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Being a renowned literary critic in my spare time, I have decided to focus my attention and skills on an old, beloved classic. Though, as you'll see below the Orange Cloud of Self-Absorbed Literary Criticism, it's mind-bogglingly poorly written.

I have just read the epic tome "Humpty Dumpty" written by "Traditional." This mysterious tale of tragedy and misfortune is quite disturbing to me and raises way more questions than it answers.

First off, who was this Mr. Dumpty? Was he, as implied by W.W. Denslow's 1904 illustrations, an anthropomorphic egg? A real-life walking talking egg? If this were the case, I can begin to understand why the "King" would allocate such vast resources upon Mr. Dumpty's alleged accidental fall. It is understandable; such a being could be a great resource to the state! How many other kingdoms could boast a magic egg like that? But then, this is problematic as if Mr. Dumpty was so vital to the economic well-being of the state, would he not have a team of handlers keeping his delicate posterior off of walls, away from solid objects and out of any physical danger what-so-ever? Maybe Dumpty's handlers got caught with their proverbial pants down? Again, this is not addressed by "Traditional." There was no mention of "Post Script: Mr. Dumpty's security detail was immediately sacked and reprimanded."

Perhaps Mr. Dumpty was allegorical. Like, maybe Dumpty was a unionized iron worker and "Traditional" was a small-business blowhard right-winger cleverly disguising a treatise on the economic impacts of labor unions and health care. If this were the case, where was OSHA? Why wasn't Mr. Dumpty properly tied off? If he were indeed a unionized iron worker, it would certainly go a long way to explain why he was on "the wall" in the first place. The guy was doing his job! I tried to think about that. "Humpty Dumpty" was first published in 1810 in England. They weren't even using iron for buildings back then, nor were labor unions around, let alone OSHA. We can probably disregard this theory for now. But still, even with unsafe working conditions and wood and brick being the building materials of choice, one would think that jobsite accidents would have been a concern, even then.

Also, speaking of the "wall," the reader is not told what kind of wall it was, nor how high it was. Perhaps Dumpty slipped off a hand rail. We don't know and "Traditional" doesn't tell us. It could have been a three-foot retaining wall for all we know. Or maybe the wall, too, was allegorical- people say things like "I've hit the wall." Meaning that they have gone as far as they can on something and can't go any farther. They haven't really hit a wall. Who does that? It hurts your hand! So if this is true, Mr. Dumpty was "on the wall," maybe he was at a major life choice and could either succeed in his endeavors, or fail miserably. He couldn't handle the added pressure and had an existential meltdown.

Regardless, we know that tragedy befell Mr. Dumpty. Now, possibly the most disturbing detail comes to the fore: "All the King's horses..." Excuse me?! Horses? Was it common practice in 1810 England to put a horse through medical school? They haven't even got opposable thumbs! How is a horse expected to handle a scalpel, mold a plaster cast or put in stitches? Supposedly, Mr. Dumpty was injured critically in this alleged accident; if I were the "King," I might send a team of surgeons. Monkeys would even have been a better choice. And ALL of the horses? Again, we're back to the fundamental issue- who was Humpty Dumpty to merit such a vast deployment of resources? Obviously, he was of great importance to the "King." Maybe he had some dirt on the king, or maybe he was the king's illegitimate love child. We don't know! A little bit of back story would have gone along way here, Mr. "Traditional." Okay, maybe if Dumpty had the aforementioned existential meltdown, horses provided some level of comfort- like, maybe Dumpty was an apt equestrian in his youth and being around horses reminded him of a bygone halcyon past.

Not to belabor the point, but ALL the king's men? All of them? I mean, what good is the King's accountant going to do at the scene of some grizzly accident? Probably not much at all. Can't blame the guy. He's an accountant, not a reconstructive surgeon.

So now we're to the end of this troubling narrative. The part where Dumpty is now a burden on the state. That's all we're told is that through supposedly herculean efforts to get Dumpty "put back together" (whatever that means), every horse and man in the employ of this King failed at their appointed task. Maybe this is some kind of referendum on the health care system of 1810 England. Perhaps "Traditional" was trying to send a message to his despotic ruler that he needs to not dispatch a bunch of horses to jobsite accidents. Like "Hey, you tyrant! Stop spending our taxes on putting horses through medical school!" I find that "Humpty Dumpty" was incredibly disappointing, disturbing, frustratingly short on character development, ill thought-out and sloppily written. I give this mind-bending piece of literary abortion two thumbs down.

Originally posted to Blogo de Harhead on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers.

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