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The book in reference is Heidi by Johanna Spyri. The story tells of a little girl named Heidi who was brought to her grandfather in the mountains. Heidi’s guardian Dete has decided to leave Heidi to her grandfather after both of her parents died. Many of the villagers are aware of the bad tempered Alp-Uncle who lives in the mountains. At first, Alp-Uncle was not really into taking care of Heidi but eventually, he has learned to love her. Heidi’s charisma taught Alp-Uncle loving and caring feelings towards life.
Everyday, Heidi would tour the mountains with his friend Peter who is a shepherd.
One day, Dete cam back to bring Heidi to Frankfurt and accompany a rich but wheelchair-ridden young girl Klara where Heidi could live in luxury. It was a bad experience for Heidi for she missed Alp-Uncle and the mountains a lot. When the people in the mansion noticed Heidi’s homesickness, she was returned to her grandfather.
After a couple of days, Klara has decided to visit Heidi. It was a wonderful experience for Klara which became her healing experience and made her walk. In the end, Klara and her family thanked Heidi and Alp-Uncle for their kindness.
There are four main characters in the story; Heidi who is the main character is a simple but very charming little girl. She loves the mountains and nature. She is also caring and loving. Alp-Uncle is Heidi’s grandfather. At the beginning of the story, he was described as a grumpy old man but eventually, Heidi was able to change his outlook in life and was seen with great kindness.
Klara is Heidi’s friend in Frankfurt. She is an ill little girl but was inspired to be positive in life with Heidi’s help. Lastly, Peter is Heidi’s friend in the mountains.
He is a shepherd. When Klara visited Heidi in the mountains, he was jealous to have Klara as a competition for Heidi’s attention. Eventually, they made three good friends. The book immediately injects a notion that most of the time; females have weaker dispositions in the society. They are represented to be weaker but with superior feelings of emotional understanding. On the other hand, the male characters are presented as leaders and seen as having any uncaring emotions towards others. The book reinforces the social expectations for both genders.
One example is the manifestation of Peter’s character who is tasked to do laborious work like herding the goats and sheep. Also, Alp-Uncle was perceived to have more knowledge in carpentry which is basically perceived as a work designed for men. On the other hand, females’ characters are presented in a passive aspect by making them helpless like Peter’s grandmother who is weak and blind and Klara who is also sick. Personally, my favorite children’s book was Peter Pan. Basically, the notion of gender dispositions can also be seen in the story as with Heidi. Peter Pan, as a boy, is projected to have powers and has a quality of leadership.
Although he usually gets into troubles, he is able to solve them in the end. Wendy also has the same characteristics as Heidi’s who is caring and loving but dignified. Probably, Peter Pan is marketed towards children who are interested in fantasy. The magical scenarios presented in the story are evident of stirring the imagination of children who are still not yet exploited with notions of gender dilemmas. This gave me a lesson that it is sometimes a matter of initial projection of ideas to younger children that will eventually shape our societies. Works Cited Spyri, Johanna. 1993. Van Gool’s Heidi. London: Magna Books
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