- Director Handout on Pippi Longstocking
1. Who purchased Pippi's horse and where does he live?
Pippi bought him with her own gold coins. He lives on the front porch of her house. When Tommy asks her about this, she says that "he'd be in the way in the kitchen, and he doesn't like the parlor." It's an example of the way she simply doesn't live by other people's rules or notions of the ways things should be.
2. Where do the policemen want to take Pippi?
To a children's home. What they don't realize is that Pippi is more than capable of taking care of herself. By the end of the chapter, the men recognize that this child is not going to be forced to do anything she doesn't want to do. This episode is an example of how people assume things about children in general that simply don't apply to Pippi.
3. What makes Pippi decide she should start school?
The fact that she would get vacations. This is humorous because of course Pippi's whole life is one long vacation. Since her purpose in going to school is not to learn, everyone is happier when she's not in school.
4. If the Mighty Adolf is the strongest man in the world, why can Pippi throw him in wrestling?
Because she's the strongest girl in the world. This episode demonstrates Pippi's anarchic and non conformist attitude to the world and the range of responses people give to it--from laughter and approval (from the audience) to sheer rage (from the ringmaster and the Mighty Adolf).
5. When the little boys are trapped in the attic of a burning building, how does Pippi rescue them?
By having Mr. Nilsson take a rope up a tree and climbing up to get them out. This is an example of Pippi's bravery and strength, but also her obliviousness to what others are thinking and feeling. She's totally at ease, but others are very frightened. Finally, though, she's the only one who manages to rescue the little boys and she enjoys the cheers in her honor.
Pippi is a child's fantasy: she's strong, rich, and without any authorities to boss her around. She doesn't bother with the categories and issues that other people find important, like where a horse should stay. She doesn't have to obey authority figures like policemen or teachers. And she's a hero to other children for her freedom from the things other children are always subject to, like school, conventions, adults. Finally, she never uses her strength to hurt or bully others--only to humiliate bullies and to help the helpless.
Passagist Handout on Pippi Longstocking
1. "Way out at the end of a tiny little town . . . " (11).
The introduction to the book introduces us to the topsy-turvey values of the book. We first realize that we're in for a different kind of story when the sentence "She had no father and mother" continues "and that was of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun, and no one who could make her take cod liver oil when she much preferred caramel candy." Rather than a story of a pathetic orphan girl, then we have the story of a gloriously free nine-year old. Rather than highlighting her deprivation, this opening paragraph emphasizes the privileges.
2. "It's wicked to lie," said Annika. . . . "If I should happen to lie now and then, you must try to excuse me and to remember that it is only because I stayed in the Congo a little too long. We can be friends anyway, can't we?" "Oh, sure," said Tommy and realized suddenly that this was not going to be one of those dull days" (17-18).
Pippi's fertile imagination and her tendency to make up any kind of story on the spot make her both threatening and appealing to others. She lies all the time, not maliciously, but for the entertainment value. Her lies, rather than being attempts to deceive, are part of what make her fun to be with and entertaining. She also mentions all of the many places around the world where customs are different but not necessarily bad. (Which is not to say that her pictures are accurate!) Part of Pippi's appeal and power, as Tommy's response suggests, is her ability to tell stories. Things are never dull when Pippi's around.
3. Oh, probably," said Pippi. "No doubt I should lie awake nights . . ." (41).
Pippi's conversation with the policemen reveals that the real concern adults have about Pippi is not her welfare, but their desire to control her. In this passage, she's responding to their assertion that she should worry about not knowing the capital of Portugal. Her casual response, however, shows them that she knows perfectly well what the capital is--she's even been there, which the policemen probably have not. They reveal their true motives in the response: "But then one of the policemen said that Pippi certainly didn't need to think she could do just as she pleased" (41). The real problem is adults don't want an independent child thumbing her nose at authority and telling them to go stuff it.
4. Story about Hai Shang (66)
Here Pippi is parodying the kind of children's story that is told simply for a lesson. Peter refuses to eat and so he dies. She ends the story: "He died. . . . No harm done." (66). Instead of being shocked and appalled by the death of the child, we're satisfied that the nest was used after all. The silly hyperbole also works to take the seriousness out of the story and make it funny rather than solemn: ex; "Peter kept his mouth shut tight from May to October." But how could he live?" "He couldn't live . . ."
5. Story about Malin (126-130).
Here Pippi mimics the mean-spirited comments that the adults are making about their house help and exposes their selfishness and egotism. Malin's behavior, so praised by Pippi, is so outrageous that the comments the ladies are making sound petty and stupid.
Throughout the book, Pippi's independence from adults and adult values makes her an appealing and irresistible companion to the conventional Tommy and Annika. Her story telling, coupled with her strength and wealth, are the things that give her interest and power. She is not locked into the stories adults want to tell about children as victims, rather, she makes fun of them and creates new stories that satisfy children's desires first, without regard for "appropriate morals."
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