‘Naughty Boys and Nasty Boys: A Light-Hearted Talk’
The Branch was fortunate at the May meeting to have Eileen Nelson offer her talk on “Naughty Boys and Nasty Boys”. Eileen had stepped in willingly after the listed speaker was unable to appear, and gave an especially entertaining and rewarding presentation.
Of course, there are many boys in Dickens’s works, but it is interesting to discover just how many of them are naughty or nasty or both. It is a comment perhaps on human nature that generally speaking the naughty and the nasty are much more convincing than the angelic. True, the naughty ones, at least, often serve virtuous purposes. Outstanding is Trabb’s Boy, who is both useful in puncturing Pip’s pomposity and a life-saver when he leads the rescue party to the lime kiln where Orlick has trapped Pip. The nasty boys usually don’t have much to recommend them, a possible exception being Deputy in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. It may be that he would have redeemed himself in the portion of the novel that Dickens never wrote by being instrumental in the apprehension of the murderer. Certainly, though, in the existing portion he is not very agreeable. Still, why does Datchery trust him enough to employ him?
So, we had a very absorbing evening, with skilful readings by Glenda Benness and Derek Richards and, of course, Eileen herself.