Another children's story reviewed - A Marxist Interpretation of Mary Poppins

By Richard Lambert

“When I was a child, I thought as a child …”  But reading Sarah’s earlier post about how when reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now, she sees the story through the eyes of an executive search professional, reminded me that you can find different perspectives in other children’s stories if you look for them.

For example, have you ever realised that Mary Poppins is essentially a Marxist tract? No?  Well, consider:

  • The central heroic figure is a domestic servant, ably supported by a jack-of-all-trades
  • The celebration throughout of the dignity and humour of the ordinary working man
  • The solidarity of the workers together compared with the squabbling and division of the bourgeoisie
  • The support for the suffragettes (and particularly for direct action to achieve the vote)
  • The strongly anti-hunting stance
  • The critique of irresponsible military action
  • The castigation of bankers, banking and financial capitalism
  • The contrasting of investing to promote imperialist ambition and colonial exploitation and sharing wealth to the benefit of the community
  • Mr Banks is a classic example of a man alienated from himself and his family by his work and by capital.  It is only by freeing himself of these chains that he regains his happiness.


It’s enough to make you think that the author P L Travers’ initials stood for “Proletarian Liberation”