The Getting of Wisdom was a bold choice as the subject of a feature film. The novel by Henry Handel Richardson [pseudonym of Ethel Richardson] was published in 1910, 13 years after the action depicted and was so shocking at the time that the author’s name was stricken from the records of the school in which she set the lightly-disguised autobiography.
It is the story of a young girl’s trials and adjustment to life in a strict, Victorian boarding school. Laura (Susannah Fowle) is strong-willed and rebellious, which creates conflicts with her peers and her teachers. The only real soulmate she finds is a senior girl (Hilary Ryan), but her possessiveness drives a wedge in the relationship.
The plotline is episodic, charting the development of the lead character over the years between her arrival and her graduation.