I was thinking about GUM, or Great Uncle Matthew, who swoops in at the end of Ballet Shoes with his huge amount of money and his freethinking ideas.
And then I was thinking of The Diamond in the Window, and how the prince comes in at the end with his…huge amount of money and his freethinking ideas.
And The Wolves of Willoughby Chase? Check. Her parents return, with the free-flowing cash to rescue them all from poverty and restore order and happiness. Check also: freethinking ideas.
It's funny—I hadn't quite seen it as a whole before. I mean, I know it happens in grown-up movies: no matter how bad things seem, the guy in charge will somehow come in and show you that there is order in the universe, and somehow that's a good thing. And I don't know that I would exactly equate it with the prince rescuing trope, exactly, because these princes are—. Well, they're grown men, come to save the day, actually, now that I think about it.
Help, this is starting to freak me out. There are other ways that books end, aren't there? Books where the heroines have a brush with abject poverty and adventure? The books I loved beyond reason as a child? They aren't all Great Uncle Matthew—are they?
I mean, I know money brings with it at least the hope for freedom from care. And so often children's books, especially those with plucky female heroines, turn on money, or the absence of it. I mean, in The Wizard of Oz she doesn't end up magically rich at the end (thank heaven).
Is this a more modern phenomenon? Have any of you noticed it? What's it all about?