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Alissa at the apex: why it’s crucial to consume children’s media as an adult

Why abandon childhood when it’ll never abandon us?
Wallace Chuck
Classic children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web,” gets tied around Campus Editor Alissa Van Dress’ hands over winter break.

As college students, it’s natural for us to oscillate between the “Teenage Dream” and the “American Dream.” In this stage, we are at a crossroads. Somehow, Tax Day emboldens on our calendars and saved job postings settle in our computer. And yet, late night shenanigans still offer the best entertainment for students.

While adulthood is crashing in, my childhood still yearns for life. Like most people, I relive my childhood by consuming media that I once adored as a kid. In doing so, I return to the message at a different angle and learn things that I hadn’t noticed before.

Over winter break, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White fell into my hands again. I felt it would be smart to read children’s literature to advance my future career in the children’s entertainment industry. Also, I just wanted to read it for nostalgia.

I was surprised to relearn vocabulary that I had forgotten. For instance, the swallows appear as a motif in the book to symbolize the innocent adventure and freedom that the main character, Wilbur, craves. I must’ve been too caught up in my studies to remember that swallows exist, let alone what they are.

On the contrary, I wasn’t surprised to feel a deeper connection to the reading. Taking a step back from reading critical essays and complex texts was rejuvenating. I went back to the basics and zoomed out to understand the bigger picture of life and death—the metaphor implied by “Charlotte’s Web.”

It’s Charlotte who steps into a maternal role for Wilbur when he’s displaced on a new farm. She employs her ingenuity and creativity to save Wilbur’s life. Once Wilbur grows up, the roles are reversed and it’s Wilbur who saves lives, all thanks to Charlotte’s initial wisdom and friendship.

The problem I found with “adulting” is that it’s easy to lose touch with your childhood. With all the commotion of life, we forget that we started as children who wanted to play, learn, eat, sleep and repeat. Children live simply in the present. That child version of ourselves still remains, but it has now matured to understand a need for balance in our lives.

As we gain experience, we also develop wisdom that can be shared. Perhaps it’s best to preserve the inner child in us while accepting growth. I like to believe that it’s best not to let the world change you entirely, but to change the world in its entirety.

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About the Contributor
Alissa Van Dress, Campus Editor
Alissa Van Dress is a junior English major from Amherst, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing with minors in business, creative writing and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Previously, Alissa served as the copy editor at The Carroll News. In addition to her current role as campus editor, Alissa is a JCU football and basketball cheerleader, a writing consultant at the JCU Writing Center, works as a digital engagement ambassador for the JCU Carroll Fund, and serves on the visual arts committee for The Carroll Review. Also, she is honored to have co-founded the Theatre Club at John Carroll University. Other than writing, some of Alissa's favorite hobbies include musical theater, vocal performance, fashion, dance and cheerleading/acrobatics. After graduation, Alissa plans to write for children's entertainment.

To contact Alissa, email her at [email protected].

Comments (1)

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    Tate FarinacciFeb 23, 2024 at 12:36 pm

    Amazing work as always, Alissa!