazon.com. 10 Oct. 2004. 2 A u g . 2006. <http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0381996832/ 103-2464646-6691815?v=glance&n=283155>. Booth, Allyson. "Battered D o l l s . " Images o f the C h i l d . E d . Harry Weiss. B o w l i n g Green, O H : B o w l i n g Green State U P , 1994. 143-152. Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. 1911. Illus. Graham Rust. London: Michael Joseph, 1986. Carriker, K i t t i . Created in Our Image: The Miniature Body o f the D o l l as Subject and Object. Bethlehem, N J : Lehigh U P , 1998. Cassedy, Sylvia. Behind the Attic W a l l . 1983. N e w Y o r k : A v o n Camelot, 1985. — . Lucie Babbidge's House. 1989. N e w Y o r k : A v o n Camelot, 1993. —. M E . and Morton. 1987. N e w Y o r k : Harper Trophy, 1989. Chisholm, Anne. Rumer Godden: A Storyteller's Life. London: M a c M i l l a n , 1998. Coats, Karen. Rev. o f Elusive Childhood: Impossible Representations in Modern Fiction, by Susan Honeyman. Children's Literature Association Quarterly 31.1 (2006): 87.  112  Collodi, Carlo. The Adventures o f Pinocchio. 1883. Trans. M . A . Murray. N e w Y o r k : Airmont, 1966. Rev. o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , by Enys Tregarthen. Horn Book 18 (November 1942): 422-423. Rev. o f The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e , by Enys Tregarthen. Horn Book 48 (December 1972): 596-597. Dowell, Frances O'Roark. Where P d L i k e To Be. N e w Y o r k : Atheneum, 2003. Drain, Susan. "Community and the Individual in Anne o f Green Gables: The Meaning o f Belonging." Such a Simple Little Tale: Critical Responses to L . M . Montgomery's "Anne o f Green Gables." E d . M a v i s Reimer. Metuchen, N . J . : Children's Literature Association; London: Scarecrow, 1992. 119-130. Egoff, Sheila. Worlds Within: Children's Fantasy from the Middle Ages to Today. Chicago: A L A , 1988. Ellis, Sarah. "Orphans." Children's Literature N e w England Summer Institute. Harvard University, Cambridge, M A . A u g . 2002. — . The Several Lives o f Orphan Jack. Toronto: Groundwood, 2003. Erikson, Erik. Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization o f Experience. N e w Y o r k : Norton, 1977. Fader, Ellen. Rev. o f Behind the Attic W a l l , by Sylvia Cassedy. School Library Journal 30.2 (1983): 156. Field, Rachel. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. Illus. Dorothy P. Lathrop. 1929. N e w Y o r k : M a c M i l l a n , 1938. "First in Excellence." Rev. o f Behind the Attic W a l l , by Sylvia Cassedy. Reading  113  Teacher A p r . 1984: 777. Fox, Carl. The D o l l . N e w Y o r k : Abrams, 1972. Fraser, Antonia. A History o f Toys. Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany: Delacorte, 1966. Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle and Other Writings. 1920. Trans. John Reddick. London: Liveright, 1961. —. The Uncanny. 1925. Trans. David McLintock. N e w Y o r k : Penguin, 2003. Gardam, Jane. Through the D o l l ' s House Door. London: Franklin Watts, 1987. Godden, Rumer. The D o l l ' s House. 1947. N e w Y o r k : V i k i n g , 1963. —. The Fairy D o l l . N e w Y o r k : V i k i n g , 1956. —. Impunity Jane: The Story o f a Pocket D o l l . N e w Y o r k : V i k i n g , 1954. — . Little Plum. London: M a c M i l l a n , 1963. —. M i s s Happiness and M i s s Flower. 1961. N e w Y o r k : HarperCollins, 1988. Goerzen, Christy. "Secret Worlds: The Power o f the Imagination in the Lives o f Troubled Girls in Sylvia Cassedy's Novels Behind the Attic W a l l and Lucie Babbidge's House." University o f British Columbia: L I B R 522B Final Paper. December 2004. Goodfellow, Caroline. T h e Ultimate D o l l Book. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1993. Greene, V i v i e n . English D o l l s ' Houses o f the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. 1955. N e w Y o r k : Scribners, 1979. H a l l , G . Stanley and A . Caswell Ellis. A Study o f Dolls. N e w Y o r k : E . L . Kellogg, 1897. Hart, Roger. Children's Experience o f Place. N e w Y o r k : Irvington, 1979. Helbig, Alethea K . and Agnes Regan Perkins. Dictionary o f British Children's Fiction, A - M . Westport, C T : Greenwood, 1989.  114  Honeyman, Susan E . "Childhood Bound: In Gardens, Maps, and Pictures." Mosaic 34.2 (2001): 117-133. —. Elusive Childhood: Impossible Representations in Modern Fiction. Columbus: Ohio State U P , 2005. Hubbard, Phil, Rob Kitchin, and G i l l Valentine. K e y Thinkers on Space and Place. London: Sage, 2004. Huizinga, Johan. H o m o Ludens: A Study o f the Play Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon, 1950. Johnston, R.J., et al., eds. The Dictionary o f Human Geography. 4  th  ed. Oxford:  Blackwell, 2000. K i m b a l l , Melanie A . "From Folktales to Fiction: Orphan Characters in Children's Literature." Library Trends 47.3 (1999): 558-579. K l e i n , Melanie. The Psychoanalysis o f Children. Rev. ed. Trans. A l i x Strachey. N e w Y o r k : Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1975. Kuznets, Lois. When Toys Come A l i v e : Narratives o f Animation. Metamorphosis, and Development. N e w Haven: Y a l e U P , 1994. Lacan, Jacques. The Four Fundamental Concepts o f Psycho-Analysis. E d . JacquesA l a i n M i l l e r . Trans. A l a i n Sheridan. N e w Y o r k : Norton, 1978. Lieberman, J. Nina. Playfulness: Its Relationship to Imagination and Creativity. N e w York: Academic, 1979. Lynn, Ruth Nadelman. Fantasy Literature for Children and Y o u n g Adults: A n Annotated Bibliography. N e w Y o r k : R . R . Bowker, 1989. Masterson, J.F. The Search for the Real Self: Unmasking the Personality Disorders o f  115  Our Age. N e w Y o r k : Free Press, 1988. M c D o n n e l l , Christine. "Sylvia Cassedy: Valuing the C h i l d ' s Inner L i f e . " Horn Book 67.1 (1991): 101-106. M i l l s , Claudia. "Children in Search o f a Family: Orphan Novels Through the Century." Children's Literature in Education 18.4 (1987): 227-239. Milne, A . A . The House at Pooh Corner. 1928. N e w Y o r k : Dutton, 1944. —. Winnie-the-Pooh. 1926. N e w Y o r k : Dutton, 1943. Mishne, Judith. "Trauma o f Parent Loss Through Divorce, Death and Illness." C h i l d & Adolescent Social Work Journal 1.2 (1984): 74-88. Montgomery, L u c y M a u d . Anne o f Green Gables. 1908. Toronto: Seal-Random House, 1996. —. E m i l y of New M o o n . 1925. Toronto: Seal-Random, 1998. Moore, Robin C. Childhood's Domain: Play and Place in Child Development. London: Croom Helm, 1986. Museum o f Childhood, Edinburgh. Edinburgh: City o f Edinburgh Museums and Art Galleries, 1993. Nesbit, Edith. Harding's Luck. 1909. London: Ernest Benn, 1961. Nodelman, Perry and Mavis Reimer. The Pleasures o f Children's Literature. 3  ed. Boston:  A l l y n and Bacon, 1992. The'Oxford English Dictionary. 2  n d  ed. 1989.  Pazicky, Diana Loercher. Cultural Orphans in America. Jackson, M S : Mississippi U P , 1998. Pearson, K i t . A w a k e and Dreaming. Toronto: Viking-Penguin, 1996.  116  Peters, Laura. Orphan Texts: Victorian Orphans, Culture and Empire. Manchester: Manchester U P , 2000. Piaget, Jean. Play, Dreams and Imitation. Trans. C . Gattegno and F . M . Hodgson. 1951. N e w Y o r k : Norton, 1962. Rosenthal, Lynne M . Rumer Godden Revisited. N e w Y o r k : Twayne-Simon & Schuster, 1996. Rustin, Margaret and Michael Rustin. "The Life o f Dolls: Rumer Godden's Understanding o f Children's Imaginative Play." Narratives o f L o v e and Loss: Studies in Modern Children's Fiction. Rev. ed. London: Carnac, 2001. 84-103. Scarlett, W . George, et al. Children's Play. Thousand Oaks, C A : Sage, 2005. Simpson, Eileen. Orphans: Real and Imaginary. N e w Y o r k : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987. Simpson, Hassell A . Rumer Godden. N e w Y o r k : Twayne, 1973. Sims, M o l l y . "Welcome to the Dollhouse." Bust 28 (2004): 62-67. Stewart, Susan. O n Longing: Narratives o f the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P , 1984. Sutton-Smith, Brian. Toys as Culture. N e w Y o r k : Gardner, 1986. Tallandini, Maria A . "Aggressive Behavior in Children's D o l l s ' House Play." Aggressive Behavior 30 (2004): 504-519. Taylor, Cora. The D o l l . Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie, 1987. Taylor, Marjorie. Imaginary Companions and the Children W h o Create Them. N e w Y o r k : Oxford U P , 1999. Thiboutot, Christian, A . Martinez, and David Jager. "Gaston Bachelard and  117  \  Phenomenology: Outline o f a Theory o f the Imagination." Journal o f Phenomenological Psychology 30.1 (1999): 1-1.7. Thomas, Joyce. "Woods and Castles, Towers and Huts: Aspects o f Setting in the Fairy Tale." Children's Literature in Education 17.2 (1986): 126-134. Tregarthen, Enys. The D o l l W h o Came A l i v e . E d . Elizabeth Yates. Illus. Nora S. U n w i n . N e w Y o r k : John Day, 1942. Tuan, Y i - F u . Space and Place: The Perspective o f Experience. Minneapolis: U o f Minnesota P, 1977. — . Topophilia: A Study o f Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values. 1974. N e w Y o r k : Columbia U P , 1990. Twain, Mark. Adventures o f T o m Sawyer. 1876. N e w Y o r k : Dutton, 1969. Wagner-Ott, Anna. "The Politics o f Dolls and Action Figures." Diss. Pennsylvania State U , 2000. Ward, Martha E . , et al. Authors o f Books for Y o u n g People. Metuchen, N J : Scarecrow, 1990. Washburn, Dorothy K . "Getting Ready: D o l l Play and Real Life in American Culture, 1900 - 1980." American Material Culture: The Shape o f the Field. Eds. A n n Smart Martin and J. Ritchie Garrison. Knoxville: Tennessee U P , 1997. 105-134. Watson, Victor, ed. Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English. Cambridge: Cambridge U P , 2001. Waugh, Sylvia. The Mennyms. N e w Y o r k : Greenwillow, 1994. Wentz, W . Y . Evans. The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. 1911. Gerrards Cross, U K : Colin Smythe, 1977.  118  Williams, Margery. The Velveteen Rabbit: or. H o w Toys Become Real. 1922. Garden City, N Y : Doubleday, 1930. Winnicott, D . W . Playing and Reality. N e w Y o r k : Basic, 1971. Wolf, Virginia. "Playing and Reality in Sylvia Cassedy's Novels." Work arid Play in Children's Literature: Selected Papers from the 1990 International Conference o f the Children's Literature Association. Eds. Susan R . Gannon and Ruth Anne Thompson. Pleasantville, N Y : Pace U P , 1990. 51 -54. Woodruff, Elvira. The Christmas D o l l . N e w Y o r k : Scholastic, 2000.  119  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items