”A Little Princess” is written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and was first published in 1905. The genre of the story is drama. Burnett has also written books such as “The Secret Garden” and “Little Lord Fauntleroy”, which in addition to “A Little Princess” has also been made into films.
“A Little Princess” is the story of Sara Crewe. She is placed in an all girl’s school when she is only seven. Here she is taught in subjects like History and French, and she lives a life in luxury. Unfortunately her father dies after a few years, which makes her life change radically and she now has to start working as a servant at the school.
Sara Crew is the main character in the book. She is skinny girl, has big green eyes and black half short hair. She is also relatively grown up in her manners for someone that young. This is quite obvious when she for example is being given reprimands, and don’t loose her temper. She also has a tendency of thinking of other peoples needs before her own, which very few children normally would have done. In addition, this behaviour make her seem very kind and lovable, even though she has been spoiled by her father from the day she was born. Sara is used to wear fur coats, the finest dresses and having all the toys a girl could want.
It is therefore a shock to Sara when Miss Minchin gives her the news that her father is dead. Miss Minchin is the headmistress of the school, and since Sara no longer as any money and is an orphan, she decides that Sara is to work as a servant at the school. This is a kind gesture in Miss Minchin’s opinion, for the headmistress has a cruel personality and the only thing she cares about is rules and money.
When Sara is working as a servant, she becomes good friends with Becky, the scullery maid. Becky helps Sara keep her mood up, when she has a rough time. Becky is a shy person, but becomes more sociable after she meets Sara.
In addition to Becky, Sara’s best friend at the school is a girl called Ermengarde. Ermengarde is not exactly an intellectual; she struggles with most of the subjects they are taught in, but Sara helps her with her homework, which makes her improve a bit. The two girls became friends when Sara was a student, and she is the only person that keeps contact with Sara when she becomes a servant.
Regarding the language in the book, it is quite difficult, considering the fact that it is a children’s book. This is because the author uses fairly much dialect, in the conversations between Sara and Becky, for example when Becy is telling Sara bout an event in town; “… watchin’ the swells go inter the operer. An’ there was one everyone stared at most”.
The dialogues between Sara and Becky are the dialogues you mainly find in the book, there isn’t exactly much dialogue between other persons. Because of this we get the main part of information about events that occur and peoples opinions, through a sort of all knowing person that describe it for us. It is for instant through one of these descriptions we get to know the turning point of the story.
When we are being told about the Indian gentleman that moves in next door to the school, we can imagine that it is a sign that Sara will have her old life back. This is because she used to live in India before she moved to the school and became a servant. The Indian gentleman is therefore a symbol of her old life returning.
The theme of the book is probably about karma, and how you treat others. Take for example Sara, she is kind to other people and never does anything to hurt anyone. Miss Minchin on the other hand is cruel to others and she likes to be in total control over everybody. But in the end it is Sara that is rewarded for her kindness, when she gets her old life back.
After reading the book, I am of the opinion that the film is better than the book. This is because the book had a very quick ending, and you did not really get enough information to sympathize with Sara’s situation. In the film the ending is much more intense, because the police is about to take Sara away from her father, who does not recognise her. But even though the film is better I would probably recommend the book because it is well written and one would then have something to compare the film against.