“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>


Racial Innocence in Oompa Loompas

In the original 1964 publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, the Oompa Loompas are not Oompa Loompas at all, but instead they are described as a tribe of three thousand ‘regular’ African Pygmies that were imported by Wonka from “the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before.” They come to replace the tired white workers because they were willing to work for Charlie in exchange for free chocolate (since they had only eaten beetles and barks of the bong-bong tree). The original illustrations depict a group of black guys, barely clothed, laughing hysterically; and the change is only made in 1973, when the publisher Knopf insists on changes. The new editions changed the tireless and loyal servants of Wonka into small looking hippies with ‘golden hair and rosy-white skin,’ then later to multicolored futuristic punks.



A large part of inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was based on actual events involving real chocolate companies. Dahl knew what was actually happening— cacao plantation workers in Ivory Coast (World’s biggest producer of chocolate) were practically enslaved African children. However, he was able to utilize Racial Innocence to mask the truly cruel reality. Because he took something everyone loved— delicious chocolate— and made a fantasy out of it, readers overlooked the severely racist implications that came with the famed Children’s Book.


“The 6 Most Secretly Racist Classic Children’s Books.”Cracked.com. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.

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.



Baruch Evaluation

At the end of the last class, there will be time for you to take the official Baruch College survey for this course (if you haven’t already done so).   You can find the evaluation either by following the directions in the email sent to you about doing course evaluations OR you can go the following link:


To sign in use the same log in and password information, which you used to log onto computers, wifi, and blogs@baruch.

For extra credit, you must show the screen shot indicating you have completed the evaluation to the professor.


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/>


Angelica and Julia

“The Little Glutton” in Flowers for Children by Lydia Maria Child depicts a story about Laura, a girl that eats so much, her head starts to ache. She then gets annoyed when her brother comes and pulls on her curls, but she wouldn’t if she didn’t eat so much. The story tells that her kitten, her canary birds, the bees, and the squirrels are more wise than her because they eat enough to stay alive, and productive instead of eating more than they need like she does. The story ends with comparisons like: “I had rather be a bird, even if they shut me up in a cage, than to be a glutton,” to highlight the severity of Laura’s eating problem.

This story reminded me a lot about the character Violet in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Violet is one of the golden ticket winners, but also holds the record for chewing the same piece of gum for the longest time in the world. She is a very competitive girl in nature, so when she gets to the factory, she always tries to get everything first. She gets overly excited about a gum that Charlie has been tinkering with that tastes like tomato soup at first, then roast beef, and finally, blueberry pie and ice cream. All the while, Charlie is telling her to spit it out, but Violet insists, and finally she starts to swell up while simultaneously turning purple. She eventually has to be rolled out into the juicing room to get squeezed before blowing up, and then has to leave the factory.


LYDIA MARIA CHILD, “The Little Glutton,” in Flowers for Children, II, New York: C.S. Francis, 1844 (Pages 112-114) http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/lydia-maria-child-%E2%80%9C-new-england-boy%E2%80%99s-song-about-thanksgiving-day%E2%80%9D-flowers-children-ii

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Warner Bros, 2005. Film.


Racial Innocence

Chocolate Me!” is a book about a young boy who looks differents from the other young boys in his neighborhood. His skin is darker and his hair is more poofy. He is teased by the other children and is brought to tears because he wants to fit in. He feels different from everyone else. His mother tries to console him by telling him his skin is, “velvet fudge frosting mixed in a bowl” to which he responds, “Chocolate Me!” It puts a spin on bullying and turns it into self love and acceptance. This book also shows how children tend to make fun of those that look different or are different. Many people who are not children struggle with being different or looking different from others.



How 6 to 8 Black “Helpers” become Reindeers

On Ruining Christmas: Whitesplaining and Racism and Why I can’t celebrate anymore fake holidays

When Aisha Harris’ demands that our image of Santa be more appropriate and inclusive, she suggests we make find a penguin to represent the historically gift giving figure. I’ve heard a derivative of this argument before: through video games, researchers found that, humans relate more to non-human representations of ourselves (i.e. zombies and, by extension, other mutated forms of living things). For me, this resonates with the story behind Saint Nick in the Netherlands. In Six To Eight Black Men which sounds like David Sedaris in stand up, the author fails to recognize the evolution of Santa’s elves. Violent black bodies that perform at the behest of a weakly white man…sounds really racist and a lot like the literary byproduct of the stereotypes reinforced through colonialism. The story becomes more amiable in the 1950s when the relationship turns into a “friendship”: removing it from its original master-slave dynamic.

Sedaris, David. “Six to Eight Black Men”. St. Nicholas Center. Web. 12 December http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/sedaris/