The Adventures of Tom Sawyer vs. My Princess Boy

The protagonist Tom of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is your typical young boy.  He is cleverness an curiosity often led him to become involved in mischievousness.  He is dressed in tattered trousers and shoes and his use of bargaining allows for him to gain an assortment of “useless” treasure.  When one thinks of Tom Sawyer, knowledge of his character places him in the gender role as a boy who is a strong leader among st his peers.  Contrary to this, is the protagonist, Dyson of “My Princess Boy” in which Dyson is crossing gender roles: “Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.”  Here we find a character that is non-conforming to the gender role of what a “boy” is supposed to do and be.  This book goes on to state that whatever one chooses to be (gender wise) they will be accepted and loved regardless of societal norms.


Kilodavis, Cheryl, and Suzanne DeSimone. My Princess Boy: A Mom’s Story about a Young Boy Who Loves to Dress up. New York: Aladdin, 2011. Print.



Racial Innocence in “The Story of Dr. Dolittle”

“The Story of Dr. Dolittle” was written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting. This is a story about a man who is a physician who lives in a small village.  He becomes so caught up in his love for animals that he eventually scares off his human patients for them.  His pet parrot teaches him how to talk to animals and with this gift he communicates with animals so much that he become a veterinarian.  During this story Dr. Dolittle goes on a journey with his favorite animal friends.  So far, most of the story line is innocent in as such that a child reader will be engaged mainly by fantasy elements of animals that can talk to each other and now a human being like themselves.  The part that become racial is the use of derogatory language and illustrations when referencing black people from the original book.  There are versions of the book that revised these terms and also the pictures removed.  Also another racial point in the story when Dr. Dolittle gets captured but is then helped by a Prince who requests that in exchange for his ship, Dr. Dolittle should bleach the Prince’s face white so that he can fulfill his desire to act as a European fairy tale Prince.  The entire book is not intentionally written to be racist, however these subtle references imply so.  I also find it ironic that the movie version of this story features a Black man (Eddie Murphy) acting as Dr. Dolittle.


Lofting, Hugh. The Story of Doctor Dolittle. United Kingdom: Frederick K. Stokes, 1920. Print.




Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys: Help vs. Hinder

In Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, I identified the binary help vs. hinder.  Cecily the Giraffe helps (rescues)  the monkeys get across the river bank.  A sad and lonely Cecily learns that the monkeys are searching for a new home as she is searching for a new playmate.

“My name is Cecily Giraffe and I am unhappy because I haven’t anyone to play with.  Why are you sad?”

“We are sad,” said George, “because we haven’t anywhere to live.” (Rey p.6) 

When Cecily and the monkeys  become acquainted with one another as they entertain each other, Cecily slowly becomes hindered by her own generosity.  Even though she enjoys the company of the monkeys, at their request she is physically used in ways that can be viewed as dangerous.  Cecily is a seesaw, her head is tied to a tree as a ski slope, a rope is tied around her long neck a to create a sailboat, the monkeys decide to take off her skin??!!, and lastly tied up as a makeshift  harp. Though Cecily is having fun, all of these games do not really include her, tire her out and cause her pain.

“After a while Cecily’s neck got tired, but she was having such a good time that she hardly noticed.” (Rey p.12)

“He shouted orders and pulled the ropes. “Not so hard, not so hard!”, cried Cecily.” (Rey p. 17-18)

Poor Cecily.  Hindered by her own kindness and longing for companionship, she helped the monkeys find a place to live and and became their friend.  Cecily and the monkeys bond and the monkeys even write a song to show their love for her.


Rey, H. A., and Fritz Eichenberg. Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942. Print.




“The Twins” in comparison to “Sister, Sister”

The children’s literature text I read from The Boston Literary History site was “The Twins”, Juvenile Miscellany.  This story is about two twin sisters that are alike in every way.  They both have a cat, a dog and a lamb.  The sisters are young in age and at heart.  They love each other and love life.  During the story, the girls listen to a story being told by their mother and come up with the idea to teach their pet cats to dance.  The attempt was unsuccessful yet the twins did not fall into the mischievousness and disappointment of their plan for entertainment.  They took it light, laughed at the animals and continued their childish play.


In comparison,  I saw similarities from this text in the television show “Sister, Sister” where two twin sisters (teenagers) experience growing pains and disappointments in their lives.  Through these life lessons, they both remain cool, calm and continue to smile, laugh and take light of the situation at hand.

“It made the little girls laugh very much to see a lamb stamp its foot. Mary Jane said, “The lambs, and the kittens and the dogs all act so wild, that we shall never teach them to dance.” Then the girls went into their own little garden, to gather some flowers; and they fastened them in the collars of Snow-ball and Snow-drop; and the little lambs looked very pretty indeed, with the posies round their necks. The dogs and the kittens had a great frolic together; and then they laid down in the sunshine and went to sleep.”
 “The Twins,” Juvenile Miscellany, 1833, Volume 5, Issue 2



Binary Post: Rollo at Play: In the Woods

The binary that I identified in Jacob Abbott’s “Rollo at Play” is penitent vs. unrepentant.  Rollo is a young boy that is growing and learning about life through his experiences.  The lessons that the author wants the readers to absorb is clear and easy to comprehend.  The following is one example of how the binary I identified is shown.

“Rollo thought he would go and read more. It is true he was tired ; but he was sorry he had done wrong, and he thought that if he read more than he was obliged to, his mother would see that he was penitent, and that he acquiesced in his punishment. So he went on reading, and the rest of the half hour passed away very quick- ly. In fact, his mother came out before he got up from his reading, to tell him it was time for him to go. She said she was very glad he had submitted pleasant- ly to his punishment, and she gave him something wrapped up in a paper.” (Abbott,10-11)

The moral lesson to be learned is that it is the condition of one’s heart that motivates a choice, by free will, to experience remorse.  In this example, Rollo has the support of his mother who rewards him for his “good/penitent” behavior.  Children and adults reading Rollo’s experience’s of having to make the right choices, helps to instill the idea of being obedient to one’s parent and penitence is the foundation of most if not all behaviors to help through into having a healthy and prosperous life.


JACOB ABBOTT, Rollo at Play, or, Safe Amusements, Boston: Thomas H. Webb &Co., 1838



Mess Post: Alice in Wonderland

The binary I chose to mess with is my own binary of sense vs. confusion. When Alice meets the Mock Turtle for the first time, she found him sobbing and asked him why.  The Mock Turtle than began telling his story:

“When we were little,” the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, “we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle—we used to call him Tortoise——”

“Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Alice asked.

“We called him Tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock Turtle angrily: “really you are very dull!”

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question,” added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth. At last the Gryphon said to the Mock Turtle, “Drive on, old fellow. Don’t be all day about it!”(Carroll,115-116)

I chose this selection because here we find Alice asking what she thought was a perfectly normal question that made sense turning into confusion as she was scolded by the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon causing her to feel embarrassed and singled out. Ironically immediately after Alice’s scolding the Gryphon then hurries the Mock Turtle along with his story after he alleges that Alice is the “dull” one, furthering the sense of confusion.


Carroll, Lewis, John Tenniel, and Lewis Carroll. “Down The Rabbit-Hole.”Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1946. N. pag. Print


Binary Post : Alice in Wonderland

The binary that I identified was sense vs. confusion.  Alice’s curiosity led her to chase after the Rabbit “down a large rabbit-hole”.  As Alice falls down the hole she finds herself  wandering off into her thoughts to the point where she isn’t making much sense.(Carroll,1)

“Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? “I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?” she said aloud. “I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down. I think—” (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) “—yes, that’s about the right distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?” (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)

Presently she began again. “I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The Antipathies, I think—” (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) “—but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?” (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke—fancycurtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) “And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.””(Carroll,2)

This selection from the beginning of Alice in Wonderland sets the premise for the rest of the story.  What normally made perfect sense to Alice becomes removed from rational thinking to confusion as the deeper and deeper she is falls down the rabbit hole.  Alice “wonders” if she will fall “through the earth”, she gets confused about calculating distance, and when she says “The Antipathies, I think” (antipathy means an instinctive contrariety or opposition in feeling) confirms that her sense and reasonable way of articulating her thoughts has become a place in which she is feeling exactly opposite of herself, hence the confusion.


Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Carroll, Lewis, John Tenniel, and Lewis Carroll. “Down The Rabbit-Hole.”Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1946. N. pag. Print


Child as a Site of Adult Desire: “Atonement” by Ian McEwan

Atonement is a British story about a girl named Briony, age 13, who is the youngest of three children.  On the brink of adolescence,  she grows to become fond of a young man (the son of her family’s help) , Robbie, who has fallen in love with her older sister, Cecilia, age 22.  During one summer, Briony witnesses the organic sexual tension between Cecilia and Robbie on several occasions.  This of course fuels her jealousy and causes her to behave with adult like spitefulness and even revenge as she sees things that she does not understand but think she does.  At the core of this drama is one false accusation that Briony knowingly makes that causes all three of their lives to become severely damaged to the point where at the story’s end (when everyone grows older), Briony, now an adult, spends her whole life seeking “atonement” to set her childish wrong right.

This story was adapted to a film that was Oscar-nominated.  The film was rated R for disturbing war images, language and sexuality, which shows that this story was intended for the entertainment of adult desire though its main character is a 13-year-old child.  The process of atonement reaches beyond the scope of a child.  The writer, Ian McEwan has used the innocent perception of a child misunderstood to show adult readers that it can take an entire life span to repent and receive forgiveness for our wrongs. Elements of war and social class also have affects to the story-line that also are beyond comprehensions of a child so that when reading this story, once again we see an example of the adult projection of desire was used as an interpreter of this story.



“Atonement Themes.” Atonement Themes. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.

How to Read Children’s Literature: “Hey Diddle Diddle”

What the Reader Is Asked to Know

About Life

  • What a cat is, what a fiddle is, what a cow is, what a moon is, what a dog is, what a dish is, what a spoon is.
  • What does diddle mean?
  • How did a cat learn to fiddle?
  • How can a cow jump? Especially high enough to jump over the moon which is in space?
  • Why does the dog think that what he is seeing in fun and funny for that matter?
  • A dish and a spoon are both non-living things, how are they running? Who are they running from, or running away to?

About Language

  • Certain words have a rhyming scheme.
  • What do the words of this poem mean?
  • How are the words related to each other?
  • Why does the poem end with an exclamation mark?

About Literature

  • This text suggests a series of activities that seem impossible to happen in reality.
  • What is a nursery rhyme? What constitutes one?
  • This text evokes visionary thoughts that may not make sense but is nonetheless pleasurable to imagine.


What the Reader is Asked to Do

  • Visually see that there are words (in English) on the page and read them together and understand their meanings.
  •  Assume that this text is for entertainment, therefore experience pleasure.
  • See that there is rhythm and rhyme.
  • Use imagery and imagination that may raise inquires as to how the poem ends from its very unusual beginning.


The Implied Reader: Children and Adults who will read this for themselves and then to children.  This nursery rhyme is considered a literary pleasure that creates a read where very familiar texts become extremely unfamiliar once unusual if not weird behavior’s begin to occur.  Children will find this funny and strange at the same time, giving them countless opportunities to create their own endings or twist’s to the story.




“The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf'” by Aesop

There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling out “Wolf, Wolf,” and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the forest, and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried out “Wolf, Wolf,” still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said:

“A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”


Aesop, . ““The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf’”.” Aesop’s Fables. Lit2Go Edition. 1867. Web. <http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/35/aesops-fables/375/the-boy-who-cried-wolf/>. September 01, 2015.