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Literature: Madicken
Madicken is a character created by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. She appears in two novels and one short story, which were adapted into a TV series in 1979 and a movie in 1980. English translations have given her several different names; the British translation of the books names her "Mardie," while the American translation calls her "Mischievous Meg," and the English print of the movies names her "Maggie."

Madicken is an upper class girl, who lives with her parents and sister in a house in a small town in Sweden in the 1910's. Her father is the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper and unconventional in so far as he tries to draw his children's attention to social issues and injustice. Madicken is seen as a difficult child because of her temper and her many adventurous ideas that often get her in trouble, but she also has a kind heart and can't stand to see someone else unhappy. Other characters include Madicken's baby sister Lisabet, who admires Madicken's courage and gradually developes a mischievious side, the mother, who is often exhausted by her daughter's energy and stubbornness, the nanny Alva, who often deals with the children's day-to-day issues, and Madicken's neighbour and friend Abbe and his parents.

Notable because while Lindgren depicts an idyllic and sheltered childhood for the main character, many social issues are addressed as well through the family's neighbours and a poor classmate that always tries to pick up fights with her.

Madicken contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Abbe's father.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Lisabet has traits of this, even though the sisters get along more often than not.
  • Apron Matron: Linus-Ida, the laundry woman.
  • Bowdlerisation: Mischievous Meg, the American translation of the first book, is noted for making cuts and ommisions to the original text to remove "offensive" material; most notably an entire chapter has been removed — the chapter that depicts Madicken and Lisabeth's first meeting with the poor children Mia and Mattis, and which not only depicts a class-conflict but also features the girls swearing at one another. The British translation, Mardie's Adventures, keeps the chapter and is a far more faithful translation, however.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Lisabet is very much one of these — she's self-centered, stubborn and bratty, she laughs merrily at other people's misfortunes, and she has worked out that being the youngest and cutest means she can get away with a lot more. However, she's played much more sympathetically than many examples of the trope; there's no malice to her actions, and she genuinely admires and looks up to Madicken.
  • Catch Phrase: Lisabet is very fond of telling Madicken that "You're out of your mind, Madicken!" Usually delivered with a gleeful thrill that reveals that in Lisabet's opinion, being out of her mind is one of Madicken's better qualities.
  • Cheerful Child: Madicken and Lisabet.
  • Children Are Cruel: As is typical of Astrid Lindgren's works, all the child characters (especially the girls) have their moments of this. As it also typical of her works, this doesn't mean they're bad people; Madicken is usually just thoughtless, Lisabet doesn't quite understand how bad she's being, and Mia and Mattis lash out because they have a difficult life.
  • Corporal Punishment: When the principal finds out that Mia stole his wallet, he spanks her in front of the whole class. Madicken has never seen violence before and is so shocked that she stands up and begs him to stop, which he does after a while.
  • Determinator: As small as she is, once Madicken sets her mind to something, she won't give up on it.
  • Fiery Redhead: Madicken's classmate Mia, although her aggression is mainly directed towards Madicken.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the first chapter of the second book, Madicken's mother is feeling ill and "sorry for herself" one morning — later in the book it turns out she's pregnant and was suffering from morning sickness. And then it suddenly makes a lot more sense when the girls' father jokingly asks "why so down, was it something I did?" and the mother replies: "Yes, it was, and you perfectly well know what!"
  • Hate Sink: The mayor's wife is a Rich Bitch extraordinaire, who believes that she's above everyone else in their small town. She starts a stupid vendetta against Alva, Madicken's family's housemaid, and The Movie of the Book makes it very clear that her husband is hen-pecked.
    • Madicken's school headmaster also is described as an unlikable person with very old-fashioned views on gender roles and social classes, and he also caned Mia in front of the whole class.
  • Henpecked Husband: The mayor really isn't as much into social events as his wife is, but she forces him to attend them anyway.
  • Motor Mouth: Lisabet, who talks about everything and anything in great detail.
  • Nice Girl: Madicken, in a way that doesn't clash with her mischievous side; she's temperamental and often thoughtless, she get into fights, she misbehaves, she sulks and can at times be a bit of a Drama Queen — but she's a genuinely generous and empathic person who can't stand it when she sees or even hears about someone else being unhappy. She's also very perceptive, and can often sense that something's wrong with a person long before someone else can.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Madicken's real name is "Margareta," but nobody uses it (except when they're scolding her). Likewise, Lisabet is actually named "Elisabet."
  • Parasol Parachute: It does not work.
  • Rich Bitch: The mayor's wife.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Madicken and Lisabet are prone to these, usually in some way revolving around some misunderstanding about society, history or Bible stories.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Madicken is the tomboy, Lisabet is the girly-girl.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: From Madicken's point of view at least, Mia does this in the second book. Though Madicken does admit that Mia remains the quarrelsome and bad-behaviored troublemaker in school, she completely stops fighting with Madicken because Madicken shows her kindness. How their relationship develops is perfectly illustrated in the differences between their interactions in the first and the last chapter: In the first chapter, Mia steals one of Madicken's sandals — in the last chapter, which takes place exactly one year later, they run around together like the best of friends.

The Long ShipsNon-English LiteratureThe Millennium Trilogy
MadelineChildren's LiteratureThe Magic Pudding

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