That is, in the hilarious re-vamped tale of Cinderella the word ‘slut’ is used.
This book was first published in the 1980s, when most children had possibly never heard the word, ‘slut’ and had no idea what the word meant if they had. The word was generally just passed over as another very funny part of Roald Dahl’s story telling.
Here’s the offending section:
The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
I often read this and other ‘Revolting Rhymes’ to students in my classes over the years and never had a complaint.
(Children all knew that ‘nut’ referred to ‘head’)
I probably didn’t read this story to the very young children; small children who were still gaining enjoyment from the original fairy tales, but at about eight years of age and beyond, children were thrilled to hear such tales with a rude and yes, ‘revolting’ take on the old favourites.
Parents, also, found the book (and the others, “Rhyme Stew”, and “Dirty Beasts”) very entertaining.
These Roald Dahl books provided great opportunities for families to have reading time – and fun – together.
Other Roald Dahl books were also read by me to my pupils, including his far more serious memoir, “Boy”, which was a favourite, especially with Grade Five students.
It wasn’t only rude and grisly accounts that helped make Roald Dahl a favourite author for children and adults from before 1980 to more recent times. His books were (and are still, to some extent) devoured by millions; encouraging young people of every age to pick up a book and read.
The current furore over the word ‘slut’ has flabbergasted me. Perhaps I understand the original meaning of the word to simply mean ‘dirty’ or ‘slovenly’, but why some people place such importance on a single word and become all morally offended and (falsely?) high principled about it I cannot comprehend.
A final comment: If you are likely to be offended by words, why on earth would you buy a book that is entitled, “Revolting Rhymes”?
What did you expect?
To end, just another tiny extract:
'All right?' cried Cindy .'Can't you see '
I feel as rotten as can be!'
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
'There is a Disco at the Palace!
'The rest have gone and I am jealous!
How delightful is that?