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ERIC Number: EJ1160382
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
Following Reading Primers the Wrong Way: Pedagogical Nonsense in Dr. Seuss
Yang, Lichung
Children's Literature in Education, v48 n4 p326-340 Dec 2017
A well-versed writer on the limitations and possibilities of the English language, Seuss follows the conventional primers the wrong way, not by retracing the tradition of the genre, but by working his way against the current. Drawing upon Jean-Jacques Lecercle's notion of nonsense, this essay is a small attempt to examine three of Dr. Seuss's beginner books--"The Cat in the Hat," "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish," and "Green Eggs and Ham"--along with Mikhail Bakhtin's ideas. It argues that Bakhtin's concepts of chronotope, carnivals and dialogism offer themselves as toolkits to illuminate the nonsensical chronotopes prevalent in Seuss's books, including multiple mini-chronotopes, narratorial voices, and mixing of the everyday and fantasy in a dialogic way. The Seussian world in the three books is read as a collection of nonsensical chronotopes in which everyday scenes are converted into carnivalesque mini-chronotopes, parallel to the real world but having their own logics. The Seussian rhymes are also far from being monologic in nature, but are woven and constructed as a dialogic mode of discourse. Seussian nonsense texts partake in the invention of a genre by demonstrating a radical pedagogy of priming that sees a word more than a concept but also endowed with certain physicality and dialogicity. The nonsensical chronotopes also demonstrate a dialogic demand on readers, inviting them to engage with books, have fun reading, and see the world in an alternative way.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A