Thursday, October 21, 2010

Princess Bride Readalong - Milestone 3

The Princess Bride readalong continues, and this week we were to read the sixth chapter of the book. As we are getting towards the end of the book, things should be coming towards the conclusion, and yet somewhat curiously, not a lot happened in this chapter. Things happened, but really there was a lot of repetitiveness and didn't really move things forward all that quickly.

What I did finish the chapter contemplating was how dark this chapter was. The author(s) use a very light language to describe very dark actions. We have murder plots, torture and deception amongst other things.

I was reminded that Goldman is not the only one to use this kind of tactic when it comes to these dark themes. Many of our nursery rhymes and children's songs have darker meanings than you would think if you didn't know about them.

For example, Ring a Ring O' Rosy is supposed to reference the Black Plague. It was commonly believed that sneezing was a sign that you were going to die, hence the all fall down (dead)

Ring a Ring O' Roses,
A pocketful of posies,
Atishoo! Atishoo!
We all fall down!

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary refers to either Mary, Queen of Scots or Queen Mary (Tudor) with silver bells and cockle shells referring to torture tools if it is Bloody Mary!

Mary, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow,
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row

I am sure that there are other nursery rhymes whose macabre beginnings have been lost over the years. Do you know of any?


  1. I agree, most of the nursery rhymes really aren't very nice. Just picture a cradle falling out of a tree . . .

  2. It was a pretty dark chapter. Very different from the previous ones.

  3. Or Humpty Dumpty falling and breaking. Not even all the king's horses and all the king's men could put him back together again. I don't know the origin of this nursery rhyme, but it certainly doesn't sound good!

  4. From what I can remember Humpty Dumpty is about a big cannon that fell off a castle wall or something!

    That's one of the suggestions put forward (although there are others as per this entry from Wikipedia -

  5. I've always loved your visual of Amelia Earhart, since my writing is set in her era, and today I couldn't resist saying that I just had lunch with a colleague at the college who is retiring this year, and the first thing she's going to do in her retirement is--take flying lessons!

    I'm too cowardly, but I admire her (and Amelia).