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Tag: archetype

Nice Does Not Equal Good

A lesson we must all learn at some point: ‘nice’ person does not equal ‘good’ person. I use these words as shorthand for ‘outwardly amenable’ and ‘morally generous’. Defining morality is a mammoth task in its own right and a nihilist might argue there’s no such thing as morality. I take the view that there is a shared cultural view of morality. Stories for children conform to that shared view. Banned books are usually at the vanguard of social change, which is why they are banned in the first place. Most banned books are tomorrow’s classics, their authors upheld as yesterday’s soothsayers.


naughty is not the opposite of nice

Classic fairytales explore the difference between niceness and goodness, though with problems: In fairytales, if a character was good-looking they were also unquestionably good. However, they did get into duplicitous behaviour, and the way people conceal their true motivations by acting in a friendly way. In classic fairytales the characters are archetypes, so there is no possibility of starting out nasty and later becoming nice.

In Snow White, the wicked stepmother dresses as a door-to-door pedlar woman. She is ‘nice’ to Snow White, offering to sell her a shiny, red apple. Snow White falls for the niceness. The audience learns she should have looked harder. Significantly, in most versions the step mother is illustrated as an ugly old woman with missing teeth and a face of wrinkles. This is her ‘true nature’, using the visual fairytale shortcut that ugliness equals bad character. The stepmother is most ugly at the moment her ugliness comes out.


Even after centuries of fairytales, we must all learn at some point that

  1. Looking good doesn’t mean being good
  2. Behaving nicely also does not mean being good.

The first is the easier lesson. The #metoo movement is highlighting the extent to which contemporary adults are still wrestling with the distinction between nice and good.

monsters nice not good

It’s hard to deal with the fact that nice people can be sexual predators or, rather, that sexual predators are most often very nice.  A boss who is nice to you may be very not nice to someone else, in private. An unwillingness to believe victims when they speak out is partly an unwillingness to believe women (because abuse is gendered), but is also an unwillingness to acknowledge that we are not as good at discerning character as we previously believed. Once you learn, really learn, that nice does not equal good, that skilled people with good jobs and families of their own can be terrible, you must embark upon the lifelong work of not turning into a complete misanthropist.

In adult literature, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies does a great job of portraying an abuser who is also ‘nice’. But during promotion of the American TV adaptation, various commentators showed a fundamental misunderstanding of how abuse works by saying it was really interesting to see a successful family man also be an abuser, as if those things don’t usually go together.

But when is it developmentally appropriate for children learn this lesson? That’s another question altogether. If we teach children too early that the nice people in their lives might just as easily be terrible behind closed doors, are they able to deal with that in their vulnerable positions?

Only parents can decide. If you would prefer your children to learn this sooner rather than later, there are children’s books which touch on big issues in a gentle way.



Terry Pratchett writes for an adult/YA crossover audience. His Tiffany Aching series (starting with Wee Free Men) features elves who are beautiful and magical and give children candy, but they are incapable of compassion or caring. The witches who watch over the people are petty, argumentative, difficult and always have a sharp word on the tip of their tongue. However, they do what’s right even when it’s the harder choice. Pratchett uses various ways of approaching this message,  but overall, Tiffany isn’t learning to be nice. She’s learning to do what’s right. Via the viewpoint of Tiffany, the reader is also asked to consider appearance vs morality.

Different in voice but similar in theme we have The Girl Who Drank The Moon. The characters are complex and our understanding of them evolves as the story progresses, with the character initially perceived to be evil/not nice (Witch) ultimately being revealed as good, while the character initially perceived as good/nice (Grand Elder) is ultimately revealed to be evil. Perception and deception are emphasised.  Superficial judgements may not accurately reflect true character. This makes it a more modern fairytale — in traditional tales, nice and nasty are inherent, immutable traits.


Joyce Carol Oates creates such a character in her YA novel Big Mouth and Ugly Girl. ‘Ugly’ refers to the way the heroine is seen, and how people in general (particularly girls?) are perceived by others whenever they stand up for what’s right. There’s no way of standing against the status quo without facing criticism from peers who are too afraid to stand up themselves.

I suspect female characters are more commonly used in these types of stories. We’re moving through a social period in which girls — for the first time ever — are properly taught to respect their own feelings and to reject social conditioning which teaches female people to prioritise others’ feelings over their own.

Similarly, witches have been used in many ways throughout the history of storytelling but the witch has turned — modern fictional witches may look nasty but their warts and hooked noses belie upright morals. Who’s in a better position to recognise injustice than witches, after all?

See also Gregory Maguire’s reimagining of the Wicked Witch Of The West in his novel Wicked.


J.K. Rowling used this trick in her characterisation of Snape. The message?  Teachers who are the most scary are sometimes also the most ‘good’. Appearances can be deceptive. Not just how someone looks, but their lack of social graces or unwillingness to ingratiate.

It’s impossible to give further examples of this technique without also spoiling stories, because the true intent of the ‘villain ally’ is utilised as a major reveal.

In any case, this ‘villain who’s actually an ally’ plot encourages readers to reconsider who are the real opponents and who are the real allies in their own life. At their best, these stories ask readers not to judge others too soon.

The inverse ideology would be: Trust your gut about people. This is also an ideology worth exploring.

Mirrors and Reflections 04: Doppelgangers

A doppelganger is an apparition or double of a living person. It comes from German, and translates literally from ‘double walker’. In fiction there are four main types of doppelangers:

  1. A ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts such a person.
  2. An evil twin.
  3. A remarkably similar double; a lookalike. This kind of doppelganger is also known as a ‘twin stranger’.
  4. (fantasy) A monster that takes the forms of people, usually after killing them.


Mr Monkey and Mr Monkey stuck together, from the Japanese picture book Kuttsuita by Miura Tarou

Mr Monkey and Mr Monkey stuck together, from the Japanese picture book Kuttsuita by Miura Tarou

Our picture book app Hilda Bewildered makes use of a doppelgänger, who may or may not exist in the real life of the story. The purpose? To demonstrate the theme: That there is really not that much difference between rich kids and poor kids other than circumstance of birth. Or as I heard Julian Fellowes say in an RNZ interview, in his experience there are genteel, good-looking and smart people to be found at every level of society.

Hero and the Imagined Self from Hilda Bewildered

Hero and the Imagined Self from Hilda Bewildered

The ghost writer of this Alfred Hitchcock novel from 1978 used the concept of the doppelgänger in a very camp way. Read accordingly.

But we all have doppelgangers, if you expand the concept a little.


If you’ve ever taken more than a brief glance at the ‘personalised’ advertising directed at you by companies such as Facebook, you may identify with the following:

Google thinks I’m interested in parenting, superhero movies, and shooter games. The data broker Acxiom thinks I like driving trucks. My data doppelgänger is made up of my browsing history, my status updates, my GPS locations, my responses to marketing mail, my credit card transactions, and my public records. Still, it constantly gets me wrong, often to hilarious effect. I take some comfort that the system doesn’t know me too well, yet it is unnerving when something is misdirected at me. Why do I take it so personally when personalization gets it wrong? 

The Atlantic


The Double Film Poster

A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and seductive with women.

See this list: 20 Films About Doubles And Doppelgangers. Can you guess the most famous one?

The double/doppelganger is a subcategory of the trickster archetype. (Click through for a mindmap of tricksters in storytelling.)


Freaky Friday is a story which has been adapted numerous times for film. The Freaky Friday body swap is a different take on the doppelganger.


Changeling: You may be familiar with the film starring Angelina Jolie. See John Truby’s breakdown — for him the film didn’t work. Did it work for you?

Twins are also used a lot in storytelling. Often one is evil; other times both are evil, and since two minds are better than one by an order of magnitude, this is useful for storytellers.


 Goodreads List of Changelings and Doppelgangers

Goodreads List of Doppelgangers in general fiction

Goodreads List of Trading Places: YA

The Trickster Archetype In Storytelling

The trickster is a lower form of the magician archetype and — in various forms —  is very popular in modern storytelling. Audiences love characters who break the rules and outwit others to get what they want.

They often appear as pranksters or mischief-makers. In stories for adults and young adults tricksters can also have a sinister side.


STRENGTHS: Uses confidence, trickery, and a way with words to get what they want. Their antics can do great good. 

WEAKNESSES: May become complete liars who look out only for themselves. They’re often at the mercy of their own passions and vices (e.g. the seven deadly sins). Their antics can do great harm. Although it is the trickster’s job to shake things up, they can inadvertently end up preserving the moral code they seek to destroy.


What Is A Trickster, Exactly?

Tricksters can be found along the entire spectrum of morality. They can be supremely evil or extremely good. Most often they’re ambivalent, shifting back and forth as the story sees fit. Think Pennywise the Clown, who changes from scene to scene to be the monster the plot requires him to be. By the way, all clowns are descended from the trickster archetype. (Comedians, jesters, Medieval court fools, the masked actors of the Commedia dell’Arte, Punch and Judy.)

Tricksters don’t conform to the usual taboos, and can therefore help challenge them. They just don’t seem to care. Some of them, if real people, might be analysed as psychopaths. Because tricksters don’t worry so much about taboos, some of them are extremely scatological. For this same reason, native cultures have sometimes been reluctant to share these stories with ethnographers, and have probably gone under-recorded as a result.

Some animal characters are tricksters, established by storytellers such as Aesop. Foxes, ravens and other animals who live on their wits are most likely to get the trickster treatment in our stories.


Why Tricksters Work So Well In Narrative

In his book Secrets of Story, Matt Bird ranks five levels of scene work. From weakest to strongest he lists:

  1. Listen and Accept Scenes
  2. Listen and Dispute Scenes
  3. Extract Information or Action Directly Scenes
  4. Extract Information or Action Through Tricks and Traps Scenes
  5. Both Try To Trick and Trap Each Other And One Or Both Succeed Scenes

Notice how 4 and 5 are the most lively scenes? They both involve tricksters. Or, they both involve ‘tricks’. Even when your main characters aren’t trickster archetypes, it’s really  helpful if they sometimes use trickster tools to get what they want.

An audience identifies with a trickster because we all feel like we have hidden layers. The hidden layer of a trickster is that there is an ironic distance between what they appear to do and what they really do. Tricksters are inherently ironic, and irony is necessary for a story to work.

A Brief History Of Trickster

The word “trickster” first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in the eighteenth century. However, the concept has been around for a lot longer than that.

Tricksters are descended from ancient gods.

Tricksters are “beings of the beginning, working in some complex relationship with the High God; transformers, helping to bring the present human world into being; performers of heroic acts on behalf of men, yet in their original form, and in some later forms, foolish, obscene, laughable, yet indomitable.”

— The Trickster in West Africa, Robert D. Pelton 

The term actually refers to a variety of different character archetypes, from the magician to the wise fool. A trickster can be a shapeshifter or parahuman creature or a human simpleton who blunders into good fortune.

In the Middle Ages, the Christian Feast of Fools was a celebration of tricksters. People dressed up as their reverse. Men as women, peasants as lords and so on. In Catholic countries there are the Carnaval festivities — fun before the hard days of Lent. (This is related to the term carnivalesque. Both are derived from the Latin word for ‘meat’. )

A lot of fairies are tricksters. Puck of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a good example.

Even today, scholars argue about the definition of this term, but writers don’t need to get into that. We can create any kind of trickster for our stories as we see fit.

Examples Across The Ages

  • Odysseus/Ulysses – Ulysses is the Latin name for Odysseus, a hero in ancient Greek literature. Odysseus is renowned for his brilliance, guile, and versatility, and is hence known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning (mētis, or “cunning intelligence”).
  • Prometheus — Prometheus in European myth is both Trickster (when he steals fire from the gods) and culture hero (when he lifts the darkness for mankind).
  • Hermes – the Greek god. (Mercury to the Romans). According to prominent folklorist Yeleazar Meletinsky, Hermes is a deified trickster. He is the god of messengers, of merchants, and of financial transactions — but he’s also, in his dark aspect, the god of liars, gamblers, and thieves.
  • Merlin – from the Arthurian legend, perhaps based on 6th-century Druid living in southern Scotland. He causes trouble at his former wife’s wedding, for instance.
  • Brer Rabbit — For some reason, trickster rabbits and hares are found in stories from all over the world. Perhaps this is because they’re hard to catch, being so fast, disappearing into otherwise invisible holes in the ground.
  • Hares — Hare is the primary Trickster figure of various Native American tribes, particularly among the Algonquin–speaking peoples of the central and eastern woodlands.
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Cagliuso
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Anansi the Spider — a trickster whose tales are known in many parts of Africa, the West Indies, and far beyond. His tales are generally humorous, with Anansi in the role of antihero. He breaks the rules, violates taboos, makes mockery of sacred things; he gets what he wants by plotting, scheming, lying and cheating. Anansi is famously lazy, greedy, pompous, vain, and ignorant — but he’s also very, very clever, usually outwitting everyone around him.
  • Reynard the Fox — a European epic of the Middle Ages. This fox is a satirical figure — greedy, wily. He dupes peasants and nobility alike.
  • Raven —  the central Trickster figure for many tribes on the North Pacific Coast of America.
  • Old Man Coyote — Old Man Coyote makes the earth, animals, and humans. He is the Indian Prometheus, bringing fire and daylight to the people. He positions the sun, moon, and stars in their proper places. He teaches humans how to live.
  • Coyotes — though this expectation is ironically explored in the Road Runner cartoon, though in common with Old Man Coyote, this one is soon on his feet again after any setback.. Coyotes are the best known animal trickster in North America.
  • Puss In Boots — a vain and silly creature, yet clever enough to win a castle and a princess for his master
  • Faust — and a devil waiting at the crossroads
  • A Muslim mullah
  • a Zen master
  • Jack — There are a whole lot of tales featuring a human simpleton called Jack. They come from Great Britain and the Appalachian Mountains of North America. There’s a similar character in German and Pennsylvanian Dutch cultures.
  • Eshu-Elegba is the trickster god of the Yoruba people of West Africa. Like Hermes, this fellow is the god of thresholds and roads. Eshu can be benevolent or malign — and is usually both these things at once, delighting in playing tricks on human beings and the other gods. Notice that the older variety of religions feature gods who are assholes but really nice also. Modern religious thought has no time for this. Why love a god who is also heinous?
  • Loki in Norse mythology is full of clever pranks that both undermine and benefit the gods of Asgard. He is an irrepressible liar, schemer, thief, and lover of practical jokes; he is also a shape–shifter, with the rare ability to shift between genders. Perhaps the character of Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs is (problematically) based on this Loki character. (Transphobia goes way back.) Unlike Buffalo Bill, however, Loki is exuberantly amoral.
  • Maui is New Zealand and Hawaii’s folklore trickster. He may have created the world but he’s also a meddlesome troublemaker.
  • Iktomi — a small but powerful creature, devious and mischievous. According to the Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) tribes of the American Midwest, it was Iktomi who created time, space, and language, and gave all the animals their names, but he’s also a thief, a glutton, a letch, and “the grandfather of lies.”
  • Monkey King — famous in China
  • Lord Hanuman — the Monkey God of India is sometimes considered a trickster though he is upstanding rather than amoral.

Examples From Pop Culture

  • Carrie Mathieson — from Homeland does underhanded things in her job in order to do her job well, gets herself fired and committed to a mental institution
  • Sarah Manning — a mistress of disguise, often throws away the book in order to accomplish her goals
  • Jessica Jones — a private investigator from the Marvel franchise
  • The Doctor — Doctor Who
  • Walter White — Breaking Bad. On the other hand, we can’t stand watching Marie because she tries to get away with petty theft and keeps failing miserably. This is excruciating to watch and makes us hate her not just for the immoral behaviour itself but for the fact she fails.
  • Marty Byrde — Ozark — a Walter White off-shoot.
  • Newman — from Seinfeld
  • Bart Simpson — is always getting into trouble at school
  • Will — (Hugh Grant’s character) in About A Boy 
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Jack in Titanic — Leonardo DiCaprio plays a rogue charmer hero
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • Pirates of the Caribbean — Johnny Depp plays a rogue charmer
  • Men In Black
  • Ferris Bueller — Bueller, the hero of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, tricks everyone so that he can have a relaxing day off school
  • Silence of the Lambs — Hannibal Lecter is a trickster character who sets up a puzzle for Clarice to solve
  • James Bond — a (good-looking) loveable rogue
  • All of Eddie Murphy’s roles in his younger days, e.g. Beverly Hills Cop
  • Shock jock radio hosts — for breaking ‘taboos’ and hating on the politically correct crowd

There are many other subcategories of fictional tricksters. See the list at TV Tropes.

Tricksters In Children’s Stories

In children’s stories, the trickster and the underdog are the two main archetypes. Trickster heroes are more common in entertaining stories. In picture books you’ll find tricksters in ‘carnivalesque’ stories. Tricksters upset normal hierarchies and rules of everyday or official behaviour, either through cleverness or foolishness. There are plenty of tricksters in Aesop’s fables.


Trickster tales are humorous stories in which the hero, either in human or animal form, outwits or foils a more powerful opponent through the use of trickery. Anansi the spider is a trickster figure in African folklore; Iktomi, which means spider, comes from the U.S. Plains Indians and is generally in human flrom; Coyote is a trickster figure from southwestern Native American folklore; and Raven is from the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Picture book examples are A Story, a story (1970), illustrated by Gail E. Haley; Iktomi and the Boulder (1988), illustrated by Paul Goble; Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest (1993), illustrated by Gerald McDermott; Nail Soup (2007), illustrated by Paul Hess; and Mauri and the Big Fish (2003), illustrated by Frane Lessac.

— A Picture Book Primer: Understanding and Using Picture Books By Denise I. Matulka

The Red Wolf by Margaret Shannon features a female picture book trickster.

  • The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy
  • Hannah’s Garden by Midori Snyder
  • A Rumor of Gems by Ellen Steiber
  • Deluge, by Albertine Strong
  • Chancers by Gerald Vizenor
  • Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
  • Bone Game by Louis Owen

Tips For Writing A Good Trickster Character

  • Tricksters have extreme confidence.
  • They have a way with words.
  • They are fun-loving. By seeming not to care about common morality (always) they teach the audience how to have fun in life.
  • Deception is crucial. The  more deception, the better the story.
  • They are complete liars but we like to watch them in action so we do forgive them.
  • The trickster might be the main character, but if not, they are the hero’s main opponent.
  • Trickster opponents are very smart and have the ability to attack the hero, giving heroes a lot of grief.


New Female Tricksters

The original archetypal trickster is almost always gendered male.

Very occasionally in folklore you’ll come across a female trickster:

  • The seductive, deceptive foxes of Korea and Japan can be female. Note that ‘seduction‘ is a specifically feminine attribute that doesn’t seem to work for male tricksters in quite the same way, even though this Southeast Asian fox is seductive even when he is gendered male. This plays on the culturally dominant idea that men do the choosing, but if women want a part in choosing their own partners they must go about it in ‘underhanded’ ways (‘seduction’). In European tradition, the fox is gendered male — a handsome, smooth-talking knave.
  • There’s a wise-cracking Baubo in Greek Eleusinian myth. The modern Crabby Road cartoons featuring the wise-cracking old woman who loves wine is a descendent of Baubo. (My mother and aunties often share them on social media.)
  • In African-American culture there is clever Aunt Nancy. In A Long Way From Chicago, Richard Peck creates a clever trickster grandmother who is a joy to read.
  • The Hopi and Tewa Native American tribes feature a female coyote.

In children’s literature, Pippi Longstocking is the ‘tomboy girl’ equivalent of Tom Sawyer. (See also Anne Shirley and others.) These girl tricksters are very common in children’s stories being published today, as these characters have agency, and are therefore often referred to as ‘strong female characters’.  Female tricksters are equally popular among adult readers, as Maria Tatar points out below. Notice also the extra burden heaped upon female tricksters compared to the original male version:

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” series have given us female tricksters, women who are quick-witted, fleet-footed, and resolutely brave. Like their male counterparts—Coyote, Anansi, Raven, Rabbit, Hermes, Loki, and all those other mercurial survivors—these women are often famished (bulimic binges are their update on the mythical figure’s ravenous appetite), but also driven by mysterious cravings that make them appealingly enigmatic. Surrounded by predators, they quickly develop survival skills; they cross boundaries, challenge property rights, and outwit all who see them as easy prey. But, unlike their male analogues, they are not just cleverly resourceful and determined to survive. They’re also committed to social causes and political change.

– Maria Tatar

In modern culture we now have:

  • I Love Lucy
  • Hyacinth Bucket — Hyacinth comes from a low income family and pretends to the world that she is a respectable upper-middle class lady. It’s a full-time job tricking other middle class people into thinking she’s from respectable roots.
  • Roseanne — has a mischievousness about her
  • Madonna — plays the part of a trickster in some of her music videos
  • Rihanna — see the music video for Bitch Better Have My Money for instance
  • Sarah — from Orphan Black shows us that she’s a trickster from the pilot, pretending to be her doppelganger in order to solve the mystery of her origin. A number of her clones are also trickster types, especially the soccer mom.
  • Gabby — from Desperate Housewives is appealing because she’s constantly tricking her husband. This is a couple who are a constant state of oneupmanship. Roald Dahl’s Twits are this kind of couple, as are Vera and Jack Duckworth of Coronation Street.
  • Nicolette Grant — is the trickiest housewife in the Hendrickson family, but following in her footsteps is Rhonda Volmer, for whom everything backfires terribly. The compound women in Big Love learn trickery as a survival measure — it’s the only power they get. But the trickster characters are all punished in the end.

There are a number of Rhonda Volmer archetypes in pop culture — they’re not usually the star of the story. Teenage girls who present as sweet but who are liars and thieves. These girls are uniformly pretty, and like Rhonda they might be able to sing beautifully or something like that. They are often the opponent in a middle grade story, where the heroine is adorably straight-up, mostly lacking in guile. Ramona Quimby is lacking in guile, but her nemesis Susan is pretty but sly. This dynamic, set up by Beverly Cleary, has been repeated over and over in middle grade stories for and about girls.

Meanwhile, think of any female entertainer who is known as a ‘bitch’ and she probably has trickster attributes.

  • Most stories come from patriarchal cultures, where both hero and opponent are male.
  • It’s possible (and very likely) that stories about female tricksters once existed but have since been lost because they haven’t been considered worthy of recording
  • The female trickster may take a different form entirely, in which case we don’t consider her the female analogue of the same thing
  • There might be something about the trickster archetype that cultures see as primarily male. In this case, even in a hypothetical matriarchal culture, the trickster would be gendered male.

I posit that voters have higher expectations of female politicians just as audiences have higher expectations of female tricksters. This has a very real effect upon who makes it into office. Hillary Clinton is often described as ‘wily’, for instance, whereas the same behaviours from a man would be considered ‘clever’.

The Trickster As Story Genre

As well as referring to a character, the trickster is also a type of tale.

The Biter Bit

A subcategory of the trickster tale is the ‘biter bit’.

  • Biter bit is a technical editorial term used to describe a story about aggression, in which the aggressor becomes the victim.
  • The Biter Bit is an 1899 British short black-and-white silent comedy film featuring a boy playing a practical joke on a gardener by grasping his hose to stop the water flow and then letting go again when the gardener looks down it to check.
  • A biter bit story is usually told from the point of view of the eventual victim, who throughout the major part of the story seems to be the perpetrator of the joke, swindle, etc.
  • At the close of the story another biter-bit might begin.
  • At the story’s close, both sides might find themselves undone by another party even shrewder than they are.
  • The biter bit has two component parts:
    • a fairly original situation in which one man is doing another dirt
    • an ingenious reversal whereby the dirt is done the doer.
  • Probably about half of all jokes that do the rounds are biter-bit stories. Essentially, the biter-bit is an extended joke or anecdote. Just as in so many jokes, there is the non-malicious aggression and then the sudden setback for that aggressor. As in the joke, too, the story first sets up a taut situation and then explosively loosens it with an unexpected reversal. As with a successful joke, also, the good biter-bit must have a spark.
  • A good biter-bit story rests entirely on how good the switch is.
  • The morality of a biter bit is inherently conservative — people who seek to trick others get their own back.
  • In children’s stories in particular, it is important to certain gatekeepers that children with ill-intent are punished.

Roald Dahl was a fan of the biter bit. The Twits is an extended biter bit comedy. Many of his short stories for adults end with a trickster getting tricked back.

Who is the trickster in Road Runner? Wile E. Coyote has an ironically symbolic name — the road runner always ends up playing a better trick.


Further Reading

Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde


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