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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Nov 14 11:42 PM

November 15th, 2015: Monsters to Scare Kids

From what I’ve seen of olde timey fairy tales and legends, they were created to scare people, particularly children, into doing the right(as determined by someone else) thing, because if they didn’t the punishment was dire, often fatal, always painful. No thinking necessary, learn by rote, no trial, no extenuating circumstances, no excuses, badda-bing bada-boom, do this, suffer that.

These illustrations by Walter McDougall, from around 1902 show the typical art in children’s books, and the kid’s pages of newspapers.



Things started to mellow out after WW I, the war to end all wars, as children’s books from authors like Thornton Burgess and Beatrix Potter began to stress the right things to do and the rewards for being good, like beaming parents and teachers, plus self satisfaction. But Grimm’s fairy tales and that ilk, remained, to tell them the dark side.



After the big one, WW II, Dr Spock triggered big changes in children’s status, which brought changes in children’s literature. Disney twisted Grimm’s tales into a kinder gentler morality tale. Dr Seuss wrote stories that had good guys and bad guys, and the bad guys were still a threat, but weren’t nightmare material, more someone to pity. The illustrations were cheery, with bright colors and villains to laugh at.

Fortunately, besides the cold war and terrorists, the hairless ape has managed to find other ways to make sure children get their share of neurosis.



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