Friday, February 22, 2019

Goody Two Shoes

Goody Two Shoes. Anonymous. 1765. John Newbery. 17 pages. [Source: Online]

First sentence: It will be readily understood by our young readers, that the real name of the little girl who is the heroine of this story was not Goody Two Shoes, but Margery Meanwell.

Premise/plot: Margery Meanwell and her brother, Tommy, are ophans. These two are pitied by a rich friend passing through town. Tommy he will take to make a sailor of him. And he will give new shoes--and perhaps new clothes--to Margery. She's so thrilled to have shoes that she goes about the village announcing the fact that she has one, two GOOD shoes. Over the course of her childhood, she learns to read and write and then she teaches anyone and everyone how to do the same. Even some animals. Not everyone loves Goody Two Shoes or Mrs. Margery as she comes to be called when she receives a teaching position of her very own. But plenty do--including a rich widower, Sir Charles Jones who actually proposes to her. Of course this happily ever after morality tale wouldn't be complete without her grown-up-and-now-successful brother returning just in time to see her wed.

My thoughts: I was happily going along with this one until all the animals started entering in. She teaches two birds to spell using wooden alphabet blocks. Another pet bird "awakens" her pupils in the morning. Another pet, a lamb, "teaches" her pupils when to go to bed. Another pet, a dog, acts as guard or porter. He "saves" the children--and their teacher--by dragging them out of the building minutes before the roof collapses. These animals are her companions.
Mrs. Margery, who was always doing good, contrived an instrument to tell when the weather was to continue favourable or unfavourable; by which means she told the farmers when to mow the arrass and gather in the hay with safety. Several persons, who suffered in their crops by not consulting Margery, were so angry at their losses, that they accused her of being a witch and sent Gaffer Goosecap, a silly old meddling fool, to obtain evidence against her.
This old fellow entered the school as Margery was walking about, having the raven on one shoulder, the pigeon on the other, the lark on her hand, and the lamb and dog at her side, and he was so frightened, that he cried. "A witch! a witch!"
Margery exclaimed, smiling, "A conjurer! a conjurer!" and he ran off; but soon after a warrant was issued against her, and she was carried before a meeting of the justices, followed by all the neighbours.
 Was it necessary to introduce this dramatic accusation of witchcraft into the story? I vote no. I mean this morality tale was doing just fine and dandy on its own. But I suppose if it wasn't there would Charles Jones have been compelled to stand up and defend her? Still there's a silliness to this one.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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