Nursery Rhymes | Attitudes & Behaviour
Do you remember the nursery rhymes of your childhood? Do you have your favorites ? Many nursery rhymes have negative connotations . I did some research . Read on to find out more about our much loved nursery rhymes ..
Nursery Rhymes | Negative connotations
These are some nursery rhymes that we used to grow up with that has negative connotations . Here are some of them .
- Humpty , dumpty had a great fall
- London bridge is falling down , falling down , falling down
- Jack and Jill went up the hill ( eventually Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after ..)
- Rock-a-bye baby (when the bow breaks , the cradle will fall)
- Three blind mice … (she cut off their tails with a butcher’s knife)
Well everything here seems to be pretty negative , with things falling down and getting hurt . Kind of scary isn’t it if we have to teach our young toddlers about such negative things and wonder how this will impact them when they grow up .
Personally , I don’t think I remember these nursery rhymes as being negative then , because no one told me , including my teacher . I just like the words , the sound and the rhythm that comes with it .
Nursery Rhymes | History and events
Many of the origin of nursery rhymes are associated with historical event , and some of them has lost its meaning over the passage of time . Some of these rhymes may appear innocent but they are used to spread subversive messages . In those days , commoners are not allowed to make direct criticism as this is punishable by death , but the rhymes allow the element of free speech . Some examples here
- Adam and Eve rhyme (When Adam delved and Eve span Who was then a gentleman) refers to the revolution in 1381 in England due to inequalities . At that time the bubonic plaque (also known as Black Death) killed many people caused by infested fleas carried by rodents (rats and mice) . Prices and wages rose . People no longer believe the church and the church influence declined substantially then . [see report] . The children’s song , “Ring around the rosy” is also about the plaque
- London bridge is falling down . This wooden bridge has it’s history traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay . . Many disasters struck the bridge . Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000′s . It was then fortified and re-built with the various materials . The bridge was later relocated
- What about humpty , dumpty ? The mysterious Humpty dumpty is actually a large cannon used during the English civil war (1642~1649) . In the town of Colchester , they placed this huge cannon called Humpty Dumpty on the wall next to St Mary’s Church . Humpty Dumpty was blown to pieces and the Royalist opened the gates of Colchester and surrendered to the Parliamentarians .
Nursery Rhymes | Direct reference
Earlier we mention that certain nursery rhymes has hidden meaning with a direct reference to someone or something . Here are some very examples
- Jack and Jill (Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after) . Here jack is King Louis XVI who lost his crown (beheaded) and Jill refers to his wife , Queen Marie Antoinette who followed him shortly after . [see story here]
- Mary , Mary quite Contrary is a hidden reference to English Queen Mary Tudor (daughter of King Henry Viii , who tend to go against her father and brother ) who tortured and executed Protestants . The Queen is also known as Bloody Mary !!
- In the case of the “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes , who is actually mother goose ? The mysterious mother goose is actually a witch . [see report here]
Nursery Rhymes | Impact on our children
Now that we know the stories surrounding these nursery rhymes which seem to have negative connotations , do they have any impact on pour children ? As an adult we certainly can understand the negativity but does our children understand at such young age . It certainly did not cause any negative impact on me then , eventhough I was blasted with all these rhymes unknowingly . Simple reason for I didn’t know of such negativity for no one told me . Even if someone told me , as a young child , I probably could not comprehend either for I may not even fear , or be able to relate the severity of what happens when the bow breaks in rock-a-bye baby then . Perhaps I am too young to even understand these adult hidden agenda and its negative elements in the story . They are simply too complex for me as a young child . That’s my opinion of course . Others may differ .
I think the whole intention of nursery rhymes is to get the child into proper syllabic pronunciation and therefore easy pronunciation . Rhymes are interesting and fun , and they need not have to have any logical meaning. They are just merely words arranged in a rhythmic manner to ease remembering and perhaps , with a simple story. In a nutshell i think nursery rhymes help our children to remember (citations) and learn better , and adds a lot more fun .
Here are some studies done on this subject matter [read this] . I guess we can always pick other nursery rhymes that does not have negative connotations at all for our children , just to be sure . By the way , please switch off that TV for it has too much violence !!