So this week I was working on instruction/assignment with twelfth grade English students…this is a mix of special ed and general ed students (as opposed to AP,Dual Enrollment, or Honors). We read and watched four different versions of the Three Little Pigs in order to try out some of the more probing literary analysis questions needed for breaking down texts into their different parts, and working toward figuring out how much interpretation we need to be doing as readers. This is an introductory activity and not designed to attack things like theme, motif, meaning etc.
So the two book versions we dealt with (we also read a more standard fairy tale version and watched a Looney Tunes version of the story — not the Disney one with the anti-Semitism, luckily).
The first book “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” is the same classic version you’re used to and have probably read yourself. I recall it very fondly and think about how much it allowed me to do more of more complex thinking on reading at an early age, and the kids got into it.
The second book is more recent “Tell the Truth, BB Wolf” is a book about the wolf looking back on his life and being uncomfortable with his own story. He begins by tries to gloss over his bad actions, and get called out on it, and eventually works toward apologizing and making real amends for his actions….it’s a kind of restorative justice three little pigs.
But I will tell you what: it’s becoming more and more frustrating to look for reading assignments that discuss things like specific virtues, values, truth, integrity, justice, compassion and all those other super important and lacking qualities in a lot of people out there without it sounding like I am deliberately calling out Republicans and especially the president.
I understand this is my job, and I am definitely not looking for tips or ideas, more so just venting and thinking through the issue more. But in Tell the Truth, there’s a clearly walking through how to make real apologies. This book is from 2010, so of course there were plenty of bullshit apologies made to media outlets by people trying to salvage their careers, not reflect and change. The wolf, to his credit, is looking for both. He earnestly feels like he has changed and wants to demonstrate that, but he’s stuck whitewashing his past because he’s embarrassed and scared of what that might mean for him. It’s interesting too because he is able to live his life fairly normally, but once he’s chosen to make a speech at the local library, that’s where he gets into trouble. I honestly do think it’s a fair feeling to feel like you’ve made changes in your life when you’ve hurt people in your life. But he works for it, faces his wrongs and moves forward.
The other book of course looks like it’s DJT 101….lie lie lie, blame blame blame, deflect deflect deflect….and when finally caught, blame the “pig media” (fake news) for spinning lies about you. It’s kind of funny to look at kids understanding the connections, not really mention it, and wonder why I am making them look at it. Oh well.