Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168
In Dorp Dead Julia Cunningham … portrays life as she sees it, believing that, in the total experience, the unhealthy lip-licking kind of brutality that she has been accused of exploiting is actually inseparable from the realization of love and personal fulfilment of the young protagonist, Gilly: had he not been the victim of a sadistic adult, he would have become entrapped in a cage of self-alienation.
The disapproving critical reception of [this unusual novel] … suggests that while mediocrity is acceptable or at least tolerated, distortion for artistic reasons and anything pathological are not, even when they are used to widen the reader's vision of life and society. It is sadly apparent that the majority of adult critics of children's books prefer a message imposed from without rather than one that grows out of the novel itself. (pp. 440-41)
Sheila Egoff, in Only Connect: Readings on Children's Literature, edited by Sheila Egoff, G. T. Stubbs, and L. F. Ashley, (© Oxford University Press (Canadian Branch) 1969), Oxford University Press, Canadian Branch, 1969.
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