Have you ever really thought about it? Just how did that Old Woman get all those kids in a shoe? Perhaps she had a unique architect like Frank Lloyd Wright who designed a house to look like a shoe, but it really wasn't a shoe at all? But if it was really a shoe, why a shoe? Surely, she could have found much more suitable accommodations for her brood. I can imagine the little hellions swinging from the laces and bouncing on the unbridled tongue to get themselves airborne, so as to make it swiftly and gracefully into the nearby pond.In all the pictures that accompanied this story of my youth, there was always a window in the top of the shoe. Were there actually two stories in that thing? Who did that home re-modification? And, where, prey tell, was that Old Man that got her into such trouble? Did he abandon these poor children and their mother without a penny to their name? Is that why they were living in a shoe? Did the courts know that he skipped town? That poor Old Woman.
I know that choosing to be a single parent is an option open to any mother, of any age and station in life. After all, we all know that it is not necessarily a prerequisite to have a husband in order to raise children. But the rhyme clearly states that she had so many children that she didn't know what to do. I would infer this to mean that it was not completely her choice to have so many young ones. Oh, the social injustices of it all!
It's difficult to say exactly what happened with this family. Perhaps the Old Woman had a husband at one time, but because she was opposed to birth control, she continued to have children and he left out of pure desperation.
Perhaps the two of them were alcoholic drug addicts and simply couldn't control their own behavior, and so, kept propagating without thought to the consequences for themselves or their children.
Or maybe the scene is much more sinister... perhaps this Old Woman was rapped and because the government did not support abortion in such a case, she was left with no choice but to keep these children from an unruly, criminal element. And maybe that's why she seemed to be so frazzled. Maybe the DNA that was passed to her innocent offspring made the wretched little beasts difficult to keep her sanity.
The moral of this story? I'm not sure, except that it really doesn't promote the idea of large families. Do you suppose that's why women are refraining from having more than two children - or sometimes, choosing not to have children at all? Could it be that this story rhyme of our youth took hold of the American female population, and ingrained in us the sense that motherhood is a burdensome and frustrating task? That perhaps choosing not to have children at all is a more responsible choice?
It's hard to tell exactly what Mother Goose had in mind when she shared this tale with us. But one interesting thing lingers on ... when I speak to my contemporaries, the mothers of my age, few of them have or will choose to share with their children these sorted tales. I wonder if that's a good thing? Could these old rhymes be watching over us, leading us to make solid decisions rather than rash ones? Could the secret subliminal psychology of the author of these stories actually have a hidden agenda? Could that agenda be anti-family?
What is your commentary - serious or satirical - about Mother Goose and her story rhymes?
Write your commentary in the comments, below.
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!