Several of the dominant discourses of the times in which Enid Blyton lived and wrote
are reflected in her writing; and this resulted in much negative criticism of her work.
However, her writing also offers evidence of alternative and emergent discourses, as
defined by Raymond Williams. In this article, Blyton’s often contradictory representation
of gender roles is considered, with particular reference to the portrayal of the characters
Anne and George in the Famous Five series. Although there is evidence that Blyton does
support a dominant heteronormative discourse that encouraged girls and women to
take a submissive role in relation to boys and men, she also undermines such stereotypes
and shows her readers different possibilities for girls and women. In her portrayal of
the tomboy George, Blyton illustrates that girls and women can succeed at traditionally
masculine tasks, while at the same time she reassures young readers that a traditionally
feminine role such as that ascribed to Anne is also available to them.