Ludwig  Bemelmans
Symposium 2001
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Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, MA
Lauren Bartinelli
"Characters and Settings Symbolic of Conformity and Non-Conformity in the Stories of Ludwig Bemelmans"
“The Establishment of Reformatory Schools in Conjunction with the School System and Prison System”
Link to Senior Art Thesis


Characters and settings, symbolic of either conformity or non-conformity, are present through the novels and short stories written by Ludwig Bemelmans. Characters who demonstrate conformity in the novels entitled The Blue Danube and The Street Where the Heart Lies and also in the short stories included within Mad About Madeline and Best of Times are Miss Clavel, Gauleiter, the police, and the professor. Madeline, the Bishop, gypsies, and Anton represent non-conformity. They challenge society through their actions or words. Bemelmans uses these characters and settings to symbolize conformity and non-conformity.

Many children were given the opportunity to go to reform schools by their parents so that they could make themselves successful in life. Ludwig Bemelmans was a child who was given this choice. He chose not to attend a reformatory school, but instead moved to the United States in hopes of pursuing a dream in writing which he was most successful with. Schools of reformatory began hundreds of years ago and have gone from prison-like establishments into school-like settings. A reformatory is where groups of children to young adults may go in place of jail so that they can be rehabilitated so that they do not disobey a law that they had previously. Reformatory schools aim to educate in a disciplinary way instead of a harsh abusive way.

Photo credit: http://www.edupaperback.org/authorbios/Bemelmans_Ludwig.html