Seeing the Value in Der Strewwelpeter


  • Michael Lewis
  • Peyton Gilmore


Der Struwwelpeter is a staple of German children’s literature written by Dr. Heinrich Hoffman in the mid 19th century. The book contains ten illustrated stories written in verse meant to teach children moral lessons, often ending with them suffering for their indiscretions. In the stories, children burn to death, waste away from malnutrition, and, most infamously, have their thumbs cut off by a tailor because of bad or unacceptable behavior. Regardless of the book’s enduring popularity, the question of whether it succeeds as a pedagogical narrative continues to be asked due to the graphic content described within. While Der Struwwelpeter itself is not appropriate for the 21st century, its structure as a narrative can be valuable in the modern day. Despite the controversy surrounding it, Der Struwwelpeter served as a successful and effective educational text in its time, and it still has something to offer now.






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