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Applying Theories to Children’s Literature Essay

The Little Red Hen

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm. She was friends with a lazy dog, a sleepy cat, and a noisy yellow duck. One day the little red hen found some seeds on the ground. The little red hen had an idea. She would plant the seeds. The little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me plant the seeds?” “Not I,” barked the lazy dog. “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat. “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck. “Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen planted the seeds all by herself. When the seeds had grown, the little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me cut the wheat?” “Not I,” barked the lazy dog. “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat. “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck. “Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen cut the wheat all by herself.

When all the wheat was cut, the little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me take the wheat to the mill to be ground into flour?” “Not I,” barked the lazy dog . “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat. “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck. “Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen brought the wheat to the mill all by herself, ground the wheat into flour, and carried the heavy sack of flour back to the farm.

The tired little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me bake the bread?” “Not I,” barked the lazy dog. “Not I,” purred the sleepy cat. “Not I,” quacked the noisy yellow duck. “Then I will,” said the little red hen. So the little red hen baked the bread all by herself. When the bread was finished, the tired little red hen asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?” “I will,” barked the lazy dog. “I will,” purred the sleepy cat. “I will,” quacked the noisy yellow duck. “No!” said the little red hen. “I will.” And the little red hen ate the bread all by herself.

Theoretical Model Application

Theoretical models of childhood may be applied to children’s literature in finding the appropriate reading material for the age of the child and in order to bring growth, learning, and more understanding as the child’s mind develops and progresses. If I read the story above to a three year old child, they would like the story. If I explained the moral of the story to the child in the child’s own terms, they would enjoy and understand the meaning as well as the story.

Theory of Social Development

According to Russell, D. L. (2009), Lev Vygotsky believed that human development was a continuing and never-ending process and that we have no developmental “goals” to reach, only a series of lifelong metamorphoses largely brought about by our interactions with others. In fact, Vygotsky believed that human beings are essentially social creatures and that it is through our social interaction that we learn about ourselves and the world. Indeed, individuals, he believed, can accomplish tasks through social interaction (guidance from someone more experienced or peer collaboration) that they could never achieve on their own. Vygotsky argues that language is, in fact, a way of thinking about something—that our ability to formulate words, to put things into words, actually helps us to think and to understand. (Anyone who has talked through personal problems with a friend or therapist or used a diary or journal to help sort out personal conflicts will understand Vygotsky’s point.) Chap. 2

Relation the Vygotsky’s Theory

In the story of The Little Red Hen I relate it to Vygotsky’s theory in several ways. First, this story is capable of teaching the lesson that with hard work and determination there is always a payoff in the end. This lesson gives us the value of hard work and never giving up, having faith, and never letting others detract us from our goals. The story also gives us the lesson that the dog, cat, and duck were her (The Little Red Hen) friends and she never gave up or quit asking them for help, even up to the end of the story. She always gave them a choice at each level and she never got angry with their choices not to help, this shows the social interaction method of Vygotsky’s theory. The hen had a vision of what could be if she planted the seeds, she set her goal, and she reaped the benefits as well as followed through with her plan. The dog, cat, and the duck made their own choices in not helping, so they also got what they planned for which was nothing.

Critical Approach to the Story

Literary Criticism is a discussion of ideas about the story, any story. In the story of The Little Red Hen we have a believable and memorable character (the hen) in which we focus on. She is the protagonist and the other three characters are the antagonists. There are elements such is character motivation, a plot or series of events, and definitely conflict in this story.

The character motivation is that the hen is responsible for her own acts as she works hard throughout the story and the dog, cat, and duck are made to be responsible for their own acts by receiving no bread. In what the hen does, completing each step of the process, her actions are the key to this story. The setting in this story is the farm and the lesson is that hard work pays off, while laziness does not. The narrator of this story, in my opinion, is the limited narrator because it is not a character in the story. The episodic plot shows not only a series of events but also how they are interconnected to each other.

Reference:
Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: A short introduction (6th ed.). Boston,
MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.


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