Struwwelpeter Analysis (with Broekchen)

Okay, so we’re getting back to that Struwwelpeter thing.  Thanks to the ever-amazing Broeckchen, I have a link that provides a full English translation of the book, so I’m able to analyze it more thoroughly, and see how it might relate to the Slender Man.  Since Broeckchen knows the book way better and tends to make better connections anyway, I’ve asked her to contribute her own theories, which will be in purple.

The title is translated as “Struwwelpeter: Merry Stories and Funny Pictures.”

Okay, this is a book where children are disproportionately punished for their actions, and it’s subtitled “Merry Tales and Funny Pictures?”  Broeckchen, I wanna know what exactly you have to write in Germany for it to be considered depressing or gruesome.

Anyway, moving away from that little rant, let’s examine the stories one by one.  The introduction, interestingly enough, starts talking about Christmas.  Now, after Broeckchen’s Santa theory, that gets my interest a little bit.  Anyway, it says that the nice kids will get good things for Christmas, while the naughty children deserve nothing for Christmas.  The whole “naughty children” thing is a recurring theme throughout the book and is something that kind of makes me think.  The Slender Man is commonly said to steal primarily children (although adults, such as photographers, have been said to disappear as Victor Surge’s first post), so there’s a possible link there.  But more importantly, I’ve always thought of the future of the Slender Man as a creature parents tell kids about to scare them into behaving.  If that’s true, then this whole book becomes a lot more relevant, as it’s doing about the exact same thing.

The first story: “Struwwelpeter” (translated as “Shock-Headed Peter”).  Apart from that initial similarity to Slendy that he had, I don’t think there’s anything substantial here.  A boy is scorned because he’s untidy.  That’s all there is to it.

“Cruel Frederick” seems to be a bit more relevant.  The titular boy acts cruelly to animals and people, for no real reason.  This irrationally violent behavior could easily be simply sociopathic, but it’s also possible he’s a Proxy of some sort.

“The Dreadful Tale of Harriet and the Matches” also has a very small link.  Harriet plays with matches and gets burned to death.  This is possibly related to the Slender Man’s pyrokinesis.

“The Story of the Inky Boys” is one that interested Broeckchen, simply because it involves Saint Nicholas (although this version translates it as Agrippa for some reason, so I wouldn’t have caught it).  Y’know, Santa.  The one in her theory.  That’s about all I could find in that one.

“The Story of the Man that went out Shooting” seems to be largely unimportant, although the use of a rabbit reminds me of EverymanHYBRID’s HABIT a bit.

“The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb” also seems to be largely unrelated.  The only link I can make (and it’s a huge stretch) is that the designs on the first page of the story have a very vague similarity to the Observer Symbol from TribeTwelve.

“The Story of Augustus, who would not have any Soup” also seems unimportant, but for one thing: as Augustus grows thinner, his limbs also seem to get a bit longer, and his bib/napkin/neckerchief starts to resemble a tie.  I’ll put the picture below for you to see:

 

A bit tentative, I’ll admit, but still a possible relationship. 

The rest of the stories seem completely unimportant until the last one: “The Story of Flying Robert”  Robert goes out when the weather is not good, and his umbrella catches the wind and carries him away.  However, I got a bit of a “child snatched away and disappearing” vibe from it.

So what do I have that I can take from this?  …not very much.  It could possibly be a dead end, or it could be referencing seeker’s situation somehow.  After all, he’s the one who sent me the video that contained the image.  Broeckchen has a few links that are stronger, but I’m really hoping that they’re nothing important.  From her e-mails, she sounds increasingly paranoid about things happening to her in real life, and like I mentioned earlier, all of this gives Slendy a much more powerful and less tentative link to Germany, where Broeckchen lives.  I don’t know how many Slenderbloggers live in or near Germany, but I’m guessing it’s not too many.  I’d rather that he stays over here where we’ve got a small army taking him on instead of over there where it’s just Broeckchen and maybe a few others.  …plus I’d kinda really, really hate to lose her.

Anyway, here’s Broeckchen’s theories now.  Note: this was written to me, so when she says “you,” I’m who she’s referring to.

Der Struwwelpeter

This book was published way back in the year 1845 by a doctor called Heinrich Hoffmann in Frankfurt, Germany.

Everything began, you may applaud me now – at Christmas time in the year 1844. Hoffmann, having had a little son himself, went looking for a nice children’s book to give it to his child for Christmas. However, he felt that none of the books available were fitting for his son – so he did return with an empty notebook and began to paint and write a children’s book himself. He wanted to create funny stories which would tell his son important morals about life – like that playing with fire is a bad idea and one should not be racist. His son liked this gift, which didn’t surprise Hoffmann much. What surprised him very much, however,were the reactions of his friends to the book. They all longed to read the book, und furthermore, they began to slightly obsess over it. Hoffmann was pushed more and more often to publish this book, which hadn’t been his original intention. But a friend of his, Zacharias Löwenthal, finally got him to publish it in 1845, under the pseudonym “Reimrich Kinderlieb” (which means as much as “Rhymer Fond-of-children”). I think I don’t really have to add that it was an incredible, worldwide success.

Heinrich Hoffmann was a psychiatrist, and furthermore, practically the founder of the psychologic branch “child psychology”. He introduced the assumption that children have another way of thinking than adults, but can already be affected in their later behavior and character by what happens to them. He was very close to children at all times, trying to find out what went on in their little heads and how it was possible to kiss the wounds of their minds and souls better when they felt hurt.

This introduction deserves the first links to Slender Man.

Look at it closely. There is a guy who always tries to think like children do and who is confronted every day with their deepest fears and their best-kept secrets. This guy writes, at Christmas time nonetheless, a book which contains this character: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Struwwelpeter_1.jpg

This is the original picture drawn by Hoffmann himself. A little boy, with a hollow expression on his face, with elongate fingernails. Outstretched arms almost as if he wants to hug someone.

Now comes the thing that adds up to this. This picture, this boy, was the actual eye-catcher about the book for Hoffmanns friends. While the original title was “Funny stories and wacky pictures for children of the age of 3-6 years”, it got wholly changed to “Struwwelpeter” later on because that was the most popular character in the book. People saw the book, felt attracted to it, opened it, saw Struwwelpeter and instantly began to talk Hoffmann into making this available for a bigger audience. Now, doesn’t that sound slightly familiar to you?

Well, but let us dive further into this book now.

Since you already have analyzed the stories themselves, I won’t go into great detail with each of it. Just a little summary on them, with short notes on the links to Slender Man Myths.

1.) Struwwelpeter – a boy refuses to spend time on daily hygiene, which causes him to become shaggy and dirty.

Links: First thing – note how the title is not translated. Second I see another thing in common with the Hallowed as describes by Andrew. [AN: she’s referring to Andrew of “Walking the Hallowed Halls” here, not me.] Third – just look at that picture of him in the end. You said it in a beautiful fashion – like Slender Man in drag.

2. ) The Story of Cruel Frederick – the story of a little boy who torments people and animals. A dog bites him and he has to stay in bed, while the dog gets to eat nice things originally thought for Frederick.

Links: I found none.

3.) The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches – a girl plays with matches, despite her parents having forbidden her to do so. Her two cats warn her, but she continues playing until she catches fire and burns down to ashes.

Links: Curiosity is empowered by warnings, like with the Mythos. Also, the fire lit by the girl consumes her at last – like the Mythos kills men.
It occurred to me that fire has in common one more thing with Slender Man. It is a force of nature, originally, but can be invoked and strengthened by humans.

4.) The Story of the Inky Boys – three boys mock a black boy (I may say that, I’m black myself, hurr!). They get scolded by St. Nicholas, who dips them into ink so they become even more black than that boy.

Links: For me of course the appearance of St. Nicholas. Also the theme of looking at a kind of “victim”, which causes becoming such a victim oneself. Much like the blogs of victims infect whoever is reading them.

5.) The Story of the Wild Huntsman – breaks the concept in a strange way. This story is not about children at all – it features a hunter who gets shot at by the hare he was hunting in the end.

Links: I think if there are some, they are not about what we already know – but it could be a suggestion for a solution. Slender Man is clearly the Hunter since we don’t hunt him. With some luck, we might be the Hares turning the table at last.

6.) The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb – a boy refuses to give up on sucking his thumbs. His mother forbids him to to it, but he does so anyway – which makes a tailor come and cut them off.

Links: It may be a hint to the obsession people get with the Mythos, despite (or even fueled by) all warnings.

7.) The Story of Kaspar who did not have any Soup – a strong, healthy boy refuses to eat his soup, which makes him waste away and die within five days.

Links: After reading “Walking the Hallowed Halls,” I think this could be an allusion to the Hallowed. They get obsessed by the rush of power their Master shows them, lets them feel and so on. The forget about worldly needs, like eating and drinking. And their once good status passes away over time. Also Kaspars body looks more slender-like with every day.

8.) The Story of Fidgety Philip – a boy can’t sit still at the dinner table which causes him to knock the table over and get buried by it.

Links: I’ll get to it later when I talk about the stories as a whole.

9.) The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air – a boy watches thinks in the air instead of looking where he’s going, which causes him to fall into a river and make it out alive but dripping wet.

Links: Partly the same as with Fidgety-Philip, but I noted the big occurrence of water. Interestingly, this story is one of the few that does not feature the death of the protagonist or a really dangerous or permanent harm on them.

10.)  The Story of Flying Robert – a boy leaves the house while it’s storming. The wind blows under his parachute and he gets blown far, far away.

Links: Rain in connection with being abducted. Nuff said.

Every story is illustrated and written in rhymes.

The book regained a lot of its popularity later on between psychologists because people realized that everyone of the protagonist showed symptoms of ADHD. In Germany, ADHD is even nicknamed “Zappelphilipp-Syndrom” (“Fidgety-Philip-Syndrome”) after the story of Philip.

It’s said that Hoffmann himself had ADHD and the book was strongly influenced by his personal experiences with the Syndrome by himself and his son.

It’s important to note that the punishments the children have to suffer always seem to be unproportional to their behavior. Suck-a-Thumb gets both thumbs cut off just because he sucked on them (which harmed no one) while Frederick actively attacked living beings, but only seems to get a cold from it.

But both of those parts are intertwined less with the Slender Man Mythos and more with what happens with seeker right now. Presumably.

Phew, I hope I do get a reeeaaaaally big hug of doom from you for this if we should ever meet. And snuggles. I demand snuggles. :3

Whoops, was that last line supposed to be in there?  Oh well.

Anyway, a few reactions: most of what she said makes sense to me.  There are two more things I’d like to bring up, though.  The first is that hunter and hare story again.  My theory, combined with hers, gives me a new one.  Since I think the hare somehow represents HABIT, and she thinks the hunter somehow represents Slendy, if we combine the two, it makes a bit of sense.  I’ve sort of seen HABIT as a competitor for Slendy in a way.  Two antagonistic beings who are locked in a sort of supremacy struggle.  In that story, the hunter falls down the well, his wife nearly gets shot, and the hare’s child gets scalded by coffee.  In other words, they’re locked in a struggle, and everyone related to them is getting hurt.

The other thing is a theory we talked about elsewhere.  There are all these reoccurrences of Slender Man-like figures who predate the Slender Man.  Struwwelpeter, for example.  The Tall Man from Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s “Chzo Mythos.”  Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Her theory is that he’s always existed in some form or another, and he occasionally breaks through through people’s subconsciousnesses.  Pretty Platonian, in some ways.  But anyway, the theory is that it came out most strongly in Victor Surge’s posts, and it got popular and caught on and, well…we unleashed a monster that way.  This isn’t really related to anything, it’s just sort of a tie to Struwwelpeter, saying that it was one of the earlier incarnations of some form.

Sometime later tonight, probably, I’ll be posting some stuff on SeekerX, since I’ve gotta get these clues of his cracked before the solstice.  Not that I even really believe in him being weakened then (Halloween was justified, but the Solstice’s explanation was pretty much “just because”), but a lot of you do.  So that’s going up soon.  Hope you guys can help me with this.

Andy

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About Li'l Andy K

Hey, everyone. I'm a sophomore at [University name removed for my own privacy] who's taken a liking to the Slender Man myth. I have taken a strong liking to the Slender Man myth. The Slender Man myth has taken a strong liking to me.
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12 Responses to Struwwelpeter Analysis (with Broekchen)

  1. Broeckchen says:

    Yay, blogpost! ~

    • Broeckchen says:

      Also – did you realise that the kid who doesn’t eat his soup moves towards the plant/tree when it becomes all thin and stick-figureish?

  2. J says:

    SeekerX emailed me.

  3. Slice says:


    Rabbit story.
    Rabbit or HABIT
    Maudin’s Mask is a Rabbit

    We are the Rabbit.

    HABIT, Slendy…they are the hunters.

    Like the Rabbit, we have to turn the Hunter’s weapon against him.

    Like Rabbits, all we do is run.

    Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTbd0Ncsyus

    You might remember this song from EMH?

    Taken in this light, the song and video are about our battle with Slenderman.

    I’m on to something.

  4. Li'l Andy K says:

    Okay, just found this on the Slender Man TV Tropes page under “Shout Out.”

    “[The Slender Man is] possibly also a shout out to the Schattenman of 7thSea, a tall, thin shadow-being who inhabits the forests of Eisen, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Germany. He is known to mutilate victims as well, dismembering them and stacking their limbs like firewood. He does this with a huge pair of scissors, itself a Shout Out to the Tall Tailor of Struwwelpeter.”

    Yeah. I don’t think any of my readers posted this, because they probably would have done me the favor of providing me with a link. Which means that we now have a third-party reference to Struwwelpeter. Yikes.

    Andy

    Edit: checked the history on TV Tropes. Can’t find when it was added, but it was involved in an edit on the 22nd of September. My blog didn’t even start until late October, and I think it was December that Struwwelpeter was first brought up. So yeah, evidently this possible Struwwelpeter link predates my blog. Double yikes.

  5. Headpiece Filled With Straw says:

    Damn it Jack Skellington is not Slender Man I could write a whole essay on why they are nothing alike.

  6. Headpiece Filled With Straw says:

    Also maybe Slendy is the rabbit and is symbolic of the human search for something bigger than them ultimately coming back to bite them in the ass.

  7. Headpiece Filled With Straw says:

    Slendy is the hare I meant to say not rabbit. Damn, they look so similar but I usually remember the difference because I once chased hares through a graveyard during a funeral as a child…I wanted to keep them as pets…in retrospect that was probably incredibly insensitive to the people having the funeral. Anyway my father at the time told me you could tell the difference because Hares were bigger and leaner than rabbits…Hey! Slendys bigger and leaner than humans! Coincidence? I think not. 😀

  8. Allright! Those references and shout outs are all connected in some way and Broeckchen is one of the very few people who can see those connections.
    Lets make a list of said connections:
    Humanity could be likened to the rabbit and Slendy to the hare.
    Slendy/the Boogeyman/the Midgard Snake/etc. is the evil counterpart of Santa Claus/St. Nicholas/Odin/etc..
    Slendy might have been rediscovered and renamed on the Something Awful forums but the idea he represents is, as tvtropes puts it, “older than dirt”.
    Slendy needs to be defeated by a weapon of the internet, prefferrably “The Banhammer”, which would make perfect sense, as the weapon of the hero, who needs to be similiar to Thor, should be a hammer.
    The weapon needs to have some connection to the World Tree, the Bonfire of the Wintersolistice (which wards of evil and once was the same day as Christmas Eve) and it should be representing the exact opposite of what Slendy represents, e.g. if Slendy truly is the fear of the unknown than the Hammer should have a strong connection to curiosity, learning and research, aka anything that makes your fear of the unknown disappear.
    There are surely many more connections, ones which weren’t yet discovered and ones I currently forgot.
    Also if the Tulpa Theorie truly works and we take into account that you already started to believe in a way to get rid of Slendy there should no longer be a problem with defeating Slendy after you have all reached a consensus on the weaqpon, the hero and the symbolism because it will become true the second all of you agree on it.
    You simply didn’t think about it enough until you came up with the Slenderman which caused all of you to become aware of its presense in human history. Now your very thoughts shape it, give it strenght and have the power to weaken and even end it.
    Sounds like one hell of a myth to me!
    Especially if your thoughts made it real in some parts of the multiverse.
    By the way, the multiverse is a combination of the World Tree, the String Theorie, old legends of druid pathways/doors to other worlds running along your universe’s leylines and modern thoughts of black holes and wormholes leading to other universes/worlds.
    I think your believe is not yet strong enough to make Slendy become “real” in all of the multiverse.
    Well, good luck with making sense of the whole crazyness of it all till you reach said consens! You will need it since humanity never reached a real consens before.

  9. I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that the Winter Solstice was/and still is regarded as the one night in the year where people could exorcise evil spirits and/or calm them with the most efficience. Even if almost nobody still believes in that tradition our bonfires and common thoughts of evil being cleansed on that night still have an effect on said evil, e.g. Slendy gets far weaker than usual. Added to that comes our renewed believe in Santa which weakens Slendy even more. Since Slendy is at his weakest on that night it would be the perfect opportunity to defeat him.
    Oh yeah, almost forgot. Did you notice that there are 10 stories and one introduction in that book. Together that makes 11 etries in the table of contents. In other words, Slendy’s trademark: repeating numbers! Might just be a coincidence though. But a creepy one! 😄

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