As If Children Needed a Guide to Anarchy

Inspired by John Sevan and Jana Christy’s book, Kristina Chew recommends 5 subversive children’s books.…

Number 5 is Greek mythology, and here’s what she has to say about it,  I hope she’s not recommending Zeus as a role model.

I’m not thinking of any one book about Greek mythology in particular but of specific ancient Greek texts with the myths. In their original form, these classics are full of violence (often of one family member to another — Oedipus kills his father) and sex (again, of one family member with another — Oedipus again, and numerous others including Zeus and Hera who are siblings and husband and wife).

All of this is presented (in the originals, that is), without moralizing or often without a message that “doing evil means evil will be done to you.” Far from the jolly, Santa Claus-like figure in Disney’s “Hercules” cartoon, Zeus (in the 8th-century poet Hesiod’s Theogony) castrates his father Chronos, who had swallowed Zeus’ mother, Metis, and all of his siblings (including Hera).  Greek myths are also steeped in powerful female figures including the goddess of wisdom, Athena, and Hercules (and, for that matter, Zeus) fall in love with as many young men as women.

Read more: