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Kid's Book With Hidden Moral To The Story

Hide it behind blatant propaganda, see if the bright ones can catch it.
  [vote for,

Somebody posted the story in the link about a sheep that escaped captivity and avoided being sheared for 6 years by hiding in a cave. (see link)

It's a children's story that writes itself. But it occurred to me, what if you put out a kid's story that had a good message that was hidden behind a bad one? In this case, thinking for yourself being a good thing but hidden behind the story's moral that thinking for yourself is a bad thing, but unconvincingly told.

Here's the story: "Puffball, the Rebellious Little Sheep."

One day, while all the good little sheep were lining up to be sheared, Puffball said: "I will not be held to your cookie cutter standards of beauty and the directives of the oppressive masters." So on the way to be sheared, he jumped out of the back of the truck and ran into the mountains.

Skip to the end of the book after he ends up looking like the sheep in the link.

"And Puffball said: I will never stray from the directive of my leaders and masters again. To conform with the flock is good, to think for yourself is baaa-aa-aa-ad!"

I'm thinking the brighter kids in the group would think for themselves and say "Hey, what's wrong with thinking for yourself? This one sheep ended up with an uncomfortable hairdo, but it's better than being turned into lamb chops. And that message doesn't apply to most situations regarding oppressive governing bodies. So what are we saying? If we don't have a totalitarian government we're all going to end up with horrible hairdos? Nonsense, this book's message is terrible."

To which the teacher would say "Billy or Sally, you get and A+ on your book report."

As a completely un-related aside, look at the smile on that sheep's face after getting sheared.

doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2015

Shrek, the rebellious little sheep. http://www.sunnysky...utm_campaign=buffer
[doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2015]

We think more alike than you realize... Overtly-Scientific_20Bedtime_20Stories
Hidden agenda for a younger audience [RayfordSteele, Aug 29 2015]

//I'm pretty sure I know what it was about since I wrote it.// http://artsites.ucs...s/barthes.death.pdf
[calum, Aug 31 2015]


       I think the smart ones would realize that its neither about rebellion nor conformity.
RayfordSteele, Aug 29 2015

       The story was EXACTLY a study of rebellion and conformity. Not saying it was a great piece of literature, but I'm pretty sure I know what it was about since I wrote it.
doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2015

       Not my point. 'It' here refers to something else altogether as I find the lesson here as simplistic. And I changed my vote. With a different moral its a fine idea. Kids learn all kinds of lessons from stories besides the obvious ones though, oftentimes unintended ones.   

       Sometimes the object of paranoid fixation is less oppressive than the paranoia.   

       Anyway, does this record play another song?
RayfordSteele, Aug 29 2015

       //Anyway, does this record play another song?//   

       I'm not sure what that means. Am I posting too many ideas about which types of social constructs allow of the greatest measure of self determination using anthropomorphized animal husbandry symbols? If so I'll try to drop in another subject from time to time just to keep things fresh.   

       Regarding the post. Yes Ray, I'm sure we agree and more subjects that we differ on. We just seem to butt heads a lot. Probably as much me as you.   

       Case in point, went to bun your linked post, already had.   

       Ok, I'm spending the rest of the day driving to a wedding party. Off line till Sunday. Have a nice weekend everybody. You too Ray.
doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2015

       Its just the politics and government diatribes that grate on me after awhile. That's all. The halfbakery used to crack down more on political rants and religious propaganda and such more often, and there were those who were much less forgiving than I am in that regard.   

       I also tended to bone endless self-pity, bad habits of habitual trolls, and such.
RayfordSteele, Aug 29 2015


       3 decades ago, when my infant children were new readers enjoying 'simple' characters and stories including the Mr. Men collection, I was pleased and proud when they protested at how unfair it had been for Mr. Tidy and Little Miss Perfect to interfere in the life and home of Mr. Messy by tidying everything up without his knowledge or consent.   

       On the surface a tale of 'nice people' doing a favour for someone unable of unwilling to do 'the right thing' for themselves, was recognized in my children's eyes to be an example of oppression and enforced conformity.
Tulaine, Aug 29 2015

       The idea of a story which can be taken in contradictory ways, depending on how many layers of irony you apply, is not new. Take Camus's "The Fall", for example; you can take the protagonist's message as prophetic, or, equally, as satire. See also Lermontov's "Hero of Our Time".   

       It "works" in the sense that it keeps people talking about the story, but it has unpleasant side-effects.
pertinax, Aug 30 2015

       I'm not familiar with these books. Are the morals ambiguous and vague? I know it's considered artsy and progressive to tell stories like this, "No Country For Old Men" being a movie that comes to mind. But the idea is to have a clear BAD moral message that effectively lets the reader or viewer accept the true hidden message by picking through a few holes in the logic of the story teller, in this case it being bad to think for yourself because you'll end up looking like a puffball, a ludicrous message.   

       This may well have been done, I'm not familiar with the books cited. To be clear, I'm saying have a one twist ending where the message is 180 degree opposite, then have a clear and unambiguous moral, not to flounder about between messages to impress the reader with how non-judgemental and un- shackled by standard bourgeois perceptions of right and wrong the writer is.   

       The hidden message of "Puffball The Rebellious Little Sheep" is: "Think for yourself, and you can start by critiquing this stupid story."
doctorremulac3, Aug 30 2015

       Any way you look at it, you can run and you can hide but in the end you will be fleeced.   

       The story's hidden moral conflates thinking for one's self and rebellion, which are poor synonyms at best. Hence my earlier reaction.
RayfordSteele, Aug 30 2015

       The smart kids would realise first that the story had a 'bad' moral, then that it had a 'good' moral and then that the author was manipulating them, and then, finally, would gain an insight into the economics of the children's book publishing industry which requires books to have an 'angle' or unique selling point and to appeal to parents' poorly thought-through guilt that they are failing their children somehow, not spending enough 'quality' time with them and that this can be alleviated by spending money on 'educational' or 'improving' books.
hippo, Aug 31 2015

       //Are the morals ambiguous and vague?//   

       Well, in Camus' "The Fall", they're not ambiguous or vague at all. You just can't tell whether Camus believes in them... especially when you know a little about Camus' life.
pertinax, Aug 31 2015

       Got me curious, I'll check it out.
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2015


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