World of Mary Poppins

There are high and low people included in “Mary Poppins.” In this movie, we can find some atmosphere of class societies in Britain. For example, Mr. Banks is a banker so he is always confident because a banker was high in rank at that time.
This video shows Mr. Banks is always punctual and self-pleased. He must be going as planned, and he doesn’t listen what his wife is saying.

Today, I want to write about one trivia related to the class society in “Mary Poppins”. When police officer come to Mr. Banks’s house to bring back the lost children, Mr. Banks invited the police officer to eat something in the kitchen. And the police said “No, thank you, sir.” It looks usual conversation, but this Mr. Banks’s statement implies the gap between banker and police. Those days, in wealthy family’s houses, kitchen was made underground. Family took a meal in the dining room on the 1st floor. However, servants and nannies had to take a meal in the kitchen (=underground). If Mr. Banks wanted to welcome the police, he might say “Please eat dinner, in the dining”. But he treated the police as his servants. It’s very impolite so the police declined the offer with a little anger.


According to the blogger at SCOPE (Jon Simons University of Nottigham, UK):

“Mary Poppins” was made in 1964, and it has some strong messages for parents to assume new responsibilities in the home by developing caring and playful relations with their children.

In this movie, “family values” is an important theme.
Before Mary Poppins came, Mr. Banks’s family was not happy, because the father was crazy about his work and the mother was also soaked into women’s suffrage. They didn’t care about their kids so children always did mischief for their nannies. Mary Poppins was a nanny, so she taught many things to children but she also taught important things, the family value, to parents. In the end of the movie, Mr. Banks was fired but he reformed and started to stay with children and his wife.

“Mary Poppins” teach family value to 1960s people who tended to neglect their family through Mr. Banks’s family set in England in 1910.

When Mary Poppins goes off secretly, a speaking bird (her umbrella’s handle) said “You know, they [=children] think more of their father than they do of you.” And Mary answered:

“That’s as it should be.”


“Chim Chim Cher-ee” is one of the insert song of “Mary Poppins” and it won the Academy Award. Its melody is calm, beautiful and a little sad. “Chim” stand for chimney. In this movie, we can find various kinds of people and influence of class society. Bert(Mary Poppins’s friend) has at least four jobs during the movie: a one man band, a sidewalk chalk artist, a kite seller and a chimney sweep(of course, these jobs aren’t for upper class people). He sings the life as a chimney sweep in this song.

Today, I want to focus on the job: chimney sweep. It’s a really tough and dangerous work because they have to enter narrow chimney and wipe out soot. There is possibility that they’re died by poisoning or covered with high temperature soot.
In the early 19c century, child labor was the big issue in England and many children worked as chimney sweeps. Children can enter and turn easily in the narrow chimney.
I want to introduce a poem “chimney sweeper” (William Blake) which portrayed children chimney sweeps. If you’re interested in it, please check here!

Caution- Child labor was prohibited in 1842 in England so it is not related to “Mary Poppins”

Do you know the wonderful musical movie “Mary Poppins”? It was produced by Walt Disney in 1964. It’s really enjoyable due to wonderful songs and dance and the story with happy ending.

However, this movie also portrays early 1910s U.K.’s society critically through the eyes of children. You may think are there ironical scenes in such a happy movie?

In this blog, I want to write about some scenes including ironic or political massages in the movie. If you know the background, you can enjoy “Mary poppins” more and more!

I’m going to write about three society problems portrayed in “Mary Poppins”

The first one is the class society. England had the influence of hierarchical society at that time and I think it’s the most meaningful theme in this movie.  We can find many kinds of people like bankers, police officers and so on. It’s the one of important point that Mr. Banks (father) is a banker.

The second one is a movement for female suffrage in 1910s England. We can watch Ms. Banks (mother) is crazy for it.

The third one is chimney sweeper. “Chim Chim Cher-ee” is a well known song and it won the Academy award for best original song. Bert (Poppins’s friend) works as a chimney sweeper in later scenes and he sings about his job in this song.  I want to write what chimney sweepers were and what kind of people involved in the job. It’s related to the class society.

Now, Let’s go to the new world of “Mary Poppins” !

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