Somewhere in Dreamland: My Favorite Cartoon of All Time and How It Portrays Childhood Poverty

Courtesy of Max Fleischer.

“But I’m still hungry, Mom!”

The mother doesn’t yell at the boy or scold him for being ungrateful. She starts crying. She’s not angry at the boy for being selfish; he’s a child. Children are naturally selfish. No, she’s torn up because, despite everyone’s best efforts, she can’t provide enough for her children. I’ll let you in on a little secret — I grew up in grave poverty as a young child. Both of my parents could barely pay their bills and groceries to survive. And, when I see this cartoon mother cry, I can imagine the pain my parents must’ve gone through when they felt they couldn’t provide enough for me and my sister. The whole point of being a parent is providing the best opportunities for your children, and when you can’t do that, you feel awful about it — like you’ve failed not just as your job as a parent, but at life itself.



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Emily Alexandra

Just some autistic person wanting to write and write. I also like to draw and have a cat and dog that are my life. I publish on 8th, 18th, and 28th every month.