I loved Flossie and the Fox and Kynard’s blog post about it. Kynard points out the difference in the opening lines from ‘once upon a time’ to ‘did i ever tell you about the time’. She posits that this makes little black girls an active participant in the story which I think is such an interesting insight. I’m not sure I totally understand why she says that the second makes the listener more a active participant, but I’m not sure I disagree either. I think it does make the story much more present, rather than once upon a time that starts off the story at such a remove. I wonder about what the patterns are of opening lines of different traditions of storytelling, and what that can tell us about the stories themselves, the cultures they come from, or the purposes the stories were playing. I also was wondering with Flossie if this was a purposeful retelling of Red Riding Hood as Kynard nodded to, or if it was more of a similar themed folktale that had traveled through separate storytelling traditions.
Pax was such a rich and beautiful story! I appreciated reading Melson’s essay alongside to think more about the pethood/domestication themes coming up. I think it’s so interesting that Pennypacker chose to write about a domesticated fox rather than a more common pet like a dog or cat to be able to really explore the porous boundaries of tame/wild. Pax’s story mirrored so closely to what Melson discusses as a possible beginning to the wolf’s domestication, it feels like commentary on our whole history of domestication and the complicated relationships that come along with it. I wonder why Pennypacker felt called to marry the themes of wildness/tameness in animals and the pain of war, and if it’s connected to the sort of wildness/animality we often attribute to actions during war. As I was reading I was also thinking back to Fraustino’s critique of anthropomorphism and the other animal POV stories we’ve read and how this feels incredibly different. Pax doesn’t feel anthropomorphized or humanized in the same ways but perhaps more truly captured as an animal’s perspective.
Such a rich meditation on all of the texts…thank you. We will definitely want to discuss Flossie and the Fox in context of different cultural traditions of storytelling…and I agree with you that Pax is a powerful example of the tame/ wild distinction since a domesticated fox is less expected. I was interested to see that you feel that the fox is not anthropomorphized. I felt the same way, truly, and found myself wondering why….CH