Thursday, September 8, 2011

Philosophy for Children: A Pocket for Corduroy

My son read A Pocket for Corduroy to me recently. It isn’t listed on the Philosophy for Children website that I mentioned last time, but I noticed a couple of philosophical themes and my son and I discussed them.
The story is a sequel to the story of Corduroy’s purchase by Lisa. Lisa and her mother go to a Laundromat along with her bear. Corduroy gets lost when he goes looking for a pocket, and through a series of events he ends up trapped for the night in a “cage” (a laundry basket). Corduroy assumes it is a zoo cage, and he says he doesn’t like it. The next morning Lisa comes looking for her bear, and when she finds him she tells him that she would have given him a pocket had he just asked.
The two topics that my son and I discussed were the nature of freedom and the nature of friendship. Regarding the former, I asked my son about Corduroy getting caught in the cage. I asked him why he didn’t like it. He said it was because he was trapped. I asked him why being trapped was bad. He said it was because it is a zoo and the animals smelled bad. I asked if the cage was actually in the zoo and if there were other animals. Hesaid there were no other animals. I then asked again why Corduroy didn’t like the cage. He said once again that it was because he was trapped. I asked if he’d like being trapped. He said no, and he said that no one likes to be trapped.
The next topic we discussed was friendship. I asked him why Lisa said she’d give the bear a pocket if he asked, and my son said that Lisa and Corduroy are friends, and that a friend would give Corduroy a pocket if he wanted one. I asked him why he thought that, and he said because it was nice. I asked if friends should do nice things for each other, and he said yes. It was bedtime at this point, so we called it a night at this point.