Mess Post (Right vs. Wrong)

In the right vs. wrong binary I’m messing with. Right versus wrong is supported by the idea that being right is associated with winning and rewards. In the scene on pages 22-24 Rollo and James are arguing about where to play the window ion the wigwam. Both boys think they are right and the other is wrong. However, Jonas comes over and points out that both are right and both are wrong. Rollo was right that it he had begun building the wigwam before James showed up so it was his. James was right that he did put time and effort into working on the wigwam also. Rollo was wrong because he did place any value in the work James did to help him. James was wrong in thinking that because he helped Rollo the final decision on where the window went should be his. When Rollo and James show they can be considerate of each other when Rollo’s half dollar is lost, Jonas solves their original issue by asking why they don’t make two windows. I think Jonas was giving them time to see that their disagreement was about their lack of consideration for each other and it’s not always about right or wrong.

Abbott, Jacobb. “Rollo At Play: Into the Woods.” Lydia Maria Child and the Development of Children’s Literature. Boston Public Library. Web. 8 December 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/jacob-abbott-rollo-play-or-safe-amusements-boston-thomas-h-webb-co-1838>.


Group C Mess: Devil vs. Angel

The binary introduced last week, Devil vs. Angel, was based around the characters Tom and Huck as devils and the model boys (Sid, Willie, etc..) as angels. However, this binary is put into question when we read chapter 23, where Tom is depicted as a hero for testifying against Injun Joe in court. Tom, despite having unruly and destructive tendencies, is inherently a good child. On the other hand, we see the hateful nature of the ideal Model Boy, Sid, as he tells on Tom to Aunt Polly stating, “Well, now, if I didn’t think you sewed his collar with white thread, but it’s black.” (p 8) Sid constantly annoys and tells on Tom and gets others in trouble.

The characters begin to mold into both parts of the binary as we begin to label Tom a devilish angel, while Sid is labeled an angelic devil. Tom shows that he is inherently good, despite all of his disruptive and unruly behavior. On the other hand, Sid shows that he has an innate cynicism, despite his love for church and respectable behavior.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. 8, 229-38. Print.


Group C Mess Post

The privilege vs. chore binary that was introduced by a fellow classmate in a previous binary post is something that can be addressed with by talking about “The Planter’s Son” from The Rose Bud Wreath. In “The Planter’s Son”, Jim, the slave, doesn’t want to do his master’s bidding. He “grumbles” and “affects not to hear” his master’s orders (66). William is furious and goes to harm Jim, but is stopped by his brother. However, in so doing, William actually nearly fatally injures his brother. Jim, seeing all of this, comes up to William and says, ” ‘Nudder time me gwine to fetch to fetch Mass Billy horse’ “(69).  Jim, who is so full of guilt, tells his master that something like this will never happen again.

The binary introduced previously was that chores, as opposed to privileges, are completely unfulfilling and boring. After witnessing a traumatic event, however, Jim doesn’t believe that his chores are unfulfilling or boring. He is racked with so much guilt that his complaints about chores disappear. In that moment, the previously mentioned binary is complicated, because while the chore might still be boring as an obligation, Jim’s guilt from this moment will never cause him to complain about his duties again.

Otherwise, someone might die.

Gilman, Caroline Howard. “The Planter’s Son.” The Rose-Bud Wreath.Charleston .: Published by S. Babcock, 1841. 63-70. Print.

Group D Binary Post: https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/childish/?p=1230


Mess: Little Annie’s Rambles

One binary post that I find compelling is Adult versus Child. A moment in “Little Annie’s Rambles” that messes with this binary is the part where the unknown man describes himself with little Annie.

“One walks in black attire, with a measured step, and a heavy brow, and his thoughtful eyes bent down, while the gay little girl trips lightly along, as if she were forced to keep hold of my hand, lest her feet should dance away from the earth.”

This moment differentiates adulthood and childhood through many clear, physical characteristics: eyes, clothes, color. It also includes the way in which the two carry themselves. The adult wearing black is more cautious than the child. His every step is measured to avoid problems. He walks carefully with a formal and serious expression. The little girl, on the other hand, is happy and enthusiastic. She is curious and filled with wonder as she dances and skips along with the man. She does not have the mark of someone who is older and experienced, but someone who is new and excited.


Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Little Annie’s Ramble.” From Twice-Told Tales , 1837, 1851 By Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864. Eldritch Press, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/annie.html




Messy Little Anne’s Ramble

How the narrator in “Little Annie’s Ramble” describes his ethnographic endeavor says more about himself than it does about the events of the day:

Adult vs. Child ~ Like Peter Pan, our narrator is removed from the features of aging – essentially, beyond his erroneous outward appearance, he still a child. Failing to have matured along side his contemporaries, his interests align closer to what might amuses Little Annie and that which they share symbolizes an inherently both feminine and childish position.


Straight vs. Gay/Masculine vs. Feminine ~ Admitting that “grown ladies” are incapable of captivating his attention also complicates our understanding of this character as someone who experiences a daily repression. The text is a consolidation of the narrator’s keen observations. He’s not shooting ducks or smoking cigars but instead soberly enjoying himself at a circus.


Foreign vs. Familiar ~ However, this is further complicated when the reader realizes that Little Annie and the narrator lack the genetic make-up to qualify their bond. While, it might be discernable for a father, brother, uncle or cousin to entertain the whims of their kin, the narrator’s behavior seems more predatory than benevolent.



  1. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Little Annie’s Ramble.” From Twice-Told Tales , 1837, 1851 By Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864. Eldritch Press, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/annie.html



Group D Mess Post: Rollo and Morality

Interestingly enough, I came across a fellow classmate’s binary post about Abbott’s “Rollo at Play” that addresses the Right vs Wrong binary that used the exact passage I had in mind to use for a mess post. They refer to Jonas’ admonishment of Rollo and James on pages 22 through 24 as clear indications of right and wrong; however, I believe that this is a distinct attempt on Abbott’s part to show a gray area in right and wrong. Specifically, James starts out giving Rollo the option to “let [him] settle it, or [he] will lead [Rollo] home to [his] mother, and tell her about it, and let her settle it” (Abbott 22). Rather than deferring to Rollo’s parents right away as adults are taught to do in times of trouble, he gives Rollo, the young child, the ability to choose what will happen as a result of his actions. There is no direct course of action brought by Rollo’s misconduct; Rollo now gets to choose not what’s right and what’s wrong, but instead what is “better”.

Abbott, Jacob. “Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History.” Rollo at Play, Or, Safe Amusements, Boston. Thomas H. Webb & Co., 1838. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/jacob-abbott-rollo-play-or-safe-amusements-boston-thomas-h-webb-co-1838>.


Mess Post D: Right vs. Wrong

I decided to choose the right and wrong binary. I found the scene where Alice comes across the Duchess and the baby interesting. In this situation right and wrong is more about ethics and whether it is right to keep a baby with its mother even if she is raising it in a dangerous environment. Alice takes away the baby thinking that it is the right thing to do: “‘If I don’t take this child away with me,” thought Alice, “they’re sure to kill it in a day or two: wouldn’t it be murder to leave it behind?’” (Carroll, Page 71).

Alice is actually stealing the baby away assuming that the baby would die in the Duchess’s home. Theft is wrong however you try to explain it even if it is for a good cause. There are alternative solutions.
This situation blurs between what is right and wrong to do. There is a justification for Alice to have not taken away the baby and just went on her own way in the following text:
“Oh, please mind what you’re doing!” cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of terror. “Oh, there goes his precious nose”; as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.
“If everybody minded their own business,” the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, “the world would go round a deal faster than it does.” (Carroll, Page 70).
Alice essentially walks right in and tells the Duchess what to do in her own home. The question that then appears is whether Alice has the right to question the Duchess’s authority in her own home. Who is Alice to tell the Duchess what to do and to take the baby away from the mother? The Duchess’s words tell us situations would be much simpler if people paid attention to what they do. However, I think Alice complicates the situation by taking away the baby and tries to impose her own view.

This text tells us that what we may think is right is not always the case when seen from a different lens. You can see Alice as an outsider who invades the Duchess’s home and steals the baby or Alice as someone who is trying to bring the baby to a safer place. Either way Alice is indeed the third party who involved herself with the Duchess.
Lewis, Carroll. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Gutenburg. 19 May 2009. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.


Mess Post (right vs wrong)

I’ve chosen to mess with the right versus wrong binary as it is compelling to me. It was said that usually in right vs wrong situations that the “right” behavior is usually associated with winning and rewards. In the case of right vs wrong that would indicate that there is a loser. In the situation I am presenting from the Rollo at Play: Into The Woods, there was no winner and loser. Both boys took the high road so I would say they were both winners. On page 29, the boys are discussing the situation with one of the boys missing half dollar.

“James stood still a minute, thinking; presently he said ‘well Rollo, I my half dollar is lost, but I am glad yours is safe, any rate.'”

“I am sorry yours is lost,” said Rollo, “But then I can give you half of what I buy with mine.”


Abbott, Jacobb. “Rollo At Play: Into the Woods.” Lydia Maria Child and the Development of Children’s Literature. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/jacob-abbott-rollo-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


Mess B: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

One binary post that I find compelling from the week before is dreams versus reality. A moment in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” that relates to this binary is when Alice’s older sister starts to dream of Wonderland.

“So she sat on with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland,though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality–the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds- the rattling teacups would change to the tinkling sheep-bells […] and all the other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard–while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.”

This moment addresses the binary, dreams versus reality, from the point of view of someone who longs for a more abstract world, but is highly aware of things as they actually exist. She is stuck between half believing herself in Wonderland, although she knows it will only last for a moment longer in her mind. It is clear from the older sister that dreaming is a gift of childhood that can be given to others by storytelling while reality is dull and much less bright and more orderly than how we want to imagine it.


Carroll, Lewis. The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. New York: C.N. Potter, 1960. Guttenberg.org. 19 May 2009. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.