Janet Frame Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to her novels, Janet Frame produced four collections of stories: The Lagoon (1951), Snowman, Snowman: Fables and Fantasies (1962), The Reservoir: Stories and Sketches (1963), and You Are Now Entering the Human Heart (1983). She wrote two volumes of poetry—The Pocket Mirror (1967) and The Goose Bath (2006). In 1982, Frame penned To the Is-Land, the first installment of her three-part autobiography, followed by An Angel at My Table (1984) and The Envoy from Mirror City (1985). Frame also wrote a volume of children’s literature, Mona Minim and the Smell of the Sun (1969), and numerous essays and reviews.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

For her first collection of short stories in 1951, Janet Frame was awarded the Hubert Church Award, New Zealand’s highest recognition for prose excellence. She received the award four more times for her novels Scented Gardens for the Blind, A State of Siege, Intensive Care, and Daughter Buffalo. For Owls Do Cry, her first novel, Frame won the New Zealand Literary Award. She twice received the New Zealand Book Award for Non-Fiction—for Angel at My Table, in 1984, and for The Envoy from Mirror City, in 1986. She received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Otago, Dunedin, in 1978, and another from the University of Waikato, Hamilton, in 1992. She was presented with the Massey University Medal in 1994 from Massey University, Palmerston North. Frame became a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1990 and was recognized by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand as one of its “Icon Artists.” In 2003, she received the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Award for her achievements in literature.

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

How did the events of Janet Frame’s life give support to her “resistance to enclosure”?

Consider whether Frame gains any literary advantages from working in a nation so remote from the Western world.

What is most beneficial about marginalization?

What is an “impostor narrator,” and what is the function of the impostor narrator in The Carpathians?

Is Frame contending that the sane have no reliable access to the truth?


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Delbaere, Jeanne, ed. The Ring of Fire: Essays on Janet Frame. Sydney: Dangaroo Press, 1992. Book-length study, which includes a comprehensive bibliography.

Delrez, Marc. Manifold Utopia: The Novels of Janet Frame. Atlanta: Rodopi, 2002. Looks at Frame’s work from a postcolonialist perspective.

Evans, Patrick. Janet Frame. New York: Twayne, 1977. A literary biography, including analysis of individual works and an overview of criticism. Good bibliography.

Irvine, Lorna. Critical Spaces: Margaret Laurence and Janet Frame. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1995. Canadian Laurence and New Zealander Frame are studied and contrasted in terms of their political viewpoints, their depictions of national characteristics, and their representation of their respective countries as outposts of British imperialism.

King, Michael. Wrestling with the Angel: The Life of Janet Frame. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2000. A well-researched authorized biography. Focuses on the events of her life rather than analysis of her writing.

Panny, Judith Dell. I Have What I Gave: The Fiction of Janet Frame. 2d ed. Wellington, New Zealand: Daphne Brasell, 2002. Book-length critical study of the allegorical dimensions of Frame’s work.