“There Was an Old Lady” retells the fantastical account of an elderly woman who swallows various animals in an ever-increasingly bizarre and grotesque display of ingurgitation. The following brief analysis will examine this nursery rhyme for critical thematic elements and possible problematic components.
The song opens as follows:
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly I don’t know why she swallowed a fly — perhaps she’ll die!
One should note the relative banality of the opening statement: While swallowing a fly is somewhat uncommon and an unpleasant experience, it is almost certainly not fatal. The utter confusion of the author is expressed, as he or she seems to believe that the woman must have swallowed the insect on purpose. Much more likely is that she did so by accident. Nevertheless, the author “blames the victim” in an attempt to explain the described event, and then seems to revel in the possibility that she may not survive the incident. Whereas most observers would spend the time helping the old lady, performing first aid techniques if necessary, and calling the paramedics if serious, the author instead decides to retell the event with no indication that any help was given. As can be seen in the following stanzas, the woman is left to correct the problem herself.Continue Reading
You know, there’s something to be said for intelligence. It’s a skill that’s really lacking these days. Its absence is evident in so many ways: the guy that cuts you off in traffic so he can race up to stop at the red light, the comments in class that just make you wonder what the heck the person was smoking before opening their mouth, or perhaps the person that tries to be funny and actually isn’t. And when I mention that last one, I’m not talking about people like me, whose humour is yet undiscovered. I’m talking about people that try to say intelligent jokes and insults, and fail miserably. These people are likely also the originators of “your mom” jokes, those dreaded insults that really have no effect anyway except to produce nausea in all within earshot.
I’m trying to think of a specific example from today. Of course, there are always pathetically stupid comments in class, like someone asking a question that was just answered about three seconds before they opened the hole in their head. As for lack of intelligent humour, that’s also evident sometimes, but not as much. I hate to say it, but Mr. G’s sense of humour is occasionally funny. I mean, most of his jokes are puns, which are about the lowest form of humour in existence (I’d put them right above the “your mom” jokes), but some of his jokes are inserted without break right into his teaching. He’ll be discussing something…Continue Reading