Reading Philosophy

Sep 05, 2006 02:50 # 43406

Bunk *** wants to know...

The Little Red Hen's Agenda

You should all be familiar with the story of the little red hen, who bakes bread all by herself, then refuses to share it with those didn't help her. This story is disseminated through our society, subverting our culture and embedding itself in our consciousness.

The question is, in an allegorical sense, in this a propaganda piece for socialism, or capitalism?

Just try formulating an argument for either. I've done it, it's much fun...

"History is more or less bunk." - Henry Ford

This post was edited by Bunk on Sep 05, 2006.

Feb 29, 2008 02:27 # 45468

harold_maude *** replies...

Re: The Little Red Hen's Agenda

Hello...well, let's take a look at both sides before deciding which one of the choices fits all the characters, because with out doing that it's going to end up being a cut and dried decision depending on which way your leaning, social view wise.

First we have the little red hen. She is an archaltype of a very productive social structure. (socialism)
She finds something useful, in this case a wheat seed, and does something with it because she knows what she is looking at.
In all agracultural societies there is a pattern of taking what you find and doing something with it.
In tribal society, the tendency is tord living in balance.

The first tends to kind of run over everything and eventually becomes some kind of very large machinery distroying what won't confom to the rules of the machine. (capitalism)

(But if you look at what capitalism really is, it's hard to see this as a capitalist propaganda peice, because with capitalism you would see the red hen not eating the loaf of bread, but using the bread to make a profit off of everyone else.
She would then turn that profit into more loaves of bread and because she is the only bread producer around she would end
up gaining power over the others by controlling how much was available and how much it cost. hmmm...)

Ok so we have little miss hen here who finds this seed and knows what it's worth.
She is willing at first to share what ever it will produce.
What does she find? A bunch of individuals who have no interest in helping.

Somehow this sounds alot like daily life for many things and many jobs.

After she tries to enlist the aid of several too busy to help folks, she gets pissed off and decides to do it herself.

Hey this could be a story about what happens when everyone else fails and a person is forced to do things for themselves...hmmm
maybe it is all just propaganda after all, but not for socialism or capitalism, but rather to show the difference between a selfish lazy life and a selfish busy life, or something like that.

Could be an subversive feminist plot behind all thoes cute words...
humor aside.

Back to disecting this thing. I think there was a dog in there somewhere and duck and wasn't there a pig as well and goose too?
I'm sure I remember the dog.
Seems all the dog wanted to do was play.
If there was a dog in the story the dog would represent people who are more interested in having fun than in working, even when it means that the work will produce something amazing at the end.
I'm going to have to get a copy of the story so I can see the characters and the conversations the hen had with each one.

Each of them represent something to the whole.
And each of them only want to share in the end product...

I've always seen this story as an alagory for what most people end up being like most of the time.
But socialism or capitalism?
In socialism there are no individuals higher or more powerful than any other.
They are all equal under the system.
But this story isn't about what's equal, but it does speak to fairness to an extent.
And I think the idea of socialism is about equality and fairness.

So I don't think it's about socialism or captialism, I'm having trouble trying to fit thoes ideologies into what's in the story.

It would be interesting to see when it was written and if the author who wrote the book wrote anything else other than children's books.
If it was written by someone who had some kind of political adgenda because of other peices written about politics it would be easier to pin this story to one ideology or another.

Sounds like it's time to do some reading...I'll be back.

This post was edited by harold_maude on Feb 29, 2008.

Feb 29, 2008 03:10 # 45470

harold_maude *** replies...

Re: The Little Red Hen's Agenda

Here's what I found out about the red hen.

The man who wrote the story was named Joseph Jacobs.
He was born August 29, 1854 and died on January 30, 1916
He was born in Sydney and died in Yonkers New York.

He was a literary and Jewish historian.

He had a large collection of fairy tails. And the little red hen is discribed as a fable.
He also wrote Jack, the giant killer, and Goldy locks and the three bears. Which is just titled the three bears in the list of everything the man wrote.
He did alot of editing on old work as well.

It's amazing how much the man did.

This all comes from the Wickapedia.

After reading the story, yes I found a really cool one with a moving picture of the hen and everything, I don't think it's about either socialism or capitalism because socialism was after his time I think, wasn't it connected to the russian revolution.
I could be wrong...more research. Capitalism is a more currant, like last century 1900's ideology isn't it?
According to the information he died just before the first world war, and the story of the red hen was written before then, so I'm not sure that the idea for the story was about either of thoes things, but about something much older, like morals and values and something definately religious based.

Be back with information on the russian revolution and how the ideologies of socialism and captialism got started and where they came from..then maybe I can give some kind of intelligent answer to this question.

The earliest reference to socialism is about 1830. And the beginning of capitalism is much older, the roman empire.

the more I read, the less I see how the red hen can be connected to either one.
I think it's about something else entirely.
That's my answer.

This post was edited by harold_maude on Feb 29, 2008.


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