[DWJ] Mermaids^Wmer-people (was HP)
mark at allums.com
Tue May 15 19:33:39 EDT 2007
Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
>> >Good save! Thanks! Not really want I was saying, but I did think of
>> >that while I was reading other posts. Children, as you say, must learn
>> >their stereotypes at some point. :)
> You know, apart from the fun to be had subverting them, I cannot for the
> life of me think why children need to learn stereotypes. They are after
> not innate to children, they are something adults impose.
> Precisely what useful function do stereotypes possess?
> [And I do understand the cognitive process of classification that allows
> children to build up categories and sub catgories of objects].
Think of it in logic, or mathematical terms. If stereotypes are going
to be learned, they must be learned at some point, either early or late.
My premise is that everyone learns stereotypes, voluntarily or
involuntarily. We simply cannot avoid it. The question is, should they
be taught, or allowed to form independently? I leave the answer up to you.
(To answer your question, stereotype exist for a reason. There is
always a truth behind them. Not all alcoholics are abusive, but many
are. Not all stepmothers are Evil, but many are. Not all hookers have
a heart of gold, but a few do. Etc. Stereotypes are a shortcut. They
save time. In a story, they can serve that purpose, saving thousands of
words of exposition. If you don't like that type of story, avoid it, if
you can. It's very difficult to avoid stereotypes completely. Some
authors do it automatically, and their writing, in my opinion, suffers
for it quite as much as one whose write suffers from the overuse of
them. I'm quite tired of The Ugly Duckling, even DWJ uses it. It's
become a cliche in children's lit.)
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