Presentation on theme: "Briana Neal Neal-4 English I February 21,2013. Sheldon Allan Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 25, 1930 and is also known as Shel."— Presentation transcript:
Sheldon Allan Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 25, 1930 and is also known as Shel Silverstein or Uncle Shelly (Silverstein). According to some sources, he was born in 1932 (Kimmel). The reason why there are two different birth dates is because he was very protective over his personal information. He would “not let his publisher produce any personal information on him”, so many things may not be provided about his personal life (“Shel Silverstein”). His parents were Nathan and Helen Silverstein and he grew up in a lower class neighbor in the Logan Square area of Chicago (“Shel Silverstein”). He began writing as a young boy with his own style. Shel Silverstein married Susan Hastings. He had one daughter named Shoshanna born June 30, 1970 and a son named Matthew born in 1984. On May 10, 1999, the world was shocked by Shel Silverstein’s unexpected heart attack and death at the age of 69 (“Shel Silverstein”).
Silverstein admits that he had no authors as role models, and that he actually began writing and drawing at a young age because he “lacked athletic talent and a girlfriend” (Silverstein). This eventually led to his service in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea as a cartoonist for the military newspaper, Pacific Stars and Stripes. Shel Silverstein was drawn to folk music in 1960 and later became a respected composer. "A Boy Named Sue" was a poem written by Silverstein and made into the hit song sung by Johnny Cash in 1969 (Paul). During the 1960s, Tomi Ungerer, a close friend of Silverstein, encouraged him to write stories for children. He was an author himself and also illustrated some popular Children’s books (Silverstein).
Shel Silverstein was known to have written innumerable poems during his writing career as well children’s fiction books. Many poems written by Shel Silverstein contain alliteration. In fact, alliteration poems by Shel Silverstein are used in the US to teach young children the sounds of words (“Shel Silverstein). "A Boy Named Sue" in 1969, became a number one hit for Johnny Cash and won Silverstein a Grammy award for best country song. (Paul). His music composition for the film Postcards from the Edge won him a nomination for the prestigious Academy Award. The Giving Tree” published in 1964, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” released in 1974, “A Light in the Attic” which came out in the year 1981 and “Falling Up” of 1996 all won him distinguished writing awards. His works are filled with fun and are tinged with naughtiness which makes him popular among children. Over eighteen million copies of his works have been sold so far (Paul). Some of his popular stories have been translated and released in 20 languages (Silverstein).
Although Shel Silverstein’s poetry is criticized for its simplistic rhythm and rhyme, his playful themes and memorable characters have created a poetic legacy for generations of children to come.
Upon reading the title and seeing the accompanying illustration, my first impression was that it might be about a boy who lacked self - confidence and the poem would display his reasons why. Mama said I'd lose my head if it wasn't fastened on. Today I guess it wasn't 'cause while playing with my cousin it fell off and rolled away and now it's gone. And I can't look for it 'cause my eyes are in it, and I can't call to it 'cause my mouth is on it (couldn't hear me anyway 'cause my ears are on it), can't even think about it 'cause my brain is in it. So I guess I'll sit down on this rock and rest for just a minute... The Loser This poem tells about a boy who seems “lost” because he has physically lost his head after his mother has warned him that he must not do this. Since his head is gone with all the parts needed to find it, he sits down to rest...unknowingly, on his own head.
Mama said I'd lose my head if it wasn't fastened on. Today I guess it wasn't 'cause while playing with my cousin it fell off and rolled away and now it's gone. Connotation The reference here is to the idiom we commonly hear when someone is warned not to lose control, or to make sure not to become forgetful. However, the way in which the speaker (the boy) literally takes it, makes the entire premise of this poem silly. It seems Silverstein understood the way kids sometimes interpret things adults/parents might say. And I can't look for it 'cause my eyes are in it, and I can't call to it 'cause my mouth is on it (couldn't hear me anyway 'cause my ears are on it), can't even think about it 'cause my brain is in it. So I guess I'll sit down on this rock and rest for just a minute... Connotation Perhaps Silverstein was trying to tell his readers that, when there doesn’t seem to be any way to fix things, it is often a good idea to sit and maybe not worry about the things we cannot change. As a result, it may lead to a solution!
Works Cited Kimmel, Eric A. "Shel Silverstein: Overview." Twentieth- Century Children's Writers. Ed. Laura Standley Berger. 1995. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. Ed. Laura Standley Berger. 4th ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1995. Twentieth-Century Writers Series. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. Paul, Pamela. "Rules Meant to Be Broken." The New York Times Book Review 18 Sept. 2011: 35(L). Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. "Shel Silverstein." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2007. LitFinder for Schools. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. Silverstein, Shel. "Shel Silverstein." Publishers Weekly 208.8 (24 Feb. 1975): 50-52. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Tom Burns and Allison Marion. Vol. 96. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.