“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …”.

When I was growing up my obsession was with the Madeline book serious. This feisty little twelve year old was simply amazing in my eyes. For those of you don’t know the story line of Madeline, she is a girl who is very petite for her age living in a Catholic boarding school in Paris under the care of a nun. Her stories range from having to get her appendix taken out in the original story to running off on adventures with her friend Pepito that lives next door.  This book serious was the obsession of my childhood. I was even Madeline for Halloween one year. What intrigued me the most about the books was the beautiful sound of the rhyming words throughout the entire story. Not only did it make me want to read the book to myself, but it also made me want to read it to everyone who would listen to me. I will admit that the book seems to have simplicity to it that is not extremely challenging or complex but to a young child that was perfect so that understanding was not difficult.

The first book in the series was published in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans.  Since the book was written in a slightly more traditional time period rather than the stories that have recently came on the market for children, it definitely has a more traditional sense that appeals to the views of John Locke in his piece, “Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1692).” In the boarding school, the most important thing is focused on education, religious values, and instilling a virtuous sense that will grow with you. Locke specifically states in his work that, “Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world; and if lost in a young man, is seldom recover’d. Sheepishness and ignorance of the world, the faults imputed to a private education, are neither the necessary consequences of being bred at home, nor if they were, are they incurable evils.” This thought is directly related to the serious due to the relation between Locke’s opinion and the views that the Catholic boarding school is trying to teach the children they have in their care.

Books like this seem to appeal to the mind for a young whereas when more complex stimulation are forced upon the innocent minds of children before they are ready to comprehend it. Madeline demonstrates courage and heroism in a time period and location that women were expected to always keep to themselves and never speak out. This instills life lessons while TV shows and video games do not help mentally create these morals. Children though are starting to read less and less and consume themselves with media more and more. In Strasunburger’s book, Children and Adolescences, he touches on the topic of how a child’s mind is becoming so bombarded with technology that they simply do not have the attention span anymore to read books with virtuous goals. In his findings he states that “Contrary to this assumption, the average American child between the ages of 6 months and 6 years spends about 1½ hours a day using media.” This is the age that children are supposed to be running outside or developing the tools to learn concepts in school but instead they are playing video games or on the computer until they are metally too tired to take in any new information. William Blake I believe elaborates on this point best in his piece, Songs of Innocence and Experience.” He states that,

“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?”

If children are meant to run around and learn through experiences and reading enriching virtues things, how can they grow? By letting children be exposed to the draining evils of technology and the media, society is placing them in a cage and turning off their brain.  Overall Madeline shows children courage and natural life lessons that will not be taught to them in a video game. The main point is that books and literature should always come first before letting children expose themselves to technology and the addictiveness of the media.

-Madison Johnston

https://engl382fall2013.wordpress.com/readings/0910-blake-songs-of-innocence-and-experience-1789/

https://engl382fall2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/strasburger-children-and-adolescents.pdf

https://engl382fall2013.wordpress.com/readings/john-locke-some-thoughts-concerning-education-1692-part-iv/

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One thought on ““In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …”.

  1. Great response! I never read the books, but I now want to with a doubt. You meet the requirements by picking a children’s book and then supporting your argument with Locke, Strasunburger, and Blake. Sorry it took a minute for the response and thank you for moving it so we could locate it easier.

    Grade issued: S

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