The author may present a problem and ask you what you think, or might just never come around to saying exactly what you are supposed to believe. In some ways, this is probably a pretty ambiguous ending. Suess portrays typical kids, bored by the rain, wanting to do something wild.
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In fact, the children never quite seem to trust the Cat, and they always just sort of watch him play. The children never really do anything that crazy themselves. The Fish, who sounds a lot like an adult, is always there to warn them, and in the end everything gets cleaned up. Of course the book is fun and playful, and is obviously one of the most famous and liked picture books ever made, but it is still pretty straightforward. Examining it made me think about how the book might have changed in recent years, especially since children are rarely bored when they are at home any more with all of the stuff they own to play with.
The book George and Martha as well as all of the other books in the series , by James Marshall , is in most ways a typical case prototype. The reading level that is assigned to the book is for ages four through eight. Each book is divided into five stories, and the stories are about two hippopotamuses that are best friends and act like humans. Each of the stories starts with a title page that has bold yellow bubble letters.
As the pages are turned the left hand page has the print for the story and the right hand page has the illustration for that portion of the story. This is very much typical case prototype—very consistent, very simple in both a visual and a reading sense. And each story is short in length endorsing the idea that children get bored easily. All of the illustrations are simple—basically white backgrounds with bold black outlines and three or four colors used to emphasize certain parts of the images namely grey, green, yellow, and red.
The pictures tell the story of everything that is going on, which makes it more or less unnecessary for a child to be able to read in order to understand what is going on in the story. In fact, the pictures include almost no object in that is not directly involved in the story, meaning there is nothing used in the background of the pictures to fill the space.
The story is as simple as the illustrations using little or no complex language or difficult vocabulary. The story also includes only two characters save the image of the dentist in the last story. There are no other characters introduced which also keeps the story simplified. George and Martha supports many of the assumptions posed with typical case prototypes; in some cases the story even supports two opposing assumptions about children.
The assumption that children like books about fantasy is supported in that the main characters are animals that have the characteristics of humans—they are hippopotamuses walking around on two feet, wearing clothes, and talking to each other. At the same time, the assumption is made that kids are so egocentric they only like literature to which they can personally relate.
While the main characters are animals, everything else about the book is based very much in a reality they can understand. George and Martha live in a world like ours, where everyone lives in houses, cooks meals, takes baths and goes to the dentist. The issues brought up in the book are even those to which children could relate, such as: not liking split pea soup but having to eat it, losing something that is dear to you, irritating habits that friends have, or invasion of privacy. These are all concepts that a child can understand, and therefore it fits this typical case prototype as well.
The book is extremely didactic. Each story ends with the moral that is presented in it, and the morals are very plainly stated in no uncertain terms. Nor is the response that Martha has when she realizes that George is peeking in her window, which is to dump the bathtub on his head and yell at him; that could be construed as a violent reaction.
The story of the mirror brings up the issue of vanity or even pride. Despite these deeper rooted possibilities of what the book may be trying to convey, in most cases it would be considered a typical case prototype. It is built around most of the assumptions made about kids and their views of literature and of the world. Only when looked at closely does this book show any evidence of underlying meaning or issues being presented, and those clues may be simply a complete coincidence. Color radiates from the pages of this short story.
From the pink background on the front cover to the bright blue costume worn by an elephant on the title page, the book is filled with bright shades. The use of color culminates to the very last page, which exemplifies and identifies the colors used in the book The book ambiguously teaches correct color schemes by ensuring each object is the color found in nature.
A personified animal or insect represents every character in the book. Animals play instruments, eat with spoons, count to ten, have hands, arms, and noses, rake leaves, watch TV, write, and eat cookies 5 ,6,8,12,11,17 , 22,9. Richard Scarry personifies the characters to be similar to his readers. Scarry creates childlike characters based on their actions. Illustrating childlike behavior, a pig spills a glass of juice, a cat wears an inner tube to swim in ankle deep water, and a worm jumps in a pile of autumn leaves 8 ,16, The children are distinguished from the adults by size, position, and in some cases clothing.
On page one, a giraffe sits on a stool wearing a suit and tie reading a book to a tiny, casually dressed mouse. Of course the mouse is the childlike character and the giraffe is the adult; the giraffe know how to read, is formally dressed, and is much taller than his counterpart. This example signifies the view of adults being superior to children and being responsible for the knowledge children gain. In the manners section a tall pig wearing a dress helps a short pig in red overalls put on a rain jacket, obviously this is the mother aiding her child This suggests that children require parents to guide them even in simple tasks.
The vocabulary of this book is simplistic, using predominately one or two syllable words to identify objects, directions, or sizes. The book contains only two four-syllable words; accordion and interrupting 5, 8. The language is simple for young readers and the identifying nature of the book is most likely targeted toward a preschool audience. The book overtly teaches the things adults believe small children should learn; like distinguishing the four seasons and naming body parts , Do you? I hope so. The book didactically impresses children with adult view of essential knowledge and encourages the stereotypical natures Nodelman mentioned.
However, there are numerous examples of interpellation, during which the children fight against and conform to the interpellation of family and society. Also, I will explain how the film is adult-centered in spite of the agency the child characters possess. One day, the children overhear the adults talking about Wendy, the oldest child in the nursery.
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They are saying that it is time for her to grow up and spend more time with adults. Wendy does not like the idea of growing up, and the children go on a magical adventure where children never grow up, where there are pirates, fairies, and countless adventures. However, soon Wendy realizes that she truly does wish to grow up and decides to return to her home with her parents. In the end, Wendy, her brothers, and the lost boys all end up home with parents. However, Peter Pan still refuses to give up his childhood fantasies and flies away forever.
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For example, the mother and father are wealthy socialites who attend grand parties, wear grand clothing, and attempt to conduct themselves in a dignified, proper manner. However, the children are still concerned with fun, games, and adventures. The thought of growing up is not an appealing one for them at this point. It simply does not look like it is any fun. In one scene, the entire family is gathered together in a family room. The children are telling stories and being generally silly.
When Wendy begins to talk of her dreams of adventure, her Aunt Millicent puts a stop to it. After all, a young lady should not think of adventure, but marriage according to the interpellation in this film. During this scene, Wendy talks with her Aunt Millicent about her future plans. Aunt Millicent is attempting to convince Wendy that her proper place in society will be an adventure if only she lives up to the expectations of her family.
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Aunt Millicent is attempting to interpellate Wendy into a certain role. By watching the whole first half of the film, one might believe that Wendy has not been interpellated into the role her Aunt Millicent wishes for her. She is clearly against the idea of giving up her adventures to become a wife. Soon after, she meets a magical boy and runs away with him, along with her brothers to a world where children have their own agency.
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In Neverland , children live with no parents, do as they please, and fight their own battles. There are Indians, mermaids, and pirates. It is a great adventurous place for children to live when they do not wish to be interpellated into a role in society by their parents. There, the adult pirates treat the children as worthy adversaries.
This indicates that the adult pirates believe that the children do, indeed, have their own agency. The pirates do not indicate for a moment that these are only children and easily defeated. Rather, they wait in ambush for Peter Pan and Wendy to attempt to rescue the boys.
Wendy shows Peter that she is entirely capable of brandishing a sword against the pirates. Here, Wendy is displaying her own agency and letting him know that she will not need protection any more than the boys. Then, Peter tricks the pirates into releasing the other children.
This shows that the children in the scene are much more cleaver than the adults. Afterward, a great fight scene ensues between the children and the pirates. The pirates sword fight with them as if they were adults. In fact, the children manage to defeat the pirates and escape unharmed, once again indicating that they have their own agency in that they are clever and able to take care of themselves. When there is a problem, they figure out a way to get out of it on their own.
They do not rely on adults to solve their problems. In spite of all of the agency the children display during the Neverland scenes, I would argue that this film is adult centered. After being in the Neverland for a while, Wendy realizes that she does not belong there and chooses to return to the safety of her family.
Even the Lost Boys desperately want a parental figure in their lives, and they end up returning home with Wendy and her brothers to live with their parents. Wendy has been interpellated by her parents after all. She realizes that she wants her life that she left behind.
The power that Wendy felt at the beginning of the film seemed repressive to her; however, it has become ideological. She now sees that her happiness lies in the role that her family has been trying to establish for her. In the end, all of the children have parents except one. And, all of the children seem happy except one — Peter Pan.