Illness and disability in Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School stories
Choong, C. 2018. Illness and disability in Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School stories.
As other scholars have noted, Brent-Dyer makes good use of the “illness/injury” plot device throughout her long series of Chalet School stories in order to symbolise a process of character change. Illness, disability or injury are used as catalysts to enable ‘difficult’ characters to reform. In addition, Brent-Dyer occasionally, particularly in the character of The Robin, employs the trope of the purity and innocence of sick children.
In this paper, I discuss Brent-Dyer’s use of these ideas in the pre-war Chalet School stories, including thoughts on how her own life story may have influenced this aspect of her writing. I examine the positive and negative implications of the ways in which Brent-Dyer employs ideas of illness and disability, and how this may have affected my own reading of her Chalet School books as a child and young adult living with chronic ill health.
In addition, I aim to explore the idea of books, and the Chalet School stories in particular, as sanctuary, and to briefly give some thought as to why Brent-Dyer’s attitudes to health and illness may have changed after the Second World War.
|Conference||International Centre for Victorian Women Writers: Fifth International Conference: 1920s and 1930s|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||18 Jul 2018|
|Completed||17 Jul 2018|
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