Sunday, January 14, 2024

Poem: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at The Ugly Duckling" by Alison Stone

Thirteen Ways of Looking at The Ugly Duckling
Alison Stone

1. Hans Christian Anderson was an “ugly” boy – tall with a big nose and big feet. He grew up to have a beautiful singing voice.
2. It’s speculated that Anderson was the illegitimate son of King Christian VIII of Denmark and discovered this shortly before writing The Ugly Duckling.
3. In the Disney version, the young bird’s struggles last a few minutes, not a few months.
4. The creatures who abused the cygnet don’t come to see his beauty. Rather, he widens his social circle and finds others like himself.
5. Some middle and high school students lack access to a wider social circle.
6. For bullied teens, the seven years of middle school and high school can feel like an eternity.
7. Though seen as a happy story because of its ending, The Ugly Duckling reinforces, rather than presents solutions to, the problem of tribalism.
8. In philosophical logic, the Ugly Duckling theorem argues that classification is impossible without bias and that a duckling is as similar to a swan as two swans are to each other.
9. Is a pimply, coarse-featured girl as similar to a prom queen as two prom queens are to each other?
10. What about a fat kid? A trans kid? A refugee?
11. The cygnet’s suicide attempt is forgotten once he joins the swans.
12. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Americans aged 15-24. Nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide, and 9% have made an attempt.
13. The leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States is firearms. In this way, American youth resemble the wild geese the cygnet found refuge until they were shot.

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