A Genetic Structuralism Analysis of Materialism in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess


Nurul Berlian Aisyah Sakinah(1), Dina Dyah Kusumayanti(2*)

(1) Universitas Jember
(2) Universitas Jember
(*) Corresponding Author


Although the Industrial Revolution in Britain’s Victorian era contributed significantly toward Britain’s development, it also led to the emergence of materialism issues in society. This research aims to identify how materialism was constructed and to reveal the worldview on materialism expressed in A Little Princess (2017). Goldmann’s Genetic Structuralism is operated in this qualitative research. The results indicate that the materialism issue brought some adverse impacts or social problems, such as the division of social classes, the social gap between the upper, middle, and working classes, and child labor in the Victorian age. Besides, the worldview of Burnett’s social group resisted materialism by delineating these social issues and a binary opposition between a materialistic character shown by Miss Minchin and a non-materialistic character presented by Sara. Through the binary opposition, Burnett wanted readers to be aware of the negative impacts of practicing materialistic traits such as possessiveness, envy, and non-generosity. Possessiveness is shown by Miss Minchin's desire and attitude to retain all of Sara’s luxury stuff. Envy appears in Miss Minchin's envy of Sara’s wealth and prosperity. Non-generosity as Miss Minchin hard to donate her possessions or do charity. As a human fact product, A Little Princess can be interpreted as a view to getting a better life for poor child workers at that time.


A Little Princess, materialism, Industrial Revolution, Victorian Britain, Goldman’s Genetic Structuralism

Full Text:



Akkülah Doğan, E. (2018). The Picture in Dorian Gray: Object Agency and Oscar Wilde’s Decadent Ideas in the Picture of Dorian Gray and Its Screen Adaptations (Master's Thesis). Hacettepe University, Ankara.

Allen, R. C. (2017). The Industrial Revolution: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Belk, R. W. (1985). Materialism: Trait Aspects of Living in the Material World. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 265. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1086/208515

Burnett, F. H. (2017). A Little Princess. Indonesia: Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

Collins Dictionary. (2023). Materialism. In Collins. Collins.

Donnelly, G. E., Ksendzova, M., Howell, R. T., & Vohs, K. D. (2016). Buying to Blunt Negative Feelings: Materialistic Escape from the Self. Review of General Psychology, 20(3), 272–316. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000078

Goldmann, L. (1975). Towards a Sociology of the Novel. Great Britain: Tavistock Publications Limited.

Goldmann, L. (1977). The Hidden God. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Goldmann, L. (1980). Method in the Sociology of Literature. England: Basil Blackwell Publisher.

Hakim, O. A. (2016). Child Abuse in the Victorian Era with reference to Charles Dickens Novel (Oliver Twist, David Copper Field, Great Expectation, and Hard Times) (Undergraduate Thesis). Faculty of Graduate Studies University of Sudan for Science and Technology, Khartoum State.

Haque, M. N., Islam, M. A., & Tohfa, M. U. (2018). Conflictual Ideologies in Victorian Novels and Poetry. American Research Journal of English and Literature, 4(1), 1–11. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.21694/2378-9026.18003

Helmi, M. I. (2017). Steinbeck’s Worldview Toward the Effects of Materialism in the Mexican Colonial Era as Reflected in the Pearl (Undergraduate Thesis). Faculty of Language and Arts Yogyakarta State University, Yogyakarta.

International Labor Organization. (2022). What is Child Labor. Retrieved from What is child labour (IPEC) (ilo.org)

Isnaeni. (2016). Child Labor in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist Novel (Undergraduate Thesis). Adab and Humanities Faculty Alauddin State Islamic University, Makassar.

Kasser, T. (2018). Handbook of Well-Being. In Materialism and Living Well. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers.

Kutzer, M. D. (2000). Empire’s Children: Empire and Imperialism in Classic British Children’s Books. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.

Miranda, K., & Snower, D. J. (2020). Recoupling Economic and Social Prosperity. Global Perspectives, 1(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1525/001c.11867

Mitchell, S. (2009). Daily Life in Victorian England (2nd ed.). London: Greenwood Press.

Rathod, R. (2019). Victorian Era: The Industrial Revolution. Bhopal: Excel Publications.

Rutherford, L. (2000). British Children’s Writers 1880-1914. Frances Hodgson Burnett, 59–78. Retrieved from Burnett_DLB_1994-with-cover-page-v2.pdf (d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net) on 4th June 2022

Steinbach, S. L. (2016). Understanding the Victorians: Politics, Culture, and Society in Nineteenth-century Britain (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Suranto. (2016). Ideological Resistance Toward Materialism As Represented In Wilde’s The Nightingale And The Rose And The Happy Prince (Undergraduate Thesis). Universitas Negeri Semarang, Semarang.

Wulandari, N. D. (2017). An Analysis of Underage Children Exploitation in A Little Princess Novel by Francess Hodgson Burnett (Undergraduate Thesis). Universitas Negeri Semarang, Semarang.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/poetika.v11i1.77973

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 508 | views : 319


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Poetika: Jurnal Ilmu Sastra

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

ISSN 2503-4642 (online) | 2338-5383 (print)
Copyright © 2022 Poetika under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

free web stats View My Stats