Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Greg's Superiority Theory

            Arguably the biggest takeaway from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is Greg’s social commentary on adolescence and adulthood from his perspective as an adolescent.  While adolescents sometimes have a stereotype of being immature and unbelievable, Greg makes several valid observations about the other characters and his social situation through humor, similar to several of our other authors.  Despite his youth and inexperience, Greg echoes many of the themes we have discussed in class before, especially the superiority theory.
            While Toni wrote her post about Greg versus the bullies, I would argue Greg even questions the hierarchy between parents and children.  Early in the book, Mrs. Craig is yelling at Greg for listening to Rock and Roll music when Greg “was going to tell her that there weren’t even any batteries in the CD player, but I [he] could tell she didn’t want to be interrupted.  So I [he] just waited until she was done, and then I [he] said, ‘yes,ma’am’” (35 Kinney).  We also see this when Rowley’s dad yells at Greg and Rowley for scaring the little boy in their “Hall of Screams” haunted house or when Greg’s mom yells at Manny for having inappropriate magazines in school.  Lastly, Greg admits he knows when his dad says “friend”, he knows he is in trouble, but “the good thing about Dad is that when he gets mad, he cools off real quick, and then it’s over.  Usually, if you mess up in front of Dad, he just throws whatever he’s got in his hands at you” (38-39 Kinney). 
            Evidently, Greg is a keen observer of his social situations, as many of our studied humorists are; like Sedaris or Madea, Greg is merely making fun of quirks adults have that few adolescents (and adults) can pinpoint.  Greg never necessarily upsets the power structure between parents and children, but his observations about how his mother, father, or Mrs. Craig use their authority calls into question if adults really are more logical than children sometimes.  Greg caricatures these adults yelling at him for asinine things like listening to music to poke fun at adults.  Greg almost makes the adults in his story seem like the teacher in Charlie Brown who talks incoherently.  In this way, Greg (and mostly Kinney) adheres to the superiority theory of humor by the child making fun of the adults.        

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