How To Read “Teddy Bear” By A.A. Milne

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.

Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,

Which is not to be wondered at;

He gets what exercise he can

By falling off the ottoman,

But generally seems to lack

The energy to clamber back.”
What the reader is asked to know:
About Life
·         What is the significance of a teddy bear
·         The difference between what it means to be “stout” and “slim”
About Language
·         To recognize the importance of repetition and rhyme schemes
·         The playfulness of dialogue
o   For example: “Well, well!”  “Tut-tut!”
About Literature
·         The use of personification and rhetorical questions
·         The underlying theme of the poem regarding self-esteem and body image
What the reader is asked to do:
·         Enjoy the rhythm and rhyme of the poem
·         Understand the deeper meaning that the poem holds
Who is the Implied Reader?
                Although the rhymes and silliness of the poem make it clearly intended for children, there is no doubt the adults can also find the deeper meaning. As a society, there are expectations and principles that can affect our own self-worth. Even though this particular poem was published in 1924, it can still be relevant for many older people today. Lack of self-esteem due to physical appearance is an issue that children learn quickly and adults struggle with.


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