Little Jack Horner – Discussion

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner
Eating a Christmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, “What a good boy am I!”

Anonymous

Discussion …

What is the meaning behind the well-known words of this nursey rhyme …

… my thoughts …… he sat in the corner … perhaps he didn’t want to be found out that he had taken the pie, he wanted to secretly have it to himself and not be disturbed … and what was he after – plums! … he ignored the pastry and put in his thumb searching for one … he seems impatient to get to the inside … though the pie is much more!… and he does seem to be a little self-centred and that anything slightly fortunate is due to him being good and deserving of such fortune … what if the plum had a stone which cracked a tooth … would that have indicated that he had done something bad.

… this nursery rhyme was given as the chapter-title-poem on Meaning and Idea in Laurence Perrine’s excellent book Literature – Structure, Sound, and Sense (isbn 0-15-55 1100-9) … the interpretation …the pie exists for the plum (at least for Jack) though the pie is much more! … poetry (pie) is more than just meaning (plum) … savour the whole poetry pie please … don’t just look for meaning … that’s right eat the pastry and enjoy with your custard! … take a holistic approach when reading poetry … don’t just search for your plums … savour the total poetic experience … even if the essence of the poem is alien to your point of view … and poems are not word puzzles to be interrogated by the mind of the reader seeking some justification for their existencu.

Well Christmas is coming and I guess presents will come your way in some form or other. So make sure you inspect the card carefully and unwrapp slowly and when you sight the the unwanted (don’t go plum crazy) be generous in your response no matter what … quite often the ‘unwanted’ can eventually be of use to you or someone else … and if you are a poet you should be well versed in the use of your imagination!

Footnotes …

… funny that even today some still think that if something “unfortunate” happens it is due to that person being bad … and globally the current world woes are, of course, due to the world being bad

The origins/history according to the Site below give a different perspective on this nursery rhyme … http://www.rhymes.org.uk/little_jack_horner.htm
… funny place to put valuables – in a pie … there again we used to have a coin in the family Christmas pudding … a three-penny piece from memory. And I must admit that as a child the main focus was on getting a coin.

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