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Is anyone else disturbed by this? - Page 5

post #81 of 88
As a child, this was my very favorite fiction theme - I lapped this stuff up. Not so much in Disney movies, but in books. THe Narnia Books, or even a book like "A Wrinkle in Time" where the kids have to rescue the father. And I loved movies like Goonies (though it clearly wouldn't be suitable for a toddler.)

In fact, in my neighbourhood a favorite game was something we called "Lost Kids". It was kind of a Littlest Hobo scenario, except we were wandering kids instead of a dog, and we looked for a real home and had adventures. Mostly we lived under a slide.

As far as books with intact families, there are the Wrinkle in Time series, where the parents are there, or Meet the Austins, but the kids still go off alone a lot in both.

Even a story for really young kids like Blueberries for Sal has a moment when the child is separated from the mother, that is the dramatic moment in the story.

As far as kids being alone in the stories, I do think it is primarily a plat device to explore the theme of the Hero: but I also think we may interpret it a bit differently than parents even from the not-so-distant past. Up until recently, kids were given a lot more freedom. As a seven year old I could roam around playing "Lost Kids" but many children today would not be allowed to do that.
post #82 of 88
I haven't read this thread in its entirety, but as an English prof, I have to weigh in.

We need to be careful when we say that the American media is trying to do X with these stories/movies. As some people have mentioned, many of the Disney movies are based on very old fairy tales (some of them non-Western), and many of these fairy tales are *far* more violent in their original version.

For example, in the original Cinderella fairy tale, one of the evil step sisters cuts her toes off so that she can jam her foot into the glass slipper. (This fairy tale exists in a Mother Goose version written in the 17th century and a Brother's Grimm version written in the 18th century).

In the original Little Mermaid (written by Hans Christian Anderson in the mid-19th century), she does not win the heart of the prince and remains human and lives happily ever after. The prince marries someone else, and she (SPOILER ALERT) DIES!

I read all the gruesome original stories as a kid, and I loved them (hmm . . . maybe that helps to explain a few things ). What is being marketed to American kids today is a watered-down, happily-ever-after version. Kids going off on their own? Absent parents? *shrug* Ok. At least they are not being shown a wolf being gutted by a woodsman only to have Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother pop out so that they can fill his body with stones! Now *that's* traumatic!
post #83 of 88
I'll have to admit to being bummed at Dumbledore being killed off. I really liked the character and hoped he'd stick around. But, I did kind of expect him to be killed - just thought it would happen sometime in the first half of the last book.
post #84 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorin View Post
I haven't read this thread in its entirety, but as an English prof, I have to weigh in.

We need to be careful when we say that the American media is trying to do X with these stories/movies. As some people have mentioned, many of the Disney movies are based on very old fairy tales (some of them non-Western), and many of these fairy tales are *far* more violent in their original version.

For example, in the original Cinderella fairy tale, one of the evil step sisters cuts her toes off so that she can jam her foot into the glass slipper. (This fairy tale exists in a Mother Goose version written in the 17th century and a Brother's Grimm version written in the 18th century).

In the original Little Mermaid (written by Hans Christian Anderson in the mid-19th century), she does not win the heart of the prince and remains human and lives happily ever after. The prince marries someone else, and she (SPOILER ALERT) DIES!

I read all the gruesome original stories as a kid, and I loved them (hmm . . . maybe that helps to explain a few things ). What is being marketed to American kids today is a watered-down, happily-ever-after version. Kids going off on their own? Absent parents? *shrug* Ok. At least they are not being shown a wolf being gutted by a woodsman only to have Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother pop out so that they can fill his body with stones! Now *that's* traumatic!
This sort of thing - softening the stories - actually bothers me a little more than the lack of parental involvement. Now, I am not suggesting telling grossly violent tales to toddlers. But it really bothered me that Disney changed the ending of The Little Mermaid - it isn't nearly as good, as substantial, a story. Or that movie versions of A Little Princess have the father live. Or what Disney did with The Hunchback.

Some people say that death is the new sex - the reality we are scared to let our kids in on - and I think there is some truth to that.
post #85 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Some people say that death is the new sex - the reality we are scared to let our kids in on - and I think there is some truth to that.
There may be some truth to it, but I don't personally enjoy downer entertainment. (I've never read Hunchback, and now that I know how it really ends, I won't.) I think Disney really should have left stories like The Little Mermaid and Hunchback of Notre Dame alone, but if they were going to do them, I prefer the version they did. My kids have lost a beloved pet and a baby brother, and knew there was a good possibility they'd lose their aunt...all in the last three years. They know about death. They don't need it in their entertainment.
post #86 of 88
Reading this thread, I've been trying to think about cartoons that have good family interactions in them. I've come up with a few, and all on PBS. Caillou has his family, and they are attentive and wise. The best cartoon family I can think of is the Berenstein Bears. Those parents are so ideal! They are the right amount of hands-off, with the appropriate degree of guidance. They are interesting adults in their own right, each having talents and productive activities that they do. They are good examples of how I'd like my children to grow up.

I've noticed a lot of the parent-less shows are on NickJr, but they also have Olivia, which I like. Her parents aren't a major part of most plots, but they contribute a little here and a little there as adult input is needed.
post #87 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuestionGal View Post
Before you dive into "Cheaper By The Dozen" be aware that the dad *does* die, of a heart attack. It's based on a true story and that's what really happened. I can't remember if his death is in "Cheaper by the Dozen" (IIRC it is) or in the sequel "Belles on Their Toes."

I distinctly remember reading that book in 5th grade (as a class) and the teacher warned us that the next chapter was really sad and suggested we skip it. We chose to read it instead and I was devastated. It's still one of my all time favorite books but certainly not without loss.
It was in the original movie too. The mother goes on to continue his work, giving the presentation he was going to give about efficiently running a household with a large family.
post #88 of 88
I haven't read all the responses but I have done quite a few courses in children's literature at university.

This is a very common theme to most children's literature. The issue is not meant to be a "lack of parental involvement" but "the independent child". Children live through the literature. The stories are written so that the child can see a part of themselves in the protagonist, or experience independence through the lives they read (or watch).

Children's literature is usually about overcoming an obstacle and growing up. In order for the child in the story to do this, the child needs some sort of way to be independent from a parent, and that usually involves being an orphan or being distant.

Literature, for the child, is supposed to be escape and fantasy.
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