Violence in Nursery Rhymes
Nursery rhymes, fables and fairy tales have always been a part of childhood. They usually have some type of moral meaning or happy ending. Initially, most of these rhymes and stories were not meant for children, lots of them mocked the history of politics or they revealed abuse toward children. Women also received their share of violence in some of the cute little jingles. For example; Peter Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well!
My analysis of Peter and his wife builds a classic case of intimate partner violence. Peter must have an addiction to “pumpkins” which I believe is symbolic for something else; drugs, alcohol, gambling, violence toward his wife or cheating with other women. Whatever it is, it’s causing the wife to want to leave. The third line “He put in a pumpkin shell” is where it becomes violent. Weather he locked her up or killed her is not clear, but he it made him happy and enabled him to keep her. Did he physically hit his wife? According to our text, women are the most frequent victims of intimate partner violence. The most dangerous place for them to be is I their own home where the abuse happens. A large portion of rhymes are geared toward the violence of children. They were not meant to be taught to children as fun and games they were meant to warn, teach and/or scare. There is, supposedly, a truth behind the words and sometimes that truth reveals something quit ugly. Let’s take this poem for example; Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Oh, where have you been, Charming Billy?
I have been to seek a wife, she's the joy of my whole life
But she's a young thing and cannot leave her mother
Right from the beginning it screams pedophile. Pedophilia is a form sexual abuse; it refers to an adult who desires and/or engages in sexual behavior with a child. From the words in the poem, I gather the man desires a very young girl but...
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