The Brave Monkey Pirate Analysis Essay

Jana, the boys, and I are pretty big Pirates of the Caribbean fans. More precisely, we're huge Jack Sparrow fans. I loved the first film--Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl--but only moderately enjoyed the following three films. But I'd go to anything if Jack Sparrow is in it. I think Depp's character is really one of the most entertaining characters in Silver Screen history.

Anyway, given that this is a psychology and theology blog I wanted to make a moral observation about Jack Sparrow, specifically his penchant for non-violence.

To be sure, Jack Sparrow isn't a moral paragon. Far from it. But it is noteworthy that he dislikes violence. Sparrow doesn't start fights. And he'll go to ridiculous lengths to avoid them. And it's not because he's a coward or lacking in skill. Sparrow is very brave and exemplary with the sword. He just doesn't like to fight.

For example, there are multiple scenes across the four movies where violence is about to break out and Sparrow jumps in to stop it and work out a negotiation. His efforts always fail, but he spends a great deal of time in the movies trying to talk people out of fighting.

Yes, his motivations are generally self-interested. And he's no pacifist. But I find Sparrow's reticence regarding violence to be morally commendable and worthy of note, particularly among pirates.

With so many violent action heroes in our movies Sparrow stands out as a moral exemplar and an exception. I think Sparrow's aversion to violence is striking given, say, the examples of the Marvel and DC Comics heroes currently dominating the screen. Consequently, Sparrow's example might have a salutary effect on young audiences.

Though we might have to lock up the rum. Savvy?

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Modi, who looks like a hairless puppy, wide-eyed, tiny and pink, is actually a monkey (if an appealingly goofy-looking one). And not just any monkey, but a pirate monkey whose bravery is tested when a doctor reveals he needs a shot, “to protect him from scurvy or something.” Modi goes on an epic pirate quest to find a magical object to help him through the ordeal: a magic rock he’ll grip while the vaccination needle goes into his arm. Filled with simple colored-in line drawings surrounded by lots of white space, the tale revels in pirate-y details (a treasure-chest-shaped shopping cart; dragons “so terrible that they will not be described in this book”—though they are depicted). The app’s Spartan interface includes pause/play buttons that only appear when the screen is pressed (along with an Info/Menu button). There’s also the choice of a child or adult narrator; listeners may find they prefer one cadence over the other or no narration at all, which is a third option. Writer/illustrator Roberts balances epic imagination and an everyday act of bravery to superb swashbuckling effect. (iPad storybook app. 2-8)


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