“Proper” Gender Expression

There is a strong stereotype that males are supposed to be dominant figures expressing emotions that are brave, courageous, and anything else that is considered to fall under the broad term of “manly.” In the story Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Max fits the representation of the “proper” gender expression as a male. In the beginning Max rebels against his own mother’s commands and charges into this imaginary world (inside his bedroom) where he bravely rules over all of the monsters that he encounters:

“till max said ‘BE STILL!’ and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things.” (Sendak)

Max expresses “manly” features by expressing characteristics of being assertive, brave, and demanding to be king in this new world he claims as his own. This literary example highlights that whether the individual is a man or a boy, he is expected to showcase “manly” characteristics. This can help us understand the TV series, Suits in episode 10 of season 5.  In this specific episode Mike Ross makes a major decision to step down from living his life in a lie (as a lawyer with no law degree). He decides to make a “manly” decision and take blame for everything that he has been lying about in order to live a serious life with his soon to be wife. This shows manly characteristics because of his courage, bravery and confidence to take charge of his own life.



“‘Suits’ Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: Mike Ross Arrested, Jack Soloff and Daniel Hardman’s Take Over Is Defeated in ‘Faith'” Latin Post RSS. N.p., 28 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. < http://www.latinpost.com/articles/75276/20150828/suits-season-5-episode-10-recap-mike-ross-arrested-jack-soloff-and-daniel-hardman-s-take-over-is-defeated-in-faith.htm>


Literary Cannon Does Not have An Age Requirement

The early American children’s text that I chose to compare was Mary Had a Little Lamb by Lowell Manson (1831) and the contemporary piece of children’s literature: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964).

Mary Had a Little Lamb by Lowell Manson (1831) is about a little girl who had a pet lamb whom she loved as much as it loved her. One day she decided to take the lamb to school with her even though she was not allowed to. The lamb was a huge distraction in school, therefore her teacher kicked him out of the school. After patiently waiting nearby for Mary to be dismissed from school, the lamb expressed its love for Mary by running into her arms with joy.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964) was written over a century later, yet it can be considered just as important to the literary canon as Mary Had a Little Lamb. These two pieces of literature are both poems that are used for children’s pleasure (as well as adult pleasure). Aside from this, they both have one major thing in common: the expression of a powerful relationship between a human being and something that is not human and ends in a positive joyful way.  They both have a theme in which there is some sort of separation between the two and they end up together at the end of the story. Mary leaves her lamb because she needs to attend school and her lamb is not allowed in. Towards the end of the story she ends up happily with the lamb anyway, “Till Mary did appear; And then he ran to her, and laid his head upon her arm… What makes th’ lamb love Mary so!” The boy in The Giving Tree repeatedly leaves the tree throughout the story but ends up in a similar happy situation towards the end of the story also, “‘Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’ And the boy did. And the tree was happy.” Both Mary Had a Little Lamb and The Giving Tree both play a significant role in the literary canon. They both can be crucial factors to the development of children today and their understanding of relationships and being grateful about what they have.



Silverstein, Shel, Shel Silverstein, and Publishers Row. The Giving Tree. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Print.


“Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History.” LOWELL MASON, “Mary Lamb” [music], in Juvenile Lyre, Or, Hymns and Songs, Religious, Moral, and Cheerful, Set to Appropriate Music, For the Use of Primary and Common Schools, Boston: Richardson, Lord & Holbrook; Hartford, H. & F. J. Huntington,. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.



The Infamous Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

It is evident that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory contains Oompa-Loompas-1964-1973racist intentions behind the narrative when analyzed closely. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has various impressions on the world. Some people might remember the story because of the golden ticket, Willy Wonka himself, the chocolate factory, or maybe even the Oompa Loompas. The story is about a poor boy who manages to get his hands on one of the last 5 “golden tickets” that allows access to a tour of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. Throughout his tour of the factory he has many encounters with the Oompa Loompas who are described as multi colored clown looking dwarfs. In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory’s original storyline (before it’s publication in the US and the UK) the Oompa Loompas were initially described and illustrated as little black pygmy people that were taken from central Africa and into this giant chocolate factory to work for little to no compensation. This Scene recreates the image of how slaves were introduced to the United States and forced to work in factories, farms. The Oompa Loompas serve as an example of the racial innocence found in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The narrative to the story was revised and republished in the 1970s even though the original narrative was introduced in the 1960’s. Only about a decade later, after having been revised to change the interpretation of the little dwarfs, the storyline was declared “innocent” and suitable for children.



“RoaldDahlFans.com – Books – “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” Politically Correct Oompa-Loompa Evolution.” RoaldDahlFans.com – Books – “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” Politically Correct Oompa-Loompa Evolution. Web. 14 Dec. 2015. <http://www.roalddahlfans.com/books/charoompa.php>


“Inanna Arthen – The Vampires of New England Series – Blog.” Rewriting the Rules. Web. 14 Dec. 2015. <http://inannaarthen.com/blog/>


Child as Site of Adult Desire: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

In the short poem The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein directly uses the life journey of the boy in the story to act as a representation of how a relationship continuously adjusts to the different obstacles that are presented to an individual at different points in their lives. In the beginning the tree simply provides a source of entertainment to keep the boy free of boredom. (Play “king of the forest, climb and swing from branches). As he gets older, the boy begins to spend more and more time away from the tree, only coming back when he is in need of something. Towards the end of the story, the boy is so old that he no longer has the energy to make use of anything the tree has to offer and the tree has nothing left but a stump- which the tree offers as a place to rest. The stump serves as a representation of how the tree still desires to maintain a relationship with the old boy regardless of the fact that she has nothing left to offer to the boy. The idea of this story symbolizes how relationships can seem to become weaker over time because of the different obstacles that life presents you with, but with the will and desire, you can still maintain those valuable friendships/relationships.

Silverstein, Shel, Shel Silverstein, and Publishers Row. The Giving Tree. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Print.


The Giving Tree


How to Read Children’s Literature: “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”

What a Reader Is Asked to Know

 About Life

  • This nursery rhyme demands that you have previous knowledge on what a spider is, what a water sprout is, what it means to climb,
  • When something gets wet it becomes slippery making the texture hard to grip and how heat from the sun can dry out something that is wet.
  • The word “Itsy-Bitsy” implies a different characteristic to what a regular “spider” might imply.

About Language

  • How to read in English, as well as having a good understanding as to how words are used together to express different ideas.
  • You have to know that the text is to be read in the order of left to right and top to bottom.
  • Why the words in the beginning of each line are capitalized.

About Literature

  • There is no requirement for the text to be written in complete sentences because it is a poem.
  • What a poem is and its significance as opposed to a non-poetic piece of literature.
  • Even though the literary text is a narration of a spider climbing a water sprout, it is still a form literary entertainment.

What a Reader Is Asked to Do

  • Translate what is presented in front of you into letters that form together into words that work together and express an idea.
  • The understanding that the literature you are reading is a poem which means that you need to pay close attention to the patterns and attitudes that the author uses.
  • Expect to receive some type of pleasure from the literature because it is a form of literature.



The nursery rhyme that I chose to respond to is the Itsy-Bitsy Spider by imitating Klassen’s model in order to perform a thorough analysis of the text. In my opinion, the implied reader of this poem are children because the previous knowledge that you are expected to have before reading this text, as well as what you are suppose to do with the literature, is not as complex compared to other works of literature. Anybody can find the same pleasure I received from reading this simple poem because the concepts and patterns found in this poem aren’t extremely difficult to follow.




Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got and home he ran,
As fast as he could caper.
There his mother bound his head,
With vinegar and brown paper.



“Jack and Jill.” Kidspot Australia. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.