Gottschall: Chapter Analysis

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In Chapter 2 of The Storytelling Animal How Stories Make us Human Jonathan Gottschall continues his quest to learn why storytelling has endured since Prehistoric time and the role that the sciences including biology and evolution play in the development of this powerful and addictive part of human life. Although he admits that the mystery has not been solved, in fact, he states that scientists are still in the conjectural stage; his arguments strongly favor a biological and evolutionary solution. Just as hands, eyes, and lips have evolved to perform many functions, the brain is multi-functional and storytelling may have either began as an essential human function or evolved into one. To defend his positions, Gottschall begins his arguments…show more content…
Among the experts he researched was Vivian Paley who for more than fifty years taught preschoolers and kindergarteners mainly at the liberal University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. In spite of the massive changes in the culture during these years, she discovered that the student's play remained the same. The girls were calm playing with dolls, dressing up, and creating fantasies about princes or magic while the boys were disruptive creating weapons and enacting battles. In her book Boys and Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner, she describes a yearlong failed experiment to make the classroom gender neutral. She concluded that the gender roles were too dominant to change and “let the boys be boys” (38). He then relates that dozens of studies around the world have revealed the same gender patterns for play “ fantasy play is more frequent in girls, more sophisticated, and more focused on pretend parenting; boys are generally more aggressive and less nurturing than girls , with differences being present and measurable by the seventeenth month of life” (39). His strongest argument for the biological component is his example of the disease congenital adrenal hyperplasia in which girls are exposed to abnormally high levels of male sex hormones in utero and…show more content…
He now argues that this is somehow harmful. Reluctantly he says “The idea that gender has deep biological roots is something almost everyone accepts these days but still avoids saying in polite company. It sounds too much like a limit on human potential, especially on the potential of women to move into positions of cultural equality” (42). However, we can stop worrying because women are now able to control their fertility with reliable birth control. Granted contraception has allowed women more choices and opportunities to further their education and advance in their chosen careers; however, child bearing is the one unique and most valuable biological function of women. Children are obviously essential to maintain the human species. No more children and we will turn the planet over to the animals. Therefore, since the female has delivered the children since prehistoric times and since play is the instinctive way that children learn to be adults; girl's play will always have and should always have some elements of a parenting role. While some countries have taken strong measures to limit or maintain their

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