HUMA 2680 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Peer Pressure, Canadian Literature, Dont

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Published on 4 Apr 2016
Department
Course
Professor
Early Times: Children’s Literature
AP/HUMA 2680
March 27th 2014
LECTURE 11
TALE OF ONE BAD RAT
oGraphic novel by Bryan Talbot.
oThe images are used to create connections (using black for the past and not
actually saying all this)
oHe makes lots of references to Beatrix Potter.
oThere is a constant journey of the character of Helen along with us being on the
journey with both the characters.
oThe first image is quite blurry.
oThe book tries to make the reader uncomfortable several times.
oHelen can’t stand to be touched or any real intimacy because of what happened
with her in terms of the abuse.
oIf on one hand the story is about being hurt, then it is also about healing.
oThe story is based around Helen Potter, and Helen was Beatrix Potter’s first name.
oThere are even references to people of Beatrix Potter’s family.
oAn important theme in this book is loneliness and isolation.
oThere are references to Alice in Wonderland, Nursery Rhymes, art, and Potter.
oTwo scenes are very important – first part, Ben and Helen go through the park and
see the stars. Ben tells her you can’t normally see them in the city. Its a scene in
which Helen feels small and meaningless when she sees the stars. Second part – in
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the healing section of the novel, she looks at the stars and thinks that all human
lives are precious and in the first scene she’s with Ben and then in the second scene
she’s with the rat.
oThe story plays both on Potter’s own life as well as her work. Potter was an
isolated child and was relegated to the third floor nursery and spent a major portion
of her life in her home, not leaving till she was married in her forties.
oTalbot uses art to imitate life to imitate art to imitate life.
THIS COURSE AND THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT
o“All themes and characters that you encounter in literature belong to a big
interlocking family.
o“So you may ask, what is the use of studying a world of imagination, where
anything is possible and anything can be assumed, where there are no rights or
wrongs and all arguments are equally good? One of the most obvious uses, I think,
is its encouragement of tolerance. In the imagination our own beliefs are also only
possibilities, but we can also see the possibilities in the belief of others… what
produces the tolerance is the power of detachment in the imagination, where things
are removed just out of reach of belief and action.”
oLiterature, then,….
1) Looking at genres
Nursery rhymes – what English rhymes/chants does BR draw on? Seven for
secret/Over the Hills and Far Away
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Fairy tales – talking animals, myths and legends – animal helpers – Old Scratch =
the devil – connection to Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Kipling and
Anderson.
There are references to Alice in terms of her hair and clothing in several scenes.
When she says no to her father and stops him, she cuts her hair and stop looking
like Alice.
There is a reference to Narnia in sense of a journey, even though there is no actual
magic in the place she goes to, but it is magical for her in terms of healing her.
Animal fantasy – rat tales, Kipling and White (shades of Templeton!) revisited.
Adventure story – the hero’s journey or “Over The Hills and Far Away” or
“Through the Wardrobe”, “Across the Creek”, “Through the Forbidden Door”,
“Down the Rabbit Hole”, “To Where the Wild Things Are”, “Spy Routes”,
“Running Home”
The element of adventure and journey is common in all the books that we have read so
far in the course.
Domestic novel – The Tale of One Bad Rat or The Tale of Two Bad Parents and a
Broken Home (Is the home really broken or does the protagonist misread the
home? Harriet the Spy, Bridge to Terabithia, Coraline, Hold Fast, Lynching of
Louie Sam, Skim) or The Tale of Two Good Step-Parents and the Jolly Inn (Or
perhaps two good parents? Momintroll, Bridge to Terabithia, Coraline, Hold Fast,
Lynching)
YA problem novel – parenting/sexual abuse and recovery/teen
romance/homelessness/identity/depression.
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Document Summary

Ben tells her you can"t normally see them in the city. It"s a scene in which helen feels small and meaningless when she sees the stars. One of the most obvious uses, i think, is its encouragement of tolerance. Seven for secret/over the hills and far away. Fairy tales talking animals, myths and legends animal helpers old scratch = the devil connection to red riding hood and cinderella and kipling and. There are references to alice in terms of her hair and clothing in several scenes. When she says no to her father and stops him, she cuts her hair and stop looking like alice. There is a reference to narnia in sense of a journey, even though there is no actual magic in the place she goes to, but it is magical for her in terms of healing her. Animal fantasy rat tales, kipling and white (shades of templeton!) revisited.

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