Monday, 18 September 2017

Harriet the Spy - Little Girls in Literature

Here are some illustrations I made depicting my favourite children's book, Harriet the Spy. I have written before about how as I child I wanted to desolve myself and become Harriet M. Welsch. I still think about her often, and I wonder at crucial moments: What Would Harriet Do? Harriet is kind of an eccentric. Single-minded in her determination to be a writer, and obsessive about it in that way that only children can be. She's privileged but lonely. She's growing up and it's time for her nanny Ol' Golly to leave her. This happens just when her friends discover her notebook and the secret insights she's made about them and their lives - all of these observations are hilarious, but Harriet is learning that sometimes the truth hurts. She has to work out how to survive all on her own, getting revenge on those that stand in opposition to her, but also winning her friends back. I spent a week eating tomato sandwiches after drawing these. I assumed I'd grow out of this one day. But these loves never leave you completely. As Harriet says: “YOU CAN'T BE TOO OLD TO SPY. EXCEPT IF YOU WERE FIFTY, YOU MIGHT FALL OFF A FIRE ESCAPE, BUT YOU COULD SPY AROUND ON THE GROUND A LOT.” I guess I haven't fallen off of a fire escape yet.

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