By Robert Munsch
Christopher is making cookies out of clay and he gets his parents to eat them. When Christopher gives the cookie to his mom she eats it and then runs to the washroom to wash out her mouth, so Christopher does it again with his dad. In the end of the book Christopher’s teacher teaches him a lesson by giving him a fake cookie, and finally Christopher makes a real cookie to give to his parents.
This story deals with some interesting philosophical concepts. When Christopher gives his parents fake cookies it seems wrong, but when the teacher gives Christopher a fake cookie it seems that she is in the right. This creates an interesting contrast that we would like to explore through the discussion. It may even be that the teacher in the story was not justified in her actions, but that is up for the discussion to decide.
Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion
This book deals with the concept of social contract theory. In the story Christopher does something wrong because he thinks it is funny, but when the tables are turned and he is put into the same position Christopher no longer finds it funny. The aspects of punishment are explored by comparing the teacher’s actions to Christopher’s actions. This presents an interesting question, as to why it seems ok for the teacher to do something, but wrong for Christopher to do it. In this module we have used that contrast to explore the ideas of punishment and its necessity in a society. An alternative line of questioning also deals with who gets the role of punisher.
The remaining question sets were created to explore the ideas of guilt and redemption. The last two pictures in the book show Christopher taking a real cookie home to his parents. This raises the duel questions of “why” and “does this make up for his earlier behavior?” In one question set we explore guilt as an enforcer of the social contract. In the other question set we wished to explore the nature of redemption.
Questions for Philosophical Discussion
The Social Contract
Guilt and Redemption