Food and Discipline Symbolism in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrob and Where the Wild Things Are

Topics: Reinforcement, Reward system, Where the Wild Things Are Pages: 4 (1772 words) Published: May 20, 2013
By definition, food is any material that an organism eats or drinks that allows it to preserve life and grow; culturally, it also serves as a classical conditioning positive and negative supporter. Discipline is something that can occur in various different forms. It may be most commonly gained through rewards, punishments, currency, positive & negative reinforcements, and manipulation. The primary purpose of food in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Where the Wild Things Are is to discipline the characters in the stories.

In the short story, Where the Wild Things Are, food is used to discipline Max directly for a constructive purpose; he is not being persuaded to listen to or fulfill anyone’s wishes in particular. Max’s discipline is more freedom based as he changes throughout the story not for anyone else but rather for himself. In this story, food is used as both a reward and punishment. In the beginning of the story, food is used as a punishment as his mother sends him to bed without food when he misbehaves. Food situates itself as positive support for guiding good behavior and as a negative re-enforcer when he misbehaves to decrease the likelihood of his undesirable behavior of being wild. This is shown in the story when the author writes, “The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another, his mother called him “WILD THING!” and Max said, “I’LL EAT YOU UP!” so he was sent to bed without eating anything.” (CITATION). As Max was misbehaving, his mother punished him by not giving him food. As food is something that is a craving and a necessary tool to maintain life, not getting food effects and punishes Max. Food is used to be a punishment through the mother’s action of sending Max to his room without supper as a result to acting wild. On the other hand, food also serves as a reward at the end of the book when Max decides to let go of his bad behavior and returns home; he finds a hot supper awaiting his return. Max makes...
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