Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

1.

0 Introduction

Appreciating humor is part of human nature. The distinctions that have often been
considered as defining humans as unique from other animals include language, high
mental capacity and a sense of humor (McGhee, 1979). It is important to understand the
differences between adult and child responses to different types of humor when
evaluating humorous children’s literature. This can be done through studying the
developmental process of the formation of a sense of humor and the contextual factors
influencing a developing child (Kappas, 1967).

Humor can generally be defined as something that makes people laugh or smile
(Bariaud, 1989). Many researchers assert that humor is based in cognitive ability rather
than emotion, and is the cause of comic laughter (as opposed to laughter caused by
general excitement). Humor can be visual, such as a cartoon or awkward body
movement, or verbal, such as a joke or use of a nonsensical word. At times humor can
be difficult to pinpoint, especially when dealing with young children with limited
communication skills (Bariaud, 1989). While level of cognitive development is important
in understanding what makes people laugh, humor can also be affected by cultural
differences, generational differences, gender and personal preference (McGhee, 1979).

Humor can be accidental, depending on the circumstances. Someone in a playful mood


may experience something to be funny, while others in a more somber mood may take it
seriously. More often, humor is intentional and produced to amuse a certain audience
(Bariaud, 1989).

Most people recognize the dynamic functions of humor and laughter in modern society.
Perhaps that is why comedy is actively created and sought after. Many researchers
emphasize the social function of humor, although few have studied it due to the difficulty
of empirically observing humor in unstructured, natural social interactions (Semrud-
Clikeman & Glass, 2008). Humor serves a variety of social functions, including
strengthening relationships, maintaining group cohesion, relieving stress, maintaining
appearances and expressing negative emotions in a socially acceptable way. McGhee
(1989) refers to humor as a social lubricant, easing otherwise tense social interactions.
Research has not overlooked the usefulness of humor in regulating and expressing
emotions. The father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (1905) discussed the role of
humor as a means of expressing subconscious and anti-social desires such as rage,
confusion or sexuality. Jane Wolfenstein (1954) describes humor as an emotional
expression of negative experiences that often helps an individual to cope with and adapt
to the environment in which they live.

For children, humor is also tied to cognitive development. Humor comes naturally to the
growing child; an infant begins smiling a few weeks after birth and laughing around four
months of age (McGhee, 1979). As children grow, they integrate richer knowledge and
cognitive tools into their natural facilities, allowing them to understand and appreciate
more complex forms of comedy (Semrud-Clikeman & Glass, 2008). Adults bewildered
by what children find hilarious often fail to take into account the child’s perspective from
their specific developmental viewpoint (Tamashiro, 1979).

1.5 Purpose of Study

This research aims to explore children's reaction to humorous picture books, and
discuss the difference between young children’s and the adults' humorous concepts.
With the analysis of preschool educators’ humor presenting through picture books,
the researcher used the picture book "Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax" to proceed the pretest,
and found that in the process of telling a story, the children may be affected by the
partners who surround them. In the research, through text analysis, it is found that
exertion of humor technique corresponds to children's perception of humor. And, the
elements of humor, including arrangement of repeated sentences, someone's
embarrassing situation in the plot, imagination and exaggeration against common
facts, and the images close to real life experiences that guide the children towards
education, picture in picture (or words in words), and so on, as the style of writing
that was shown, make children feel fun and interesting. On the other hand, they can
also learn the adult's humor is based on enhancing interpersonal relationship, which
differs from the children's sense of humor that stresses on self-recreation.