Born on January 11, 1903, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Alan Spencer Paton was the son of James Paton, a civil servant of Scottish descent, and Eunice Warder Paton, a South African mother of English descent. Neither of his parents was highly educated and his father reportedly beat his son; no doubt it was this traumatic experience which later shaped Paton's negative attitude toward corporal punishment as it is reflected in his writing. In order to cope with the physical abuse he endured, Paton found refuge in literature, reading such writers as Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Rupert Brooke. He also read the Bible – his parents' Christian faith and the Old Testament deeply influenced his personality. From his early childhood, …
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Meyer, Michael J.. "Alan Paton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 November 2009
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