Harnessing the monstrous: the dark side of Astrid Lindgren

Carole Scott


No ordinary girl
“Pippi was no ordinary girl”, (Lindgren 1997, 69) Astrid Lindgren tells us in one of her characteristic ironic understatements. The reader certainly has no quarrel with this observation. Although, unlike Karlsson on the Roof she doesn’t have a propeller on her back, Pippi is extraordinary in other ways. Lindgren always begins by describing her strange looks – carrot-red hair in braids that stick out, a nose like a potato, patches on her clothes and unmatched stockings – and her house and its inhabitants – a run-down dwelling in an overgrown garden with a monkey in a straw hat and a horse as roommates. But these outward idiosyncrasies are nothing in comparison with her power and her strength. Able to lift her horse and toss any number of men into the air without effort, she can also walk tightropes or plank bridges suspended in space, run on top of roofs and leap onto trees, ride bareback standing up, climb a tree with a filled coffeepot in her hand, shoot a rifle with unerring accuracy, eat poisonous mushrooms without effect, and steer a ship through storms. “Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top”, (Lindgren 1997, 3) she informs us.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14811/clr.v30i1-2.50


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