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Condescension, Didacticism. And the case of Rainbow Fish. Two terms for today. Didactic = oriented toward teaching Condescend = to look down on To what extent does the author take on the same questions s/he wishes the reader to consider?

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condescension didacticism

Condescension, Didacticism

And the case of Rainbow Fish

two terms for today
Two terms for today
  • Didactic= oriented toward teaching
  • Condescend= to look down on
    • To what extent does the author take on the same questions s/he wishes the reader to consider?
    • The question in children’s literature is not usually whether or not these exist, but to what extent they exist.
condescension
Condescension
  • Adult authors often condescend to child readers (they look down on their readers)
    • The implication is that the writer/narrator knows better than the reader.
    • The story implies that that to read correctly, readers will accept all words unquestioningly from the writer/narrator.
    • Treats readers as inferior.
    • The voice of the narrator may sound like a teacher, or parent talking to someone much younger who has trouble understanding.
didacticism
Didacticism
  • What is children’s literature about?
    • To delight. To be enjoyed.
    • To instruct. To teach. To help people learn.
  • Being didactic
    • When the main point is to teach a lesson rather than to tell a story.
    • Writers focus on making their views work out more than making the story consistent and developed.
rainbow fish
Rainbow Fish
  • Think about the narrative tone.
    • Is it didactic?
    • Is it condescending?
  • What do you think came first in the author’s mind?
    • Write an interesting story.
    • Write a story to teach a lesson.
what do you think
What do you think?
  • What is the story about?
  • Is the tone condescending?
  • How didactic is it? (Is the purpose of the story to teach a lesson?) If so, what’s the lesson?
  • What actions are considered right and wrong?
  • What else is the story about?
implied message s
Implied message(s)
  • What do you think about the little fish that asked for a scale? Is that appropriate?
  • Should that little fish have told everyone what Rainbow Fish refused his request?
  • What did Rainbow Fish have to do to make friends?
  • How did giving away the scales affect Rainbow Fish’s identity?
  • What does this story imply about individual differences?
what do you think1
What do you think?
  • What is the story about?
  • Is the tone condescending?
  • How didactic is it? (Is the purpose of the story to teach a lesson?) If so, what’s the lesson?
  • What actions are considered right and wrong?
  • What else is the story about?
implied message s1
Implied message(s)
  • How did Swimmy feel as it was swimming around in the big ocean alone?
  • Should Swimmy have forced the other little fish to follow his idea?
  • What did Swimmy have to do to make friends?
  • How did becoming the eye of the big fish affect Swimmy’s identity?
  • What does this story imply about individual differences?
how about tom sawyer
How about Tom Sawyer?

To answer the following questions, consider the book as a whole or specific chapters or specific anecdotes within chapters.

  • What is the story about?
  • Is the tone condescending?
  • How didactic is it? (Is the purpose of the story to teach a lesson?) If so, what’s the lesson?
  • What actions are considered right and wrong?
    • Feeding Painkiller to the cat
    • Muff Potter tells Huck and Tom not to drink (Ch 23, p 140, middle of the page).
  • What else is the story about?
on stories with morals
On stories with morals

Chapter 21: “Youthful Eloquence” Page 130

A prevalent feature in these compositions was a nursed and petted melancholy; another was a wasteful and opulent gush of "fine language"; another was a tendency to lug in by the ears particularly prized words and phrases until they were worn entirely out; and a peculiarity that conspicuously marked and marred them was the inveterate and intolerable sermon that wagged its crippled tail at the end of each and every one of them. No matter what the subject might be, a brain-racking effort was made to squirm it into some aspect or other that the moral and religious mind could contemplate with edification. The glaring insincerity of these sermons was not sufficient to compass the banishment of the fashion from the schools, and it is not sufficient to-day; it never will be sufficient while the world stands, perhaps. There is no school in all our land where the young ladies do not feel obliged to close their compositions with a sermon; and you will find that the sermon of the most frivolous and the least religious girl in the school is always the longest and the most relentlessly pious. But enough of this. Homely truth is unpalatable.