Source G is a novel written by Nina Bowden in 1973 describing the econditions for a pair of evacuees. In most cases cases novels should not be taken too seriously for a number of reasons. To begin with novels are written by authors whose main purpose of writing is to sell as many copies as possible to make money, not necessarily to provide us with an accurate account of the time. This is a major problem with using novels as evidence is the way they are written, novels are not real like autobiographies or textbooks, they are written as a story. A novel can also be subjective, depending on the author who decides how the story is written.
In this extract, the two children are treated kindly and with respect. This was the case for many children of the time but it only shows us part of the full picture. For instance, many foster parents were more interested in money than the children. Meals often were the cheapest that could be made and smacking the children was not all that uncommon. Another issue ignored by the extract is some of the behaviour shown by the children : “The children went round urinating on the walls. Although we had toilets the never used them. ”
This type of incident was common; poorer city children unable to cope with the more luxurious countryside. However, looking at this particular extract, it seems to have captured part of the spirit of the era. Children and foster-parents sometimes got surprises when they got evacuated. In the extract Miss Evans mistakes the children to be poor when they they weren’t. Misunderstanding The novel has other advantages such as this novel based itself on the actual evacuation. It took information from many different sources (i. e interviews and photographs), though the extract is too short to see the full benefits.
In my opinion, to see if the extract is reliable we have got to compare it to real information, however the limited amount of the extract is the downfall again, we have not much extract to compare with. A good part of a novel is the way that we can understand the minds of the children and it can explore emotions and detail in further depth than just interviews or photographs. After analysing the text I believe that this novel (and most others) are not useful to understand what actually happened and should not be considered as evidence. 3. “Evacuation was a great success. ”
Well me must first interpret what is meant by “success”. Indeed there were many good points about the evacuation, yet it was not flawless. Source A is an extract from a textbook written in 1988 used probably to educate people. In the extract it claims “Arrangements, however, did not always go smoothly” and “There were reports of children “fouling” gardens, hair crawling with lice, and bed wetting. ” These quotes reveal to me the darker side of the evacuation. Even though I do not know exactly where the information in the extract comes from, there is some truth in it. Many children that were evacuated during the war were from very deprived parts of the city and when they got to the countryside it was a major shock for them.
From an incredibly poor environment to an incredibly rich one (rich at the time) caused confusion and even fear among the children. Due to the evacuation being such a massive event much emphasis was placed on getting people to a destination, rather than what would happen when they got there. For instance, it was common for pregnant women to be sent to villages without modern medical facilities leading to painful and even dangerous labours. Source D is a photograph issued by the government during the war. It shows some children having a bath and they all look happy and cheerful. Though it is a photograph and primary evidence we must question the purpose of this particular photograph. It was issued by the government, so the photo might (and doubtless was) bias.
The government most likely wanted to encourage the evacuation to people in the cities. So this photograph may well be reminiscent of the evacuation but it may not (and does not) show the whole picture. This source does have its own uses: many city children would not have had regular (and in some cases would not have had any) access to a bath, this showed that it may have been a pleasant experience for many of the poorer evacuees. Source E is part of an interview with a mother of a host family.
The woman obviously did not like the evacuees and their mother’s habits. A quote, “Although we told their children and their mother about this filthy habit they took no notice and our house stank to high heaven. ” This was apparent in many cases, the children often could not get used to the comparatively lavish accommodation they were put in, and stuck with their often unpleasant habits, which caused discontent among both host and hosted alike. Source F is an interview with an evacuee, its shows the less common scenario of an upper class child going to a less well off family. Nevertheless it is an interview with a person and it is prone to error.
The person seems slightly cynical and maybe even sour of his experience. This indicates to me that he/she may be bias against the host family, so once again the fact that this is secondary evidence means that we cannot take this account too literally. There are good points of the account, the person was actually there and can give us a human feel to the situation. It also showed up the sort of different experiences for all the people involved. The evacuation had a number of downfalls. Many young children were put in the traumatic position of being split from their parents and thrust into the arms of strangers.
Many problems stemmed from the evacuation involved mass numbers of people (mostly young children). Foster parents were not always plentiful (even through massive propaganda campaigns) and no vetting of them took place. Though no documents of anything sinister happening to the children we cannot rule out the possibility. The children still attended school whilst evacuated, in many cases far too many children went to one village and schools would subsequently become overcrowded.
Another problem with the massive number of children being evacuated was how to get them to foster care. In the luckier circumstances the government organised well and put children with people. However this was not always the situation, sometimes children would just be quite literally herded into a church hall and chosen for adoption by foster carers much like a cattle market. Nevertheless these were not the main problems for the British government. Massive numbers were evacuated, yet due to non-existent bombings from either side British people began to believe that war was never to come, or at least would not affect Britain. In fact it was 11 months after the initial evacuation before the phoney was ended and real bombing raids began to commence.