Monday, March 7, 2011

if stream of consciousness wore lace and covered its ankles

I was recently introduced to "Goodnight Dune", a re-interpretation of Margaret Wise Brown's classic "Goodnight Moon", through the lens of Frank Herbert's Dune (or perhaps, based on the rendition of the floating and bloated baron, inspired by the 1984 film).

It was a timely find, because I have been musing over Goodnight Moon lately. It's a new favorite of Genghis's. I find it an intriguing mix of Victorian illustrations and post-Modern text. Kind of Mother Goose meets Jack Kerouac. The bedroom is so classic - fireplace, mantelpieces, doll house, rocking chair and dressing gown. The colors a vintage orange and green. But the text is spaceless, rambling. It's almost like we're thrown into the middle of a story that's been going for some time, introduced to a "great green room" and then given a litany of all it contains. Who are these rabbits? (We don't even know they're rabbits but for the illustrations.) Where is the great green room? How did we get here?

We're not even introduced to the Moon, which carries the book's title. We only say goodnight to it. Over time, I've seen there isn't an exact match up with the list of things we're introduced to and things we say goodbye to. The Victorian in me wants to re-write the text - assure Genghis that the moon, the socks, the clocks are really there, before we say goodnight to them.

Then we get to the existential "goodnight nobody", which blows my mind every time.

Am I on to something? Could this be the start of a beautiful dissertation? Or is this simply the inevitable ending of reading the same 12-page board book over and over again for weeks?

Footnote 1: For a literary take on Goodnight Moon, see Sparknotes: Goodnight Moon.

Footnote 2: Is it just me or does the line "a quiet old lady whispering hush" invoke an image that may better fit in a Alfred Hitchcock film?


Amy said...

Good Night Moon was my first favorite book ever, or so my parents tell me. I haven't read it for years, though. I've been re-reading some of my high school reads lately, because I have a completely different perspective on, say, the Great Gatsby and 1984 now that I'm adultish. But this makes me wonder if I should start looking back much earlier in my life...

tpmotd said...

I don't know about a dissertation, but try this one on for size:

Jen said...

The first time I sat down to read this book to my baby, I didn't get why it was so great. Seemed so random. I agree, goodnight nobody? what's that about? Nonetheless, it grew on me and my kids have both loved it. Margaret Wise Brown's other kids books are some of my favorites.

Janssen said...

I will never read this book the same way again.