Cartoons and Children Essay

Pages: 5 (1436 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Cartoons

What is an important message conveyed by this episode?

The most apparent message conveyed in the season two Spongebob Squarepants episode entitled, "The Bully" is that violence should not be met with violence. No matter how frightened he is, Spongebob remains heroically passive. In fact, Spongebob's passivity could be construed in a negative manner because he seems all but resigned. For example, he answers the phone "Death Row" and writes out his will. He surrenders completely, giving up because he does not have it in him to use violence and not merely because Flatts is many times Spongbob's height and weight. Spongebob Squarepants, the hero and protagonist of the series, is simply good, peaceful, and fair.

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The message is clearly Ghandi-like, teaching children to value the highest possible ethical principles at all costs. Spongebob ultimately has to allow Flatts the Flounder to pounce him, which would seem a gesture of weakness. In fact, by resisting violence, Spongebob emerges as a unique type of hero that very much echoes Ghandi's principles of ahimsa. Spongebob even goes so far as to save Flatts' life and even demonstrates genuine concern for the bullying flounder when he passes out at the end of the episode. Spongbob's nonviolent resistance to the bullying reveals the character's depth of compassion and respect for all life. In the end, Spongebob triumphs in spite of not being able to physically outdo Flatts Flounder. Spongebob Squarepants stuck to his principles steadfastly and his inner strength allowed him the upper hand. The bully is physically more powerful but Spongebob Squarepants possesses far more innate wisdom and ethical integrity.

2. Is there anything positive for children about this episode?

Essay on Cartoons and Children Assignment

The Bully" episode has tremendous value for children. Bullying is a common problem in schools and playgrounds and so most if not all viewers will be able to relate to the episode. Even children who are not bullies or who will never be bullied will at some point observe children being mean to each other in school. At some point social intimidation if not outright physical aggression will create a conundrum for a child. The Spongebob Squarepants episode demonstrates that not all bullying needs to degenerate into a cycle of violence.

Spongebob Squarepants also proves that nonviolent resistance can be a legitimate key to solving problems. If the episode depicted Spongebob triumphing over the bully because he was finally able to kill him then the message would be totally different and wholly inappropriate for young children. Instead, the episode presents Spongebob solving his dilemma using peaceful means. Spongebob Squarepants becomes the unlikely victor against the bully, showing children that success is possible against all odds.

3. Is there anything negative for children about this episode?

Although mainly positive, the episode does send some controversial and contradictory messages. For example, Spongebob's passivity in the face of intimidation may connote weakness. Standing up for oneself is a justifiable and sometimes healthy response to bullying, and children need to learn how to verbally defend themselves and build character through uncomfortable social situations. Spongebob runs, hides, and is afraid. Moreover, Spongebob is shown to be trying very hard to earn the respect and friendship of the flounder. He gives up only after he realizes that the flounder's only goal is to "kick his butt." Spongebob's reactions to the bullying are not necessarily the best way to deal with the threat of physical aggression. Children need to learn how to navigate through tricky bullying dilemmas without either surrendering pride or acting with violence and impunity. A child can earn great respect from peers by standing up to a bully verbally or with confidence

On the other hand, children can worsen their social status at school by running, hiding, and shying away from problems like Spongebob does in "The Bully." Essentially, Spongebob reacts to the bully out of pure fear. His being able to resist the bully is depicted as an accident, not as a skill Spongebob learned. Spongebob did not even know that he was capable of absorbing the Flounder's blows until he put on his blindfold and let the bully punch him. What could be construed as innate inner strength -- the ability to absorb infinite hits -- is instead a form of luck. In reality, no child can absorb blows from a bully.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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