Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” written by Judith Viorst, reads exactly how it sounds from first glance at the title. Alexander, the main character, has a bad day, from gum in his hair to seeing kissing on TV. When reading this as a child I remember thinking “his day DID stink!” A rereading as an adult allows for time to step back and have an analytical viewing of the text. Even as a child reading this picture book I took away the real world lesson that everyone has a bad day, and at the end it’s just that, a single bad day, or several, in the grand scheme of things our bad days will never be worth more than the good days. My parents never censored the media my siblings and I ingested. After analyzing the readings for this post I believe that the article by Barber is an article that every parent should read.

Barber explains that shows like Adventure Time and Louie “break the boundries of story telling.” This sentiment completely makes sense. The typical Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers was boring to me as a child. Knowing that I was supposed to learn something from the show created a feeling of animosity toward the shows. The thought that the story telling devices of Adventure Time could lead children to be attracted to seemingly odd story telling devices in the future is awesome. I enjoyed shows like Rocco’s Modern Life and Ah! Real Monsters when I was a child. I also enjoyed “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Viorst’s picture book is not a typical happy-go-lucky children’s book, it contains one bad event after another, yet, somehow, Alexander survives. We must go through the bad to appreciate the good. This is reminiscent of Blake.

“How can the bird that is born for joy  Sit in a cage and sing?  How can a child, when fears annoy,  But droop his tender wing,  And forget his youthful spring?”

This stanza of “The Schoolboy” examines the sentiment that promotes the wildness and creativity that is innately in young children. Children should be allowed sufficient time outside of the “cage” to make mistakes and learn from them. Both Viost’s and Blake would agree that the containment of a child from the ugliness of the real world is not conducive to their learning and growing experiences. Locke would be inclined to say, “… therefore I cannot but prefer breeding of a young gentleman at home in his father’s sight, under a good governour, as much the best and safest way to this great and main end of education…” If disregarding the fact that during the time this was written by Locke the ideal of schooling was simply to learn, whereas now it’s a social project; I can imagine that in modern times young boys can gain a sense of virtue from attending school strictly as a social project than could be learned in a strict schooling environment of the Elightenment. Because of how it has changed, Locke would agree with the idea that children could grow and gain virtue from the modern “educational” environment based on the statment he makes that education can be sacrificed for virtue.

Strasburger’s article said “most parents, developmental psychologists, policymakers,
and educators would agree that children are not the same as adult.” That may be true, but children can learn from media the same as adults. Alexander in “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is an example of media that children and absorb unsupervised and potentially take away a hard life concept.

In modern times children’s shows and books have expanded in volume so much that parents have a variety of options in choosing what their children can watch and when. But when children attend school in modern times there is no parental control to what they coudl be exposed to by other children. The bottom line is that, like Blake, children should be allotted creative times to explore new and adverturous ways to learn. But also, like Locke, children should learn greatly from virtue rather than the “educational” system. Some of the same information dispersal techniques suggested by Locke and Blake are enacted in modern times, but definitely regenerated into the different circumstances of our times.





2 thoughts on “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. Great response! Nice use of the additional readings from the Thursday’s class, but sadly, you don’t quote Strasburger which was part of the assignment. If you squeeze Strasburger into your argument then you will have met the requirements.

    Grade issued: US

    Reason: No quote from Strasburger

  2. Haley,

    I like your book choice and analysis. You included Strasburger, so you’ve met the requirements and I’ll mark you as an “S.” I would ask you to maybe solidify your inclusion of Strasburger in your post, and just check over the post in general for a few small typos. You know, if you were thinking about being a copy editor or whatever. 😛


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