Fictional Aunts Stern

Had Prozac or this adorable woman’s son been around a few hundred years ago, the history of children’s literature might have been very different, no?

We think it’s related to the whole “evil stepmother” thing as a logical creation of a society in which you had a decent shot at dying in childbirth and leaving your kids at the mercies of taciturn people who probably lived on a farm and desperately needed the exuberant energy of a young boy or girl to liven them up and teach them lessons about the simple joys of a positive attitude.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: “He lives with his half brother Sid, his cousin Mary, and his stern Aunt Polly in the (fictional) town of St. Petersburg, Missouri.”

Emily of New Moon: “She is sent to live at New Moon farm with her stern aunt Elizabeth, who lets Emily bring only one of her cats and forbids her to write in her beloved journal.”

James Y El Melocotsn Gigante: “Two very stern aunts* make life difficult for a recently orphaned young boy.”

Nowhere to Call Home: “When she hears a servant’s plan to become a hobo and ride the rails, 12-year-old Frances sees a way out of being sent from her home in Philadelphia to live with her stern aunt in Chicago.”

Pollyanna: “The title character is named Pollyanna Whittier, a young orphan who goes to live in Beldingsville, Vermont, with her wealthy but stern Aunt Polly.”

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm: “…a classic American 1903 children’s novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin that tells the story of Rebecca Rowena Randall and her two stern aunts in the village of Riverboro, Maine. Rebecca’s joy for life inspires her aunts, but she faces many trials in her young life, gaining wisdom and understanding.”

Unbroken: “Her mother’s will states that [Harriet] is to live with her father’s sister, stern, disapproving Aunt Sarah.”

Moreover, go read this poem by Rosaleen Croghan:

We had an aunt for every situation
great aunts cousin aunts fake aunts friends
of our mother’s mother
sad aunts mad aunts fastidious aunts
who had been in religious orders
musical aunts terrorist aunts twin aunts distinguished aunts
adventurous aunts who drove Ford transit vehicles.
These children of mine that have only one or 2 aunts
how will they ever learn anything?


(Picture via Etsy)