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Ballantyne's boys

0 comments | 9:06 am | top |
Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system.... They ought to practice leaping >off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man's career with cool, cautious self-possession....
—R.M. Ballantyne, The Gorilla Hunters

Eric Quayle, author of The Collector's Book of Boy's Stories explained that Ballantyne's characters:
...rescued helpless natives from a cruel death at the hands of cannibals, or dashed through smoke and flames to the side of the swooning heroine, or plunged without a moment's hesitation into the shark infested waters for the sake of an injured friend. And, at the end of their courageous display of selfless devotion to duty, they modestly refused to accept any thanks from the victims of the drama other than perhaps a firm shake of a gratefully outstretched hand of the one who had been snatched from the jaws of a fearful death.

Click here to read more about the author, R. M. Ballantyne, and to read some book reviews


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