Honor Arundel Judith Aldridge - Essay

Judith Aldridge

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Janet's analytical honesty enables the reader [of The Terrible Temptation] to see her fully through the first person narration, at times to dislike or to pity her, share her happiness and hope that she will appreciate the value of Thomas, in whom affection and concern for people are uppermost. Without moralising, Honor Arundel presents dramatically the cost of fear and selfishness alongside the responsibilities but greater happiness of generosity of spirit.

The university background is lightly sketched only, as indeed are most of the characters; appropriately since Janet's main concern is with herself. They convince nevertheless, and offer scope for the reader's imagination.

A lively, credible story which resists the temptation to force a happy ending.

Judith Aldridge, "Fiction: 'The Terrible Temptation'," in Children's Book Review (© 1971 by Five Owls Press Ltd.: all rights reserved), Vol. 1, No. 6, December, 1971, p. 193.

In spite of its title, [The Terrible Temptation] is not a story of temptation in its usual connotation, but is based on a phrase from one of [Bertolt] Brecht's plays, "How terrible is the temptation to do good"….

This is an interesting study of a situation that could be that of some young people in every generation. The two points of view are represented by the main protagonists, Janet and Thomas. Janet does not approve of "irrational love" and considers that freedom is synonymous with uninvolvement, she thinks a cynical approach to life attractive and she is utterly selfish. Thomas is the antithesis, for he has compassion for everyone in need and shares what he has, poor as he is. He is completely involved and takes it for granted that a sense of responsibility for others is a natural part of human nature.

Every young person who reads the book … will realise its insistence that not one of us can escape some involvement with people, not only those in our own lives but the men and women in the wider community who suffer from the inhumanity of mankind. Hence the modern protest marches, one of which is described in this story, which although sometimes misguided are a sign of the involvement of young people.

A salutary and challenging story from an author who undoubtedly is involved herself with young people and their problems.

"For Children From Ten to Fourteen: 'The Terrible Temptation'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 35, No. 6, December, 1971, p. 390.