Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tell Them Anything You Want a Portrait of Maurice Sendak

Yesterday, I found: Tell Then Anything You Want a Portrait of Maurice Sendak on Hulu it is a wonderful portrait of the author of  Where the Wild Things Are.  I found it refreshingly real.  Hulu says this film is only available for a short time.  I hope you get a chance to watch it.

Here are some discussion questions:

  1. Notice the ladder in the story of his mother's pregnancy and then again in the kidnapping story. What does a ladder come to symbolize for him?
  2. From an early age his parents explained to him that he was another mouth to feed, that he was a burden to care for. He says that in the book Outside Over There he explains how he sees his relationship with his sister. (Notice also the ladder.) How does his relationship with his sister compare to his current companion and caretaker? He describes her as, "The person who thinks I am worth the trouble of being cared for."  Do you find him to be worthy of being cared for?  Are you worthy of being cared for?
  3. How did his father describe his childhood laughter? What do you think happened to the bell?
  4. Why do you think he stays within the genre of children's literature? He says that when he is in his studio he feels sublime and talks about purity. At the same time he says that he doesn't think that children have to be sheltered from the truth. He believes he has been more truthful than other children's authors. He says, "you can tell them anything you want if it is true, if it is true, you tell them." Do you find any synthesis between the sublime he experiences while creating and the truth he faces in his work?  Why do you think he longs for purity?
  5. He found great vindication when he met the author who had a copy of the newspaper article he had seen at 2 years old. Do you think that Sendak's work vindicates the truth of his reader's experience, especially children, or is he simply honoring his own truth?
  6. Do you think Sendak is embracing his whole heart?  Why or why not?