A Teacher of Imagination: Enid Blyton

 

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1897- 1963/ Image Source: http://www.fr-online.de

I remember thinking about passing my good turn to someone, after reading Enid Blyton’s story, ‘The Good Turn.’ I was eleven, and I was in love with my new favorite author.

I read all the stories from The Eight O’Clock Tales to my little sister who was only four. And even though I don’t think she understood everything, she appreciated the fact that I was including her in my mysterious, big-sister world of books with no pictures in them.

I like to think that this was something every single child who read Blyton’s work, went through. There were enough stories that subtly taught us that just because we were small, didn’t mean that we had to be mean or spoilt. There were stories about Toy Town, that forced us to believe that everything deserved respect (including my own plastic dolls, whose necks I used to happily break, before Blyton tricked me into believing that it was hurting the toys).

And then she told us about the Secret Seven, and the Famous Five; children like myself, investigating the little mysteries that seemed so big back then. And in telling us these stories, she taught us to seek the truth, no matter how big or small.

I am 23 now. And I don’t believe in pixies and goblins. But there are lessons I learned from her stories, which many adults would consider ridiculous and dated in the present times. However, I will never agree with that, because those stories taught me to dream, and to create and play with friends that only I could see. She taught me that I was never lonely as long as I had the power of thought. If I asked it to be, it would be. And it did not matter if it was real only to me.

As a woman living in turbulent times, I sometimes retreat into my own mind to introspect. And that power came to me as a child through the work of authors like Blyton. And for that, I believe we need to celebrate her as an icon who taught us the ideals of morality, feminism, and kindness, when we were still too young to grasp heavy-duty philosophy.

She is still an epitome of what we can do when we educate our children right, by exposing them to the world in the subtlest but surest of ways. On March 1, 2017, I begin commemorating this year’s Women’s History Month with Enid Blyton, a teacher of Imagination.

 

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