Arthur's Big Hit
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Now I remember seeing this particular episode of Arthur back in 2005 (although, this episode was released in the US during September '99):

Whilst the morals taught in Arthur are usually ethical, I really don't agree with what they're educating in this episode.

For the record:
Dora Winifred ("D.W.") is 4 years old
Arthur is 8 years old

Now as far as I'm concerned, Arthur was blatantly annoyed by D.W. whether or not that was her intention. On numerous times Arthur had asked D.W. to not touch his model plane, yet she continued to do so. Through ignoring Arthur's requests, she was also creating more work for Arthur's (knocking over the paint, getting fingerprints on the plane, etc, etc.). And ultimately, when Arthur had finally finished what he describes as "the best thing [he] ever made", D.W. destroys it.

Why wouldn't Arthur be angry? He worked long and hard to build his proudest achievement only to be destroyed by a disobedient child. Sure, Arthur shouldn't have hit D.W., but it is understandable of why, and certainly D.W. deserved the punch (as clearly words had failed to teach her what not to do).

Yet throughout the show there is a sheer lack of understanding of Arthur's point-of-view from the other characters. This gives a very misleading message that D.W. didn't deserve it. This is also emphasised when Arthur is banned from watching TV whilst D.W. runs free from any punishment.

The show attempts to convince the audience that through Binky (a person much larger than Arthur) punches Arthur, that it wasn't fair of Arthur to punch D.W.. However, Arthur did not deserve being hit by Binky, because Arthur did nothing wrong to Binky. D.W., on the other hand, did deserve to be hit by Arthur because she did something very wrong to him.

Nothing was done to compensate Arthur for his loss, which implies that through him hitting his sister he is undeserving of compensation. I just don't believe this is justified.

Society tells us that if somebody upsets you, you should not get even/seek revenge. Personally, I believe revenge behaviour is a natural instinct to protect us.

We know that “getting even” or “revenge” is natural behaviour because it’s witnessed all the time in the animal kingdom. If a dog bites another dog, I can almost guarantee that the “victim dog” will retaliate aggressively and bite the first dog back. This behaviour is designed to protect us, because if the “victim dog” didn’t retaliate, then it is quite possible that it would get eaten by the first dog. Well, at least in the wild anyway (domesticated dogs are unlikely to cannibalise).

I remember in school always being told that “if somebody hurts you, don’t hurt them back, instead tell the teacher”. If you did hurt them back, you are told that you have “sunk to their level”, which is a blatant attack on your conscience. In films and the media, such as this episode of Arthur, we are shown that if you retaliate or seek revenge for actions made against you, society is more inclined to punish your reaction rather than the offender’s initial action. Society is trying to repress a natural instinct.

Having said all of that, I’m not suggesting that revenge is right; I’m just suggesting that society should recognise that revenge is fair when considered in the context of some situations (such as Arthur's).

~ James Kanjo


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