YMMV / Elsie Dinsmore

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Elsie a good Christian girl who does what The Bible says or is she a whiny girl who believes she is Holier Than Thou and does not stand up for herself?
    • The theme of the first two Elsie books seems to originate in the 12th chapter of St. Luke and the 11th chapter of St. Matthew in which Christ says families will be divided because of him and his sword. He predicted serious trouble for families in which some people followed his words and others not. Horace, who thinks he is a Christian because he goes to church, cannot believe Elsie is serious and thinks she is pretending extreme faith as a clever way to defy his authority. When Elsie does stand up for herself, she is harshly chastised for "setting up her opinion" against an adult's.
      • This doesn't prevent Elsie from enjoying an extremely rich lifestyle and fancy clothes, which Christ in the same chapter said not to do; he told rich people to give their stuff to the poor.
  • Values Dissonance: There's a lot. To modern day readers of the original series, how her grandparents treat her as well as her father qualifies as Abusive Parents. Then, it was normal relations. There is also rampant racism towards the slaves, who are also portrayed as enjoying slavery and that it is good for them. Even when she hits her majority, Elsie does not control her fortune, letting her father and later Edward Travilla control her finances and her plantation. On top of this, many misogynistic views are expressed by both male and female characters.
    • Modern readers might think of this as a Dickens novel, similar to David Copperfield. In the original work, Elsie's grandparents treated her like dirt and favored their own children, who stole from Elsie and bullied her with impunity. This may have been Truth in Television, but it was not considered normal relations in the sense of "the way things should be". Elsie's father ruled her with an iron fist, and because she loved him (which he at first did not believe), she was willing to give him absolute obedience, save where his will conflicted with God's commands. Of course in those days parents were strict, but Elsie's father was not merely strict. He believed the worst of her for many months and could not conceive that her Christian faith was sincere. This has been drastically toned down in the modern editions.
    • Elsie discovers a tiny songbird trapped under a glass jar in direct sunlight. It looks like the kind of vicious stunt Arthur would pull, and she promptly lifts the jar. It turns out this bird was captured by her father and set in the sun to kill it so that he could have it as a "prize specimen" for his collection. He punishes Elsie mercilessly for her "meddling" and makes her promise not to do so in the future. Values Dissonance, indeed.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/ElsieDinsmore