How did the Lake District impact Beatrix’s life and work
Richard Maltby, one of two American producers of the film “Miss Potter”, called Beatrix Potter a huge English icon (Carpenter, 2006); there is no doubt about that. She is the icon of a woman who dared to overcome the contemporary social prejudices so as to find freedom, dream and happiness. She is also the icon of childhood who brings to children vivid natural world through the best-selling children books of all time such as “The tale of Peter Rabbit”, the tale of Benjamin Bunny, etc. However, we can’t stand mentioning about Lakes District, the cradle nourished her sensitive soul and impacted her life and work.
When we watch the film, we can see the Lake District appearing in two Beatrix’s period of time: childhood and after Warne’s death. In each time, she is brought new experiences as well big change in mind. Back to her childhood, we can see an ingenuous girl roaming everywhere in this peaceful and beautiful country with sheet of paper on her hand. That the images of cute animals such as rabbits, ducks, urchins, mice, birds, so on are meticulously observed by her delicate eyes in her childhood in Lake District becomes a valuable resource for her outstanding works later. Who can think a rabbit which Beatrix tries to catch in vegetables garden so engrossedly and carelessly that she falls into mud and gets dirty becomes Peter, the most famous rabbit worldwide. Or Jemima Duck, Robinson Mouse, Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten, etc, all of them are made soulful and personalized to become cute, lovely and close friends to children. We can say that her childhood in the Lake District is solid foundation for her life and work in the future.
The next images about the Lake District are in her days of sadness and sorrow after Norman Warne-her lover is dead. The pain is too much to bear, so she seems to nervous-breakdown and there is no inspiration for next stories. At the meantime, she decides to move to Lake District, buys Hill Top Farm and began a new life. This serene life soothes her pain and gives her more confidence and strength to be able to continue drawing and writing the next books. The Lake District’s nature and life still inspire her. Besides, her love for this country helps her have more motivation to conserve it with the money she earns from her works. Maybe this is a leap in her life as well the women’s life because she can spend her own money to against a man to protect which she loves. We wonder by ourselves that without Lake District, Beatrix can continue to make miracle like that. Maybe, not.
Beatrix Potter and Lake District seem to be born for each other. She spends almost all her life in here, and her works are also inspired and influenced strongly by this place. Beatrix’s last saying in the film is really true: “Mine took me here where I belong”.