Dec 26, 2011

#TheList, No. 412: The Happy Prince

I didn't really have much of a reaction to this collection of short stories/morality tales penned by Oscar Wilde.  Maybe it's because I'm a horrible English major who isn't wild about Wilde (yeah, I just made that joke), or maybe it's because I was too preoccupied with Christmas to really put in some effort to deconstruct these stories.  Either way, they were well written, but I wasn't inspired after reading.

All of the stories involve anthropomorphizing animals or elements in order to provide commentary on and correct human behavior.  Basically, after reading these tales, a person should be selfless, charitable, loving, caring, friendly, etc.  An unsurprising Jesus cameo in one of the stories essentially sums up how we should act. 

Even though there's nothing really wrong with Wilde's stories, there are many other stories that cover these moral lessons more effectively, particularly for younger children.  Not that I condone taking the easy way out or am suggesting that kids don't have the mental capacity to get through these stories, but they're just so plain that I think more captivating stories would complete the job.  

However, I do think Wilde's short stories are perfect for junior high and high school English classes.  All fairy tales are wonderful for class discussions and essay writing, so these are perfect candidates.  The religious undertones, depiction of class differences, symbolism, and philosophy found within the stories are practically screaming for a ninth-grade student to write an essay. 

No comments:

Post a Comment