Childhood and adolescence: but it was children in every conceivable hue of blue and red and yellow and black and grey clothes that dominated. There were perhaps twenty of them, lovely children, mostly little girls, some big and already in love, walking along with the big boys. A chemist’s daughter was surrounded by admirers, she sat on a crate and held court there. (The Ring is Closed, 1936)
There are only a few descriptions of childhood and adolescence in Hamsun’s writing in which the perspective is that of the child. Important exceptions are Victoria (1898) and The Ring is Closed.
Although children are rarely given their own perspective and voice, they appear frequently and positively as indicators of differing family relationships.
Hamsun involved himself actively and passionately on behalf of children in articles and essays, including the so-called "Child-killer debate" of 1915.
Hamsun’s own childhood and adolescence were characterised by poverty, social and artistic ambition, and a rich imagination.
As a grown man Hamsun was much preoccupied with children and the young, and he used his speech at the Nobel Prize dinner to hail the virtues of youth. While Victoria, the daughter of his marriage to his first wife, was treated rather shabbily, he was a kind and generous father to the four children of his marriage to Marie, although they were sent away from home early, much against Marie Hamsun’s will.