12/12/15

BB Gun: Child as a Site of Adult Desire

The child’s imagination can be endless – most of us can remember the fantastical thoughts we used to create for ourselves. The adult, knowing what the child’s mind is capable of, has created an unimaginable amount of toys for children to become lost with within their own imagination. There is a toy that appears to be a great source of adult desire in chilren: the air gun, also known as a BB gun.

I think the adult is able to find a hint of happiness by watching the freedom these children have when playing with a BB gun. Maybe they think it would look dangerous if an adult played with them. I think it would look dangerous and suspicious if a 30 year-old were to be running around with a gun that looks very real while pointing it at someone. This gun sparks an imagination ignition in the child’s brain that would make the child believe whatever he’s doing is real, and it is this belief that makes the adult happy. It’s what makes the adult desire be reflected with a child.

 

 

12/12/15

Boys will be Girls….

Throughout the Harry Potter series, we see how Harry, Ron, and Hermione are always together and facing trials with each other.  However, something we don’t see a lot of is the stereotype that “girls group together and gossip”, especially with Hermione.  Throughout “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, unless she is with Ron and Harry, she tends to be studying alone.  In fact, it is the boys that group together and travel in cliques.  Ron, Harry, Neville, Dean, and Seamus share a room and get together outside of the dorms as well.  The same goes for Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle.  They never seem to leave each others’ sides.  They spread gossip and travel around together in cliques, which is usually a female stereotype.

12/11/15

Hope vs. Giving Up

In chapter 31 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Tom and Becky are lost in the underground cave system. The children try to keep their hope of being found but it dwindles the longer they are lost in the cave. Although Tom loses hope on occasion he doesn’t let the hopelessness overcome like Becky does. Becky gives up on being found and in essence on life itself. Tom never gives up. Even though the have no food and it seems likely they won’t be found, Tom keeps looking for a way out of the cave. In chapter 32 we learn that Tom’s refusal to give up is what leads him to find a way out of the gave.

Once the children are returned home the idea of hope vs. giving up is still in the time it takes for them to recover. Tom who didn’t give up on hope recovers from the ordeal within a couple days. However, Becky is still home recovering while Tom is out about the town.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Pink Monkey. Pink Monkey, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015 <http://pinkmonkey.com/dl/library1/tomsawyr.pdf>

12/9/15

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.

 

 

12/9/15

Racial Innocence – “If I Ran the Zoo” by Dr.Seuss

Dr.Seuss is widely known for his racist political cartoons of the Japanese and sometimes Germans (Hitler, nazis, etc..) during World War II. However, many people are oblivious to the racist depictions within his literature for children. For instance, the children’s book “If I Ran the Zoo” is undeniably racist, but the racism is hidden beneath the grand idea of traveling around the world to bring different and rare animals. The concept of gathering animals (sometimes people) from all over the world would make the ideal zoo kids could only dream of. However, in each of these adventures to different countries, Dr.Seuss does not fail to include racist and stereotypical remarks about people living in these countries. The story makes fun of Asians having slanted eyes, jokes about Russian names ending in ‘sky’ or ‘ski’, and depicts Africans as funny looking black monkeys in tutus. The story has so much hidden racism that kids would often ignore or be oblivious to because of the many fabricated animals Dr.Seuss introduces and the nonsensical plot of the story.

“1950 – If I Ran the Zoo – Dr. Seuss.” Scribd. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015. .

12/8/15

Extra Credit: Boys will be girls…

In Rollo at Play,the  “Trouble in the Woods” depicts bad children as liars as if they are the only people that lie. One line in the section reads “Bad boys like Jim will always life when they have something to gain by it.” So it is saying they only lie for personal gain.

In comparison, the book Ella Enchanted touches on little girls and how they should behave. The main character Ella, cried a lot when she was born. Her fairy god mother decided to cast a spell of obediance on her. Her reasoning Ella cried too much and she’d be happier if she’s obediant. She also justified it saying, “little girls are supposed to obey their elders.”

“Forgotten Chapters of Boston’s Literary History.” JACOB ABBOTT, Rollo at Play, Or, Safe Amusements, Boston: Thomas H. Webb & Co., 1838. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

“Ella Enchanted – Chapters 1-3 Summary & Analysis.” BookRags. BookRags, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

12/8/15

Racial Innocence (The Wiz)

With The Wiz recently airing live as a play, it began to stir up some controversy. The question being raised the most was “Why is there an all black cast?” The wiz stems from The Wizard of Oz (1939). The movie features a girl (Dorothy) on a journey to meet the wiz for help after a storm causes her and her dog to be displaced. Along the way she meets characters (scarecrow, lion and tin man) who also seek help from the wiz. During the time this was filmed, African Americans were still fighting for rights. There was no controversy surrounding the making of this movie. It is child friendly with catchy songs for children to sing along to. In 1978, The Wiz was created as an adaptation to the Wizard of Oz capturing the essence of African American experience. It retold the Wizard of Oz in context of African American Culture. It hides that it is relatable for all races. Children aren’t born with black vs white and racist thoughts. It is something learned. The films depict happy groups of friends on a journey.

 

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for FreedomThe Segregation Era (1900–1939).” The Segregation Era (1900–1939). N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

“The Wiz.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

 

12/8/15

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>.

12/7/15

Frog Princess Vs. Frozen: Racial Innocence in Disney Princess Films

“Frozen” took America by storm. It is the highest grossing animated film of all time; Coming in at 1.6 billion dollars in revenue. Children all over the world ate the film up like candy. It was all the things we expect from a Disney princess animation: it was magical, well-written, fun, and it left out African Americans. When I saw “Frozen”, I couldn’t help but think “Where are all the black people.” African American characters only, barely, appeared in the background, hidden in crowds of people. But, it isn’t the lack of black faces in the film that tells us something about Disney’s racist agenda. It is the presence of black people in specific, racially driven roles that help us think about the role that Disney feels they play in real life.

A good place to look at this would be “The Princess and the Frog”, which is Disney’s first, and only, attempt of including an African American heroine in their princess franchise. The movie is set in 1912 Louisiana, a few decades after the Civil War. The story doesn’t start until our heroine, Tiana, gets a gig catering an event held by her mother’s former employer, Eli, who is white. In return for her services, he agrees to pay Tiana enough money to buy a sugar mill to open her dream restaurant. The idea that an African American woman in 1912 becomes able to open her own business through the donation of a white man is a fantasy itself. But, due to a course of events including voodoo, a risky gamble, and a kiss, Tiana becomes a frog and stays in her frog form for a majority of the film. What the most fantastical about the film is that Tiana’s best friend is Eli’s entitled daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte is the total opposite of Tiana in every way. She grew up knowing that Tiana was below her; and even through all their degrees of separation, Tiana and Charlotte remain close. In fact, she is Tiana’s only human friend. The only other friends Tiana has are the animals in the bayou. Disney chose only the things they liked about black culture to include in the film: their history of servitude, southern jargon, and jazz but glossed over real racial issues that existed  during that time. Then, they slapped on dark skin on a character with mainly European features, turned her into a frog, and called it a magical story. Ironically, the only real magic used in the story is dark magic, voodoo.

With all that in mind, it is still important to think about the main differences between “Frozen”and “The Princess and the Frog”. Why did the latter gross only a fraction of the revenue than the former? The answer could be that Tiana isn’t really a Disney princess. Yes, by law, because of her marriage to Prince Naveen, she is legally a princess. But, her happy ending, which every Disney princess is entitled to, included a new husband and her going back home to her restaurant that she outright purchased in the first place. Her curse was not broken by love, or magical trolls, but by a legal ceremony. Tiana had to work for her “happy ending”, she did not come across it by luck. In the end, there is no grand palace to call home, her royal title means almost nothing, and all she has secured for herself is a place she has to work at for the rest of her life. She did not end up in a magical land, an enchanted forest, or any of the places we usually see princess films take place, but back in segregated America. All I can see is Disney’s racially driven goal, to keep young black girls  feeling as though they should be content in their lives with a job and a husband. To them, there are no real magical possibilities for African Americans.  Although, many believe that The Princess and the Frog was a major stride for the Disney princess franchise, it is simply a frog dressed in gowns.