Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Calvin and Hobbes": An En-Uk Perspective

Calvin and Hobbes (April 1987), page 51
(Image from s-anand.net)

En-Uk turns nine years old next week on Wednesday, so we're getting into more sophisticated literature in our daily homeschooling sessions.

For instance, he loves reading works of theology and politics like Bill Watterson's great comic strip, "Calvin and Hobbes," so we're gradually making out way through the first Calvin and Hobbes collection published in book form, Calvin and Hobbes (April 1987).

Yesterday evening, we reached page 51 and encountered the strip that appears above:
En-Uk read, "Here's a good movie! 'Vampire Sorority Babes'!"

"You know what a vampire is?" I checked, pretty sure that he knew.
En-Uk nodded.
"And 'sorority'?" I asked.


"A 'sorority'," I explained, "is a girl's club in college. The word means 'sisterhood'."
En-Uk nodded to signal that he understood.
"And 'babes'," I asked, "do you know what 'babes' means?"


"The word 'babe' here," I explained, "means 'beautiful woman'."
Again, En-Uk nodded his understanding. He then read the remainder of the strip without difficulty though I had to explain why no one under 18 could get in to see the film:
"Too scary," I told him.
That wasn't entirely true, of course, but at 8 years old, En-Uk is much too young to understand the so-called 'facts' of life. Visually, the strip was funny enough for En-Uk to laugh at:
"Ha, ha, ha," En-Uk laughed. "Calvin likes hos!"
Astonished at what I seemed to have heard and wondering where En-Uk could have picked up such trashy street rap, I asked myself: "He knows that 'whores' are called 'hos'?"
"What did you say?" I asked, checking to make sure.

"Hos," En-Uk repeated, then seemed to correct himself, "Whores."
I stared at him.
Finally, he succeeded: "Horrors. Calvin likes horror movies."
Whew! That was a relief. En-Uk needed no intensive debriefing but merely a bit more practice enunciating the letter "r" in difficult words like "horror," which usually is a horror for Koreans to pronounce, and En-Uk, having lived here on the peninsula since he was seven months old, is far more Korean than American.

Otherwise, my literary mind, confronted with En-Uk's uncanny knowledge, might have had inklings of such lost innocence as the sort explored by Henry James in The Turn of the Screw, a horror story in its own right.

I'm not entirely rational...

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At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can emphatize with En Uk's problem with pronunciation of certain letters. My problem was SPELLING, as some noted in my previous blog re BAWLS, in which I inadvertantly replaced a 'W' with an 'L' causing myself much grief of mind, and becoming the recipient of several snide remarks.
Incidentally, I have a Calvin & Hobbes book, which has been the source of much pleasure, not to mention opening the mind to some in depth comments by Calvin, in his attempts to solve many riddles in the universe. That is about the level of my intellectual plateau.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, it's a pretty high plateau for someone more accustomed to the rather low Ozark Plateau. Perhaps it'll acclimate you for Heaven's Tableland.

I remember your Calvin and Hobbes book, for En-Uk took some time to page through it when we visited your farm back in February.

Keep working on your spelling.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:22 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

you made me laugh, but miss those days when the boys were in elem.
You mention "homeschooling". Do the kids go out to a day school?

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, they go to school during the day -- Korean school. That's precisely why I homeschool, namely, so that they can learn English better and get a more flexible, Western-based education in creative and critical thinking.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:36 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

do they have other American children to relate with and discuss the cultural aspects you are introducing them to?

At 11:38 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Uncle Cran,
I assumed your spelling "error" was intentional!!! sure made me think!
P.S. -haven't had updates from you recently, how goes it?

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, their only American contacts are at Seoul International Baptist Church.

By the way, don't let Uncle Cran fool you -- his spelling was not unintentional. Which is not to say that it was intentional, but I think that I now know from which side of the family I got my bawdy (or is that body?) humor.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of my friends thought my spelling "error' was intentional, others felt it was inadvertant.
Since it almost caused my (shall we say favorite?) nephew to CROAK, or in a sense actally to do so, I still feel a faint glimmer of remorse.
Gay is still having health problems, which her doctor calls polymyalgia rheumatica and is treating such with prednisone.
We in the Hodges clan are known to have a 'different' approach to humor, which sometimes gets me in trouble.
For instance, when someone says, "You sure look like Woodrow," I always say, "I hate to hear that, I always wanted to look like Tom Selleck." One of his friends took me to task, thinking I was "dissing" my brother.
Sorry to say, nephew Jeffery has brought this failing to a different level (not to say whether such is elevated or lowered by him).
Sometimes a good laugh lifts the spirits.....so cheer up, folks!

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I like to think that I have elevated the negative to greater heights of depraved humor.

In that, I suffer from delusions of Crandeur...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I had to explain why no one under 18 could get in to see the film:
"Too scary," I told him.
That wasn't entirely true, of course,..."

True enough I think.


At 3:58 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, the real reason would also be quite scary...

Jeffery Hodges

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