Thursday, 12 April 2012

Nursery Rhymes- Decoded Messages

We have all gone through that phase of life when nursery rhymes were so dear to us and every time we finished learning one, we felt like we had accomplished something. They were the only mountains in our kindergarten classes we had to climb. Nursery rhymes have been recited all over the world by children and hence handed down  by the word of mouth. They play an important role in introducing the child to the tools of the language.
Rhymes like the Itsy-Bitsy spider teach the child hand-eye so-ordination or multi-tasking. Even our favorite 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' is used to relate the sounds to the right animal. But did you know that Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle little star both had the same tune? Well, that's not all that's hidden.
                  Nursery Rhymes are forms of coded messages of the political events and historic eras. Some of them take a gruesome turn such as the simple Jack and Jill. Originally Jack is colloquial for King Louis who was beheaded in the ancient ages. This is symbolized in the poem by "lost his crown". His Queen is said to have followed the same fate and so does the poem go. "Came tumbling after". Ring a Ring a Roses preserves the memory of the great plague of England that lashed out many lives. The roses or posies were held under the person's nose to prevent them from catching the plague. 'A tishew' refers to sneezing or that the person has already got the plague. And soon afterwards?... we all know how it ends...'We all fall down' (fall down dead that is).
                   Similarly, Humpty Dumpty, London Bridge all have tragic histories behind them. Yet we teach our innocent children such complex and negative rhymes without realizing what we're putting into their head. Is it right? Well, i'll let you decide on that.

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