Singapore’s Scoot Latest Airline to Offer Child-Free Flying Zone

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I read this article, and seeing the separation from child and adults literally, it’s actually ridiculous. There are “good reasons, and bad reasons” to separate them, but it’s ridiculous whichever way the airline and reporters try to sell it. And some of the comments are shocking too: “Parents feel discriminated against, but what about those who CHOOSE not to reproduce? Why should we have to deal with others’ children?” Children aren’t always a nuisance, there needs to be this changing of the way people think: They’re people with needs, when their needs aren’t met, they’ll try to communicate that. If people are really annoyed with children, or an airline goes so far as to make an “adult only” section of a plane, we’re separating people based on whether they’re children, or adults, or adults with children, and segregation breeds intolerance. I’m against this- but read the whole thing, then decide for yourself what you think.

NewsFeed

Wish your air travel came with a little less crying and kicking? Scoot Airlines is looking to make certain adults’ dream come true.

The Singaporean budget carrier is now offering a child-free zone, dubbed the “ScootinSilence” area, in which kids under 12 will not be allowed to sit. While the silence zone only lasts for five rows,  numbers 21 to 25, it should provide some assurance to travelers who bristle at the prospect of being seated directly behind, in front of, or, worst of all, next to a noisy child.

(MORE: Airline Replaces Built-in Entertainment Systems with iPads)

Not surprisingly, mile-high peace and quiet isn’t free of charge. Scoot is providing the ScootinSilence area as a $14 upgrade, so you’ll have to have to ask yourself whether a one time no-baby guarantee is worth the price of a pre-flight meal, or simply a reusable pair of earplugs.

Scoot is just…

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Blog Award Nomination?!

I logged on this morning to find the bright orange thing lit up. I had a comment! Oh boy! And then I read that comment, and well, someone nominated me for an award. Thank you Cara! I’m a bit surprised, I mean I’m not doing this for awards or publicity or anything; my general rule that I’m sure I’ve already told half the blogging community by now is: Write if you want to. Write if you have something to say. Write what you want to. The best way to think of it is like this: If you were to lose all your followers tomorrow- would you still continue your blog? If the answer is no; I suggest you stop and re-evaluate why you started blogging in the first place.

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Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.

3. Share 7 things about yourself.

4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.

5. Include this set of rules.

6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.

7 things About Myself That you won’t find in any of my other posts written yet or on my “So who are you and what is this?” page.
  1. I’m a dancer. I’ve been dancing since I was 12, but I stopped to focus on university. My favourite styles of dance are Musical Theatre, Tap, and Modern; but I would have loved to try lyrical or ballet if I had the patience to deal with barre work.
  2. The library is like my second home. I’ve always told my parents if they had to lose me like parents sometimes accidentally lose their kids for a minute in the supermarket, to please lose me in a library or a bookstore.
  3. On that note, I’m currently wanting to be a librarian. I’ve wanted to be a lot of things over the years, actress, audiologist, writer, editor, and now librarian. It seems possible- maybe.
  4. I’ve been to a lot of places. When I was 12 I spent a year and a half in England. The best thing was that we got to visit a lot of other places in Europe. Paris and Normandy (in France), Venice and Rome (in Italy), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Corfu (Croatia), Mykonos and Athens (Greece), Edinburgh (Scotland) (And that’s just all the European places)
  5. I’m considering maybe going to get a teaching degree, maybe it would be fun to be a teacher- but then I just remember all those presentations I’ve given over the years, remembered how scary they were; put myself into the perspective of a teacher- who has to do that every single day! And remind myself that others would be better at it than I ever would. I’m terrible at explaining stuff.
  6. I really want to make a difference in the world; more than anything-I get into really dark places sometimes, and I just think to myself- why not spend my life helping others instead of just grumbling about me- then maybe it would have some purpose. I’m considering joining the Peace Corps for a year or something of that sort.
  7. I ask way too many questions. This whole blog started from a question. Unfortunately, the questions I ask usually don’t have answers. That bugs me, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t answers; it just means that I have to try to find an answer myself! In other words, I think too much, am too into school, and should just learn to “relax?” once in a while.

So that’s me, I guess. It’s a bit strange to make a list of things about myself… I’m not sure if you can get a whole sense of a person just from their writing a list. I’m going off on a tangent again as usual.

Nominees

Now this is difficult. I follow many blogs, but they’re all so different; and I just have to think about how I can possibly just list a few when they are all so different from each other. Here are some that get my vote though.

  1. Children’s books heal: This is an amazing blog about children’s books and how they can help kids deal with disabilities, trauma, parents in the army, etc. They pick a book, give a synopsis of the book and comment on it. It’s great to see and read this blog and realize that kids books can help others.
  2. RebelGrrls: A blog that explores disability in popular culture and representations of gender. Really interesting to read all their posts about Disney- but they also write about stuff like Big Bang Theory and “more adult” stuff.
  3. Brandon Robshaw and the English Language: this blog is amazing. This blogger talks about certain words, why those specific words are used, if language can be gendered and so on. Highly informative and great to read.
  4. The Grimm Report-Not exactly academic, but still entertaining. I am a huge fan of this blog. It takes fairy tales and creates satirical news reports about the events or characters featured in them.
  5. Young People’s Pavilion: Another site with great insight. (See what I did there? Yeah, I’m the next Dr. Seuss!) It talks about creative writing, gives reviews of children’s books and great summaries.
  6. Hannah Meiklejohn: She writes amazing book reviews, and I love her posts on children’s illustrations. There’s a lot of great stuff and variety- if you’re looking at children’s books that is.
  7. JUMP FOR JOY! Photo project: Another non-academic blog, but I just appreciate so much how this person is trying to find positivity in this world through this project that I had to nominate them.
  8. CanadianWry: A person blogging on her sabbatical: switching cultures from Britain to Canada. It’s nice to know that others can see that there are differences between countries that are supposedly alike. Even if the same language is spoken; it’s not the same place, and I love all the information given from a tourists view about my hometown. Really inspires me to look at it in a new way.
  9. Tolerantpeople: Great blog about-what else(?) Accepting others. Sophist six speaks about Race profiling, age discrimination, stereotyping, and so on. Looking from this blogger’s point of view is just very interesting to read about.

The Cult of the Child: A Modern Look

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I’ve been throwing this term around in my posts a LOT and I’ve just realized: If you don’t understand the concept how are you going to make a choice to accept or reject it? Let me show you a picture, a screenshot I took on Tuesday, July 2 2013.

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 9.21.19 AM

Beverly Lyon Clark explains it in Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children’s Literature in America by using examples: “We value childhood. But we also dismiss it. We value the image even as we ignore the reality. We love the Gerber babies, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Michelin-tire kids, to whom we can condescend, preferably in falsetto. Advertisers foreground images of babies even when their product has little to do with children (automobile tires? interior painting? nursing homes?) Every package of toilet paper in my local supermarket features the head of an adorable baby.” (Clark, 1) To follow the example, I’d like to bring in an explanation: We use these images because they have what I like to call the “Aw” factor. It’s cute; something that just seems so sickeningly sweet- to see a baby in a commercial- it’s one of the ways to appeal to emotions and sell that automobile tire/interior painting/nursing home product. However, trying to associate babies with objects dehumanizes children themselves. Trying to associate the “Aw” Factor with objects, and forgetting about children as people is incredibly unfair.

At the same time we worship children by objectifying them; we dehumanize them as well. This fact makes it easier to deal with child actors, cases of child abuse, and segregating children’s lives from that of adults. If they are a “thing” or a “product” they’re meant to be used- that’s what objects were put on this earth for, right? They’re created to be of use to the community or the individual.

I think this describes it perfectly. In this scene there has just been a court case over what the mother is entitled to in the circumstance of divorce and adultery. She then goes on to ask for sole custody of the kids. Even though he’s a “wonderful father” she wants to “hit him where it hurts”. She doesn’t really care about the kids, but she gets more money in child support payments if she gets custody. The man who goes up to the lawyer after the case even says that the children are “leverage”-meant to be used, bargained, and have a value placed upon them.

We put a price tag on objects, not people. Throughout history we’ve done just the opposite: put price tags on people, not objects. Just thinking about how much a life is worth sends shivers down my spine. It makes me feel sick. It’s easier to dehumanize those that don’t have a voice in society. What’s important about children’s literature is the attempt it makes to re-humanize that which has been dehumanized. The field of English studies is very much about literature, but also about social justice. The cult of the child is not an English term used in books, like irony and allusion; or periods of literature like the Romantic period: It is about the way that children have been viewed, and it is still important to think about the way that this mentality shapes literature, movies, the news, education, and so on. We should always ask Why– even if we don’t get an answer- asking is the first step to changing this warped view.

Author’s Note: I may be posting biweekly instead of weekly for the rest of the summer- don’t worry, I’m still alive, thinking, and (as always) asking “Why”

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WORKS CITED

IMAGES: (In order of appearance, everything else in alphabetical order)

  1. It’s mine.

BOOKS

  1. Clark, Beverly Lyon. Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children’s Literature in America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2005. Print.

CLIPS:

  1. Liar, Liar. “I hold myself in contempt!”[HD] Prod. WhosAbigBoy95 Youtube. February 18 2013, Web. July 18, 2013

You Gotta Learn to Fly Sometime-An Introduction

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I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom to look at the birds in the nest outside. I noticed that they were struggling, and I called my grandmother over. “Granny, why are they acting funny?” I asked. “She’s kicking them out of the nest, She’s trying to teach them how to fly.” Anyway, they’ve been struggling the past few hours: They don’t want to get out. They have had a lot of false starts, don’t get me wrong: they are trying out their wings, but Huey, Dewey, and Louie haven’t left the comfort of their home yet.

Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Huey, Dewey and Louie. Their mother (I named her Maisie) is trying to push them out of the nest. They’re being stubborn at the moment, but they have to learn to fly sometime.

Anyway, I’ve been watching them from my bathroom (I have to climb up on the ledge to see out the window… I really wish I was taller.) and Maisie’s been coming in and out- and Huey, Dewey and Louie have been squawking.

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Maisie came back. After she saw that trying to force them out wasn’t going to work, she decided to go out and give them another meal.

I couldn’t help connecting this to young adulthood and adolescence. Parents are an important part of this stage- like Maisie, they need to support the young, but also try to make them more independent. They may rebel- there is always rebellion in young adult books- tearing themselves away from the parents or doing something that goes against what they’ve been taught; but ultimately they mature and the main thing about this- young adult novels and the birds nest outside; they need to learn to do things on their own and figure things out for themselves. They gotta learn how to fly sometime, but they will fly when they’re ready.

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WORKS CITED

IMAGES:

  1. Both are mine.

Because this is an introduction to a series of posts- and I often start my introductions just musing, there are no other sources.

Why sex is NOT wrong

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Couldn’t have said this better myself. It’s a combination of the ideas that we have wrapped up with children and morality etc. For a long time sex has been seen as something to be ashamed of; there’s an article called “The History of Sexuality” which might be of interest by Michael Foucault… Which I don’t have right now because I’m at my cottage this summer and although I did bring my anthologies I didn’t bring my coursepacks- Dang it. There are some subjects that are seen as “too mature” or “too personal” for children to learn about- this can lead to shame and there’s an incredible stigma about teenage pregnancy and still an embarrassment in talking about this in schools. I think young adult books try to address the concerns, but they’re graphic and glamorize sex- we swing from one extreme to the other- it’s perverse, or glamorous. It’s not discussed openly, to the point where books are a substitute for teaching about it rather than having conversations. It’s a taboo topic, partially because of the way it’s been seen and taught and talked about and it needs to change.

Cloud Nine Confessions

After reading a number of blog posts by well-educated and popular bloggers I have found an almost overwhelming number of posts with twisted views about sex and the teaching of sex education in schools. Now I won’t be the first to admit that I have often been disgusted by open conversations about sex and sometimes going as far to comment that the particular person is ‘vulgar’ or ‘vile’ but over time as I have become wiser and more informed about sex I have begun to realise that discussing sex openly is actually really important and completely necessary. Sex education in schools may be seen as ‘a step forward’ and ‘incredibly informative’ but the reality is that teachers do not need to gain any sort of qualification or training in order to teach sex education, a teacher would not be employed to teach a subject if they didn’t have a particular degree  in that field. So…

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Well That Escalated Quickly-Poetry

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Rossetti was interested in figures locked in e...

Rossetti was interested in figures locked in embrace; cf. the embracing figures at the bottom of the Mystical Nativity (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The figures in the little cloud at the top left are the goblins, and Lizzie and Laura are sleeping in bed.

I thought after that reblog connecting fairy tales to slave narratives, I’d like to take a look at some other stories- those that were once children’s literature and are no longer, and those that are and were never meant to be. Or those that could be both.

First of all, a quick thing on poetry. Yeah, yeah, Poetry’s not my favourite thing either- but knowing rhythm really helps. Basically, a little crash course in scansion could help. “When in doubt, Clap it out!” is my motto when dealing with scansion.

if MU/sic BE/ the FOOD /of LOVE/ play ON

Unstressed stressed-iambic, good old Shakespeare- Twelfth Night first line of the first scene. Clap it out, and it sounds like a song! It’s a pattern, a rhythm- it’s a meter! It’s *gasp!* SCANSION?  Basic understanding (I highly encourage you to look here) would work well for you if reading this post; since I’m going to be talking about poetry and the sound and sense.

“Cinderella and the prince/ lived, they say, happily ever after,/like two dolls in a museum case/ never bothered by diapers or dust/ never arguing over the timing of an egg/ never telling the same story twice/ never getting a middle aged spread/ their darling smiles pasted on for eternity/ Regular Bobbsey Twins/ That Story.” This quote is taken from Cinderella– not the story by the Grimm Brothers, or the usual fairy tale versions of the story. This is from a collection of poems by Anne Sexton. This collection takes several fairy tales and reworks them through poetry. It sounds quite nice:

CINder|elLA |and the| PRINCE
LIVED, they| SAY, HAPP|ily| EVer AFTer,
like TWO |DOLLS in |a MU|SEum |CASE
NEver |BOTHered| BY dia|PERS or |DUST,
NEver |ARgu|ing OV|er the |TIMing |of an |EGG,
NEver |TELLing |the SAME| STORy| TWICE,
NEver |GETTing |a mid|dle-aged |spread,
their DARL|ing SMILES |PASTed| ON for| eTERN|ITy.
Regu|lar BOBB|sey Twins.
THAT STOR|y.

Wrong. They’re not happy. The smiles are “pasted on”. I think she’s unable to have a baby. “Never bothered by diapers or dust/ Never arguing over the timing of an egg/ Never telling the same story twice.” The poem is written in trochaic meter-it’s fun, and sounds childish.

Or how about this excerpt from Briar Rose also by Sexton, if you are unsure of where to place the poems she writes in the domain of children’s literature or adult.

IN due| TIME
a HUN|dred years |PASSED
AND a |PRINCE got |THROUGH.
The BRI|ars PART|ed as| IF for |MOses
and the| PRINCE FOUND| the ta|BLEAU in|TACT.
He KISSED|BRIar| ROSE
and SHE |woke UP |CRYing:
DADdy!| DADdy!
Presto!| SHE’S out| of PRI|son!
She MARR|ied the |PRINCE
and ALL |went WELL
exCEPT| for the |FEAR –
the FEAR| of SLEEP.

Innocent enough- the prince comes and awakens Briar Rose. She’s out of prison- out of her castle and the sleep that she was cursed with. However, read the next part I’ve written out: it tells a different story- Wait- why does she call for Daddy? Is it an innocent girl wanting her father after being woken up by a stranger and being scared? Maybe wants something familiar? Let’s look further.

THERE was| a THEFT.
That MUCH|I am |TOLD.
I WAS |aBAN|doned.
That MUCH| i KNOW.
I WAS |forced BACK|ward.
I WAS| forced FOR|ward.
I WAS |passed HAND |to HAND
like a |BOWL of |FRUIT.
Each NIGHT| I am| NAILED IN|to PLACE
and for|GET WHO |i AM.
DADdy?|
That’s a|NOTHer| KIND of |PRIson.
It’s NOT |the PRINCE |at ALL,
BUT my |FAther
DRUNKen|ingly| BENDS OV|er my |BED,
CIRCLing| the a|BYSS like| a SHARK,
my FA|ther THICK |uPON| me
like SOME |SLEEPing |jelly|FISH.
What VOY|age is |THIS, LIT|tle GIRL?
this COM|ing OUT |of PRI|son?
GOD HELP| –
this LIFE| AFTer |DEATH?

Prison now refers not to the castle of Briar Rose and the curse put upon her by the fairy, but it refers to night time. Instead of a princess being trapped into a spell where she has to sleep for a hundred years, it is a girl experiencing her father being in her bed. The rhythm of the poem- as a light, rhythmic almost sing-songy poem has not changed, but the words have. The sound and the sense do not match up. The sound is innocent, the sense is not. This fairy-tale is shattered by the clarification that there is something awful going on. Innocent stories can have horrible things in them- It simultaneously shows innocence and experience.

William Blake's frontispiece for Songs of Inno...

William Blake’s frontispiece for Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The title says it is “Showing the two contrary states of the human soul. They coexist together. It shouldn’t be separated- It can’t be separated- you need to have them both to gain an understanding of what “innocence” or “experience” mean.

William Blake has two versions of the same poem. The Chimney Sweeper- songs of innocence is focalized through the eyes of a child. The poem largely consists of these stanzas:

And SO he| was QUIet; |and THAT VE|ry NIGHT,
As TOM was| a-SLEEPing, |he HAD such |a SIGHT, –
That THOUSands |of SWEEPers, |Dick, JOE, Ned, |and JACK,
Were ALL of |them LOCKED up |in COFfins| of BLACK.

And BY came |an ANgel |who HAD a |bright KEY,
And he O|pened the COF|fins and SET| them all FREE;
Then DOWN a |green plain LEAP|ing, LAUGHing, |they RUN,
And WASH in |a RIver, |and SHINE in |the SUN.

Then NAked |and WHITE, all |their bags LEFT |beHIND,
They RISE u|PON clouds and| SPORT in the| WIND;
And the AN|gel told TOM,| if he’d BE| a good BOY,
He’d have GOD| for his FA|ther, and NE|ver want JOY.

This is written in anapestic meter. 1-1-2, 1-1-2,1-1-2, 1-2. Very much like an engine of a train. The subject matter is rather serious: it speaks of death, but in a way which is very idyllic. The imagery produced is heavily influenced by the voice of the poem: it does not speak of dying; it almost seems like a joyful event: The coffins set them free- death was an escape from a hard life. There is both innocence and experience in the poem.

In his Songs of Experience poem it is told from the perspective of an adult watching the chimney sweeper. He merely wonders about the boy’s future and his life and questions him- he can’t make judgements about his life because the narrator does not live the life the chimney sweeper does- the child does answer him though:

“BeCAUSE I |was HAppy |uPON the |HEATH,
AND SMILED |aMONG| the WIN|ter’s SNOW,
They CLOTHED |me IN |the CLOTHES| of DEATH,
And TAUGHT me| to SING the| NOTES of WOE.

The lines alternate between anapestic and trochaic meter. The change is also a change of tone, it changes from happy to bleak as the narrator explains that “They clothed /me in /the clothes/ of death/And taught me/ to sing the/ notes of woe.” Rather than making sure that the child was clothed- he was clothed in death. and singing which is meant to be seen as innocent- is no longer so because it is sad. The child grew up too fast. Both the poems protest the conditions of the child labour. They show how work causes not an income for the family which they need- but the harsh struggles of working conditions for children in the Victorian Era. These were not simply “songs” or they were- but they were songs of protest. 

Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti is also a poem with a great rhythm to it. The illustration at the top of the post is by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a member of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood and Christina Rossetti’s brother.

LAUra |REAR’D her |GLOSSy |HEAD,
and WHIS|per’d LIKE| the REST|less BROOK:
“Look, LIZ|zie, look, |LIZzie,
DOWN the |GLEN tramp| LITtle |MEN.
One HAULS| a BAS|ket,
One BEARS| a PLATE,
One LUGS |a GOL|den DISH
Of MAN|y POUNDS |WEIGHT.
How FAIR| the VINE |must GROW
Whose GRAPES |are so |LUSCIOUS;
How WARM|the WIND |must BLOW
THROUGH THOSE| FRUIT BUSH|es.”

The rhythm changes from trochaic to iambic when the goblins are around- and it switches to trochaic when speaking of the girls. That usually means there is a change in either mood or tone. The goblins are obviously threatening why else would Christina Rossetti include this in the first stanza of the poem?:

“LIE CLOSE,”| LAUra |said,
PRICKing |UP her |GOLDen |HEAD:
“we MUST| not LOOK |at GOB|lin MEN,
we MUST| not BUY |their FRUITS:
who KNOWS |uPON |what SOIL |they FED
their HUN|gry THIRS|ty ROOTS?”

Maybe this is the reason why “In the Victorian period a poem… like Goblin Market would have been marketed as a cross-audience poem. It’s one of the works which is said to defy criticism. Is it a fable or a mere fairy story? Or an allegory against the pleasures of sinful love…? So the fact is that they didn’t know it was a sexual poem, and some critics have said it’s not true. Of course they knew it was a sexual poem…. So the idea was that children just [repress] that… That attitude has influenced how Goblin Market has been marketed and read, which is; by the time you get to the twentieth century it’s no longer a poem…for an adult audience. It’s a poem for a child… When criticism starts to change it’s then co-opted as a highly sexual poem.” (Humphreys, lecture) There was a belief that just taken at face value it was a poem for children. Nobody could see how to critically analyze it- there are symbols there however- the fruit have an allusion to sexuality. Even the goblins themselves- why can they not be looked at? And they’re not humans- they are goblins. They are not drawn as people, but monsters. It reminded me of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

I just had to say that the little cloud and what was inside it reminded me so much of this picture in Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak.

Originally, Christina Rossetti wrote Goblin Market for “a large group of illiterate women who were put in Highgate Penitentiary.” (Humphreys, lecture) How did a poem for women turn into one for children?  “It’s marketed at illiterate girls who… turned to prostitution… And there wasn’t a lot of options for women in the 1860’s… Particularly illiterate women. So the idea was to entice these women to learn to read, to become more like middle-class women who could then become marriage material.” (Humphreys, lecture) Illiteracy was something that affected lower-class people in the Victorian period. They didn’t have mandatory schooling, and children usually had to work to help support their families. “Because this audience was largely illiterate the poem had to be repetitive and so the fairy tale themes would appeal. Because the nursery rhymes were very popular but also it was meant to be read to people who can’t read. It encourages rhythm. This is a teaching tool- this is a parable.” (Humphreys, lecture) The population was largely illiterate, both children and adults; so the poem could benefit everybody learning to read.

Symbolism may be present with the way that Lizzie “sucks their fruit til they were dry” but the way that the poem is read makes it easier to dismiss the words. Because of the contradictions of the sound and the sense, people usually need to choose one over the other: and reading it out loud, the sound usually takes over.

Here’s another one of Sexton’s poems; absolutely amazing: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I found it on youtube, so instead of showing you the sound, I’m going to let you hear it for yourselves.

I actually wrote an essay on it two years ago, so if it’s not pretentious, I’m going to share some of it here! In my essay, I wrote about scansion and I also wrote that “The poem is written in a very innocent way, and at first glance it sounds like a simple retelling of the classic Grimm brothers’ Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. However, in between the lines, it is clear that this poem is not for children. From the first line, when it is claimed that “the virgin is a lovely number,” Sexton suggests that it is merely an act, and that Snow White closes her eyes, “O/pen and /shut,|| open /to say /Good day Mama/ and shut/ for the /thrust of/ the uni/corn.” By these lines, Sexton mocks the typical heroine, as they feel that if they do not see something happening, or pretend that they do not see something happening, the heroine can claim that they had no awareness of it.

One common repeated line in the poem is “And she /woke up /mira/culous/ly” This is written in trochaic meter, it depends on rhythm and is very memorable. In this poem the word “miraculous” has a sarcastic tone to it, showing that Snow White was forced into the role of a helpless virgin, and had no choice in the matter as to whether she woke or not. One interpretation I have is that Snow White did not want to wake up. “The dwarfs, those little hot dogs walked three times around Snow White, the sleeping virgin. They were wise and wattled like small czars. Yes. It’s a good omen, they said, and will bring us luck. They stood on tiptoes to watch Snow White wake up.”  The word “good” is unstressed, as the dwarfs, referred to as “little hot dogs” have an entirely different meaning of good because of the way the sound and sense of the poem are not connected. The dwarfs are shown not as friends of Snow White, but as dominating figures, who only want someone to “stay and keep house.”  Read as a fairy tale, this would be just seen as the typical trade-off, Snow White is offered protection, but she has to offer to help around the house, but the context of the poem is that she is trapped.” (Power, Previous essay) (Seriously, I had no idea I’d be doing something like this two years from now and thinking about it even more- but I did.)

These authors use conventions both from adult genres of literature and children’s literature. The content can be both incredibly mature and childish at the same time. If books can do that- can’t people be that fluid too?

Next: Well, that escalated quickly-Prose- I talk about Louisa May Alcott, Robinson Crusoe, and the Wizard of Oz and the guy who completely adulti-fied the story.

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WORKS CITED

IMAGES: (In order of appearance)

  1. http://commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rossetti-golden_head.jpg
  2. http://www.blogcdn.com/blog.moviefone.com/media/2009/08/where-the-wild-things-are1.jpg

CLIPS:

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Anne Sexton| Prod. AntiqueThings Youtube.April 16 2011, Web. July 2, 2013 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7LkuGOi63I

LINKS:

  1. Blake, William. “Songs of Innocence- The Chimney Sweeper.” Online Literature. The Literature Network, n.d. Web. 04 July 2013.
  2. Blake, William. “The Chimney Sweeper” Online Literature. The Literature Network, n.d. Web. 04 July 2013.
  3. Conrey, Sean M. “Ear Training: Sound & Meter.” Purdue OWL: Pattern and Variation: Aural. OWL Purdue, 25 Apr. 2010. Web. 02 July 2013. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/570/01/.
  4. Marlovian. “The Bedlam of the Witch Queen.” Web log post. The Old Marlovian. WordPress, 11 May 2013. Web. 9 July 2013.
  5. Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” By Christina Rossetti : The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 July. 2013.<http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174262/.
  6. Sexton, Anne. “Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty).” PoemHunter.com. N.p., 27 June 2006. Web. 2 July 2013. <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/briar-rose-sleeping-beauty/.
  7. Sexton, Anne. “Cinderella.” PoemHunter.com. N.p., 11 July 2006. Web. 2 July 2013. <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/cinderella-10/.

OTHER:

  1. Humphreys, Sara. Class Lecture. Gender and Sexuality. Trent University. Oshawa. Ontario. January 31, 2013. “Girls, goblins, and markets.”
  2. Power, Jennifer. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” Unpublished essay. December 2, 2011.

What Sesame Street Taught Us

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I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m moving from books to T.V (just for this post). First of all: has anybody ever answered the people who keep asking “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” and given them correct directions?

Sesame Street

Sesame Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sesame Street has been around since 1969, so it’s only natural that it has made some impact in the lives of at least a few people.

Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I used to have a Tickle me Elmo. It would vibrate when you touched his stomach and it would go “hehehehe hehehehe that tickles!”

It’s taught us how to count.  It taught us that cookies are good and that it starts with the letter C. I’ll never forget Ernie and Bert, the two guys living in the same house, doing everything together. No, they weren’t gay (although that probably would be something Sesame Street would do, in the 1970’s, when everyone was still very much prejudiced against the LGBTQ community even to have Bert and Ernie living together was a problem); they were homosocial despite the backlash they received and the stigma that came along with it. Even though Ernie annoyed Bert, they were still friends. Friendship is about appreciation; and being glad to be with the other person. (Even if their jokes don’t make sense.)

We are reminded that Sesame Street is a show- and that like most shows it is on to make money. There are books and toys marketed featuring certain Sesame Street characters: and Elmo even got his own spin off show called Elmo’s World.

My mother says that she remembers Snuffleupagus being a character that only Big Bird could see. She said that it used to make her mad, she would shout at the T.V “He’s RIGHT THERE!” when  nobody else would acknowledge him on the screen but Big Bird and herself. They’ve changed it since then; everyone can see him-but I think making him “imaginary” helped kids to see that imagination can seem like reality. It can be really helpful at times to use our imagination, and don’t be afraid to use it simply because people say it’s “not real” because the imagination is where some of the best ideas come from to solve problems.

In 1982, one of the actors on Sesame Street died. Instead of pushing the dirt under the rug and giving no explanation for the arrival of a replacement, Sesame Street did an extraordinary thing. They made an episode about Big Bird finding out about the death of the character and had the human characters explain it to him. Aired on Thanksgiving in 1983 so that adults and children could discuss the topic afterwards, it didn’t dumb down the content or try to ignore it. Death happens, and it needs to be recognized as a natural thing. It’s sad and unexpected sometimes, but it’s okay to be confused and sad, and miss the person.

Recently, Sesame Street has added another interesting twist to their show. Sesame Street does introduce controversial topics, but also firmly shows us that just because things may be controversial to talk about doesn’t make it bad. Being open is the best thing to do with tough topics like death, and incarceration. Sesame Street has always been about community, and I think that it’s been around for a long time because it’s one of the few shows that creates an inclusive environment and isn’t afraid to admit that children don’t live in a plastic bubble and are affected when things happen in a community.

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WORKS CITED:

IMAGES (in order of appearance)

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sesame_Street_logo.svg
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cisforcookie.jpg
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tickle_me_elmo.jpg

CLIPS

  1. Classic Sesame Street- Episode 276- Big Bird Meets Snuffy. Prod. jtomally9681 Youtube. Youtube. 1 May 2011 Web. 25 June 2013
  2. Big Bird Learns about Death Prod. Barry Purcell Youtube. Youtube 16 February 2011. Web. 25 June 2013

LINKS:

  1. Ortiz, Eric. “Sesame Street introduces first-ever muppet with a parent in prison.” News Article New York Daily News. 19 June 2013 Web25 June 2013

Why Stage Parents Push Their Kids

Children are merely extensions of their parents- a study of why Stage Parents push their kids. Using them as validation for their own failures? Interesting article on the topic.

Health & Family

In the first study to experimentally investigate the phenomenon, researchers say it’s the unfulfilled ambitions of moms and dads that fuel their pushy parenting.

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My Writing Sin: Parents

That sounds really interesting. Now I’m wondering if there are any books without adults in them at all? How do you think something like that would be received? Or why do we focus so much on the ages of the characters in books? Do we need to be given a character’s age to gain insight into them? Or is it enough that we can know their personality, their relationships with others, the way they handle the problems they come across? We’re still very much stuck in a place where the character’s age and their maturity or what they are capable of handling are interconnected. Why is age an issue when reading? Another thing to think about: Can you mention a book with no adult figures at all? Much like a Bechdel test, where there is a show that has at least two (named) women talking to each other about something other than a man? Are there any children’s books we can think of featuring no adults, no longing for an adult, or a book where a character’s age is not mentioned? This blogger/author seems to be going towards that- at least with the no parents and no orphan-status characters.

Amber Skye Forbes

A thread on AbsoluteWrite’s Young Adult forum actually inspired me to write this topic.

We’ve all got writing sins, something we either do a lot because we don’t like it or don’t know how to write around it–or it just might be a common trope. In the case for me,  I just don’t like writing parents, and I realize absent parents are a trope. At the same time, my characters aren’t without adult figures, but these adults figures also don’t try to act as replacement parents.

In fantasy and paranormal books, parents can do a lot to slow down the protagonist, especially if said protagonist has powers the parents don’t have, or the protagonist is required to go on some dangerous journey the parents won’t approve of. So I try to axe the parent element altogether, mostly tumblr_moqg8rkRn41r348tgo1_400because I don’t want to write about them. I can read them in…

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Life is a fairytale

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So I reread this, and I do make sense! 😀 This is for a blog for a class, but I incorporated fairy tales into the post, using slave narratives. Anyway, my point now is that fairy tales aren’t always happy princess stories- they can be used as a symbol of hope. The lowest person can become the highest, the poorest can become the richest, the ones with no voice may find that they can make a difference after all.

Are you buying this?

We’re often told that fairy tales aren’t true, or that they’re idealistic. When we think of fairy tales we usually picture princesses, princes, wicked stepmothers or witches. We think of heros battling dragons, or damsels in distress.

So, my post is going to be a bit of a surprise for some people: The Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs is a fairytale. This is more than the novel just following Propp’s Functions. This is about the way that the way the characters are presented, and the way that the situations she describes mirror those of a fairy tale. “It has been said that fairy tales derive from the wishful thinking of poor people or those that have been unsuccessful or slighted.” (Luthi, 317) The very reason the slave narrative existed was to further the fight for freedom for those who were enslaved. The novels were sentimental…

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