Okay, so probably most of us know how Green Eggs and Ham goes. Same bugs the hell out of his friend until he finally agrees to try this seemingly putrid mix of foods. He ends up loving Green Eggs and Ham and goes into a soliloquy of all the ways he will not eat the dish. Now the obvious conclusion that one could come up with is that a child should try everything before they can truly say that they hate it.
However, I think the book sends another message to children that isn’t so obvious. I think the book is telling children that if someone asks enough then you are obligated to agree. The book sends the message that it’s easier to just give in than to keep fighting for what you do or do not want to do. Now I could very easily stretch this into issues of today but, to keep the argument vague, I’ll simply say that the message tells children that if someone keeps denying them what they desire to do – within their rights – that they should surrender and do as the other individual says.
This book, though subtle, tells children that they are meant to submit to those who push them. We need children to submit so they will be what we want them to become. Children are merely a mold of their parents and all their parents’ ideals in life. Sure, society has an influence but it’s mostly how they were raised. “Modesty and submission, till then, better fits them for instruction;” (Locke). If we raise our children to just give in and not think for themselves, they will become the most perfect little mold of ourselves and all the things we believe.
Strasburger talks about how children are becoming targets for advertisements. So children are no longer being molded into just what their parents want them to be, but society is now taking its turn to convince children exactly what they should believe and do. He talks about how advertisements are “creeping” into nearly everything we come in contact with. Social media is reaching out to younger and younger audiences and at that point, it’s nearly impossible to shield youth from outside sources of enlightenment. On such sites as Tumblr and Twitter, corporations can sponsor an add disguised as a tweet or a blog post and are automatically uploaded into every member’s dashboard and news feed. Children are shown hundreds of outside influences everyday and it’s becoming harder and harder for parents to keep them submissive to them.
I’m not particularly upset about this fact. I think that any kind of media that tells anyone that they should merely give in because it is easier. I think that it’s good to have children exposed to lots of different things outside of just their small home environment. A child should be treated as an adult and explained things just the same as a teenager would be treated. I’m not going to pretend that they will always handle it well but I think that it is truly better to be honest at the first chance than to create a happy lie to feed to children to save their “virtue.” Virtue isn’t real. If it is, it’s not constructed by anyone but the individual and no one can decide if someone else is virtuous. If explaining what sex really is to a 6 year old that asks makes you think that your child will be robbed of his/her virtue, then you should also expect your child to know that they can lie about little things as long as they intend to tell the truth later. Shielding children is teaching them that they can shield things from you.
The only example I can find from Blake is lines 17 and 18 from “Little Black Boy.” He says “For when our souls have learned the heat to bear/ The cloud will vanish…” I believe Blake is suggesting that the boy must learn his place and must learn what he is and is not to do. He is not given a choice. He is just told to (as my interpretation) bear the guilt of Gods Love and do all these things on earth as a black child. He is not told why but just that he has to.