Saturday, September 13, 2014

Black and White

   Once again, Rambo and I met on the porch to talk about some random topic which I've been mulling over recently.
   "Okay," I said. "Last time we met we talked about the lack of black-and-white characters in fiction altogether. We basically came to the conclusion that it's not bad to leave the solution up to the readers."
   "We did?" Rambo asked, looking up from licked his hind leg.
   "Yes," I replied. "Don't you remember? Anyway, even though we just talked about it, I'd like to take a slightly different angle: black-and-white characters in children's fiction."
   "Seriously? We're going to talk about this again? Haven't your last four blog posts been on this topic?"
   "Right," said Rambo, obviously not believing me. His tone took that of someone reading a teleprompter: flat and bored. "How does this topic relate to children's fiction?"
   "I'm glad you asked! You see, I've been listening to several fairy-tales and various other children's stories and have noticed that things are more or less clean cut in children's fiction. There's always a good character, an evil character, and the character which has a redemption story. Take, for instance, The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. In that, the Blue Fairy is always good. She is clearly a positive role-model. The fox and the cat are evil role models, villains. Pinocchio is the guy stuck in between. He wants to do what is right, but he doesn't always do it. Gepetto, interestingly, is the same way. He starts out as a grumpy old man but, after he has a son to take care of, he turns into a good father."
   Rambo looked up at my pause. "What's your point?"
   "My point, I guess, is this: fairy-tales get at the heart of humanity. They show that in this world there us pure evil, but there is also pure good. In between the two is humanity, struggling to choose the right side."
   "That's fine, but what to fairy-tales tell us about cats?"
   "Um... they're hungry a lot?"
   Rambo thought about that for a moment. "Fair enough."

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