1. “‘Well,’ he said, ‘I will come, too. But let me advise you not to pay too much heed to their fears, — that will only make matters worse’” (Anthology 794).
When I first read this, I thought the father robin was being a bit harsh in suggesting that the mother not seriously consider her children’s fears. However, after some consideration, I do realize the truth of his words. I remember that as a child the severity of my fears/sadness/pain often correlated with the amount of concern my mother gave me. If she was there to dote upon me, I completely gave in to whatever anxiety I was feeling. However, if I was alone, there was an inherent sense of apathy that arose, as I merely got up and moved on with the day.
This reminds me of a video I once saw, where a kid only cries in front of his mother. Must see:
2. “Though they are good to a great many birds, I am sure that they like us best” (Anthology 798).
I thought this was a bit presumptuous of the father – to presume that the humans liked them best. However, I guess it’s a common narrative strategy to distinguish your main characters as different from the others.
3. “The old bird, finding that Dicky would not venture to fly, went round him while Dicky was not looking. He waited till the little bird had once more spread his wings, and then came suddenly up behind and pushed him off the branch” (Anthology 802).
While I was initially put off by the father’s actions, I realized that he did the right wrong (at least, that’s how I interpret it). If I was on some sort of cliff and I to jump off in order to ensure my survival, I would be grateful that someone else had the courage to push me if I could not do it. However, at the same time, some encouragement by the father would’ve gone a long way in helping poor Dicky.
4. “They will be all the better friends for being sometimes apart” (Anthology 806).
The father’s remark appears similar to the common testament that many siblings become better friends after one leaves for college. Living in close quarters with others can often spark battles for territory and control. Once these issues no longer pose a problem, many are able to better appreciate their siblings. For my sister and me, this wasn’t entirely true. We bonded early on over TV shows, so her departure for college actually put a strain on our relationship.
5. “See that new-fledged wren; it only left the nest yesterday, and yet how bravely it skims along! Do not let it be said that a redbreast lies groveling on the earth, afraid to fly, while a little baby wren soars above him” (Anthology 808-9).
Another tactic for encouragement: comparison. Personally, I really dislike comparing as a measurement for worth because I’m often disheartened, not inspired, by it. Unfortunately, most of the world runs on comparison. Most things are judged as relative to one another: one is rewarded for surpassing “the average.”
It’s interesting to note that the father’s words do achieve their intended result: Dicky flies to the next. However, Dicky does so after “he felt ashamed of himself” (809).
6. “I quite dread the day when I must take care of myself, and never go back to the nest again” (Anthology 821).
Pecksy’s fear of the future reminded me of the final page in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, when her older sister nostalgically considers the loss of childhood imagination and wonder. In Pecksy’s case, it is carefree irresponsibility that she does not want to lose. Leaving “the nest” represents a sad, yet essential, step in personal development for both human and avian children. In the Wikipedia entry, it mentions that Trimmer agreed that “children should not be forced to become adults too early,” but Pecksy’s commentary serves as a slight nudge of what is to come (738).