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Title:Little houses and other children's spaces in 'The Child's Day' by Olive Schreiner and 'The Chronicles of Peach Grove Farm' by Nellie Fincher
Author:Jenkins, ElwynISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
youth literature
About persons:Olive Emilie Albertina Schreiner (1855-1920)
Nellie Fincher
Abstract:The play spaces that girls occupy direct the action in 'The Child's Day' (1926), the prelude to the adult novel 'From Man to Man' by Olive Schreiner, and 'The Chronicles of Peach Grove Farm' (1910), a children's story by Nellie Fincher. Stories featuring children's play with doll's houses and other private places, both real and imaginary, form a venerable literary tradition. What these two early South African stories contribute to the tradition is the contrasting use to which colonial girls put their play spaces. The girls of Fincher's novel establish a miniature farm with a doll's house homestead in which they enact in miniature the routines of domestic and farm life that they will perpetuate as adults, learning at the same time lessons in the metaphysics of life and death and personal ethics. In 'The Child's Day', Rebekah escapes from adult supervision to private places, both real and imaginary, where she explores alternative modes of behaviour, anticipating the independent adult that she becomes later in the novel. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]