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  1. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Apr 2011
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    Wink The theme of a nursery rhyme

    The author ( Peter Singer ) quotes a nursery rhyme in his article titled Animal liberation(it's main idea is : Childhood expierence, especially eating meat and fairy tails reading has an impact on our attitudes towards animals when we grow up since we were brought up in a context of non-vegetarian: feeding on meat.)The exercises following the text asks of what the theme of the rhyme is.I can't figur out the theme anyway though I tried hard to do so. So I come here and hope some teacher will help me see the light (shed a little light on it).
    The following is taken from the article:

    ...... Not so long ago children were brought up on fairy tales in which animals,especially wolves,were pictured as cunning enemies of man.a characteristic happy ending would leave the wolf drowning in a pond ,weighed down by stones which the ingenious hero had sewn in its belly while it was asleep. And in case children missed the implications of these stories,they could join hands and sing a nursery rhyme like:
    " Three blind mice,see how they run!
    They all ran after the farmer's wife
    who cut off their tails with a carving knife.
    Did you ever see such a thing in your life
    as three blind mice?"

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to your answer!

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    Re: The theme of a nursery rhyme

    First of all, please note that it is "fairy tales", not "tails." Tails are the things on the hindquarters of mice that evil farmers' wives cut off. Eew. I used to sing this nursery rhyme all the time as a child, and I never really stopped to consider how disgusting (and cruel to animals) it was.

    What is the theme? I don't know if there is one. It could just be a nice couplet that happens to rhyme and is fun to sing. When I was in college we had to read a book written by this guy who found all sorts of hidden sexual meanings in nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Animal rights activists can find all sorts of offensive themes in songs like "Sing a Song of Sixpence", but will learning such a rhyme really encourage children to bake live birds inside of pies? Was the author of the rhyme planting the seed of animal cruelty in the minds of impressionable young children? Or is it just a harmless, fun rhyme that kids forget as soon as they're done singing it? You decide.

    Likewise, your teacher is asking you to consider the implications (if any) of "Three Blind Mice." Does it promote cruelty to visually handicapped animals? Is the author saying that mice are vermin and they deserve to be tortured? Think about the words of the nursery rhyme and what they mean to you and what you think the author was trying to say.

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