04 September 2006

Nursery Cryme

So, with the festival over (and weren't those fireworks loud!) it's time to return the Valves, as literally no-one is calling the blog, to the usual meandering trivia.

Meandering trivia number one is the analysis of nursery rhymes. As I was reading a book I've been trying to get on with for about a week now I came across a passage dealing with a child who had an imaginary friend called Jack. This led to his father wondering where he had chosen the name Jack from and suggesting Jack Frost, Jack Horner or Jack - brother of Jill.

This struck me as odd because I had never thought that Jack and Jill were brother and sister, only that they were friends. I began to ask people what they thought, and it turns out I am currently in a minority of one. Every other person I have asked has said they thought they were brother and sister.

My first caveat to this is that I have yet to ask anyone else who is an only child, as I think at the early age one is introduced to Jack and Jill one still sees the world entirely in terms of one's own situation. Therefore, I had no brothers or sisters so my first instinct would be that anyone I heard about would be the same.

Secondly I have analysed the rhyme in more depth and concluded that there is one statement in the verse that supports either side. In the "brother and sister" category is the fact that they went to fetch a pail of water, there seems to be consensus that they were sent to do this (although there is no evidence of this in the poem) and this would suggest siblings. However Jill's attempts to nurse Jack I think sway the opposite as I believe a sister would simply have run back home to tell their parents.

Why not have your own analysis of this and other nursery rhymes, and see where the thinking leads you. If you get to the point where you are discussing what the relationships are between the Wombles you'll be well on track!

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