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The Tiger Who Came To Tea

(107 Posts)
nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:12:47

dd loves this book but am I being unreasonable to suggest that Sophie and her mother are massive pigs to sit at home and have such a massive tea of cake and buns and sandwiches? I mean it seems greedy to me.

MollyRoger Tue 02-Feb-10 15:14:55

Dh and I believe that Sophie's mum is a gin-fiend and it is all a ruse to be taken out for dinner as she has been too pissed all day to shop or cook etc.

deloola Tue 02-Feb-10 15:16:43

I love this book too - but I think sophie's mum made up the story to make up for the fact that she hadn't actually bought any tea so had to come up with a plan to get the daddy to take them out.

deloola Tue 02-Feb-10 15:17:38


nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:30:16

I agree she's a terribly tiny little Soak.
And that Tiger is a User.

At least it gives us a break from In the Blardy NIght Garden which is dd's total obsession.. sigh

shivster1980 Tue 02-Feb-10 15:33:05

The Tiger drank all of 'daddy's beer' but not all of Mummy's Gin so one can only assume she hid it very well! The art of an alcoholic. wink

EccentricaGallumbits Tue 02-Feb-10 15:34:28

always makes me feel like i'm tripping when i read it.
can still recite it beginning to end despite the DDs now being big and old.

nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:35:15

Also This Is The Bear,
who fell in the bin
this is the dog who pushed him in...
know this off by heart, dd worships this book

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 15:40:58

Tiger is a freeloader, trust me,...I went out with him once or twice. Ended up in same skankey cafe as Sophies family frequent.

sarah293 Tue 02-Feb-10 15:43:10

Message withdrawn

Pancakeflipper Tue 02-Feb-10 15:45:45

tiger has it all sussed. I admire his charming ways to persuade gin soaked housewives to open their doors/ pantry and alcohol cupboard to him.

nigelslaterfan Tue 02-Feb-10 15:49:39

lol little push

TheElephant Tue 02-Feb-10 15:52:26

many a thread analysing this book

differentID Tue 02-Feb-10 15:52:28

doesn't anyone else think that mummy spent all day on here instead of getting tea sorted for the evening?

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 15:57:45

Ok, the tiger is a figure for women's desire in the book.

Sophie allows the tiger into the house because she has not learnt that women's desires should be expressed only in limited,'palatable' forms.

Notice that the tiger 'can't be' any of the men who routinely visit the house - so even though he is male he is a figure for an expression of the women's feelings.

Both mummy and Sophie appear comfortable with the tiger and encourage him as he satisfies his (their) insatiable desire for fulfilment.

His desires though also wreak havoc in the home, leaving it unstable. The woman's work of washing, cooking and cleaning is barely possible in the house when he has finished.

When daddy comes home and sees the destruction there is no sign of the tiger: from his point of view there is clearly a link between the destruction and unrestrained consumption he sees and the women in front of him.

He restores patriarchal order by applying reason to the situation with his 'good idea'.

The mother is old enough to know that a woman gets more security in life by accepting 'little treats' from patriarchs than by demanding all her desires are met.

She accepts the offer of tea and Sophie is now aligned with her mother as they head out for their sausages and chips and ice-cream.

Both women know the secret about the existence of desire. Both keep the gleeful memory of what unrestrained desire feels like.

Both consign desire and the tiger to the past to keep daddy happy. And the tiger is never seen again.

Howzat. grin

In the transition stage of labour with dd2, I recited this book as a way of keeping calm. hmm

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 16:22:08

RedLentil - nice ideas, but....think they were all just scammed. grin

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 16:22:33

I haven't seen the other threads, TheElephant.
Off to hunt for them.

The tiger food is interesting: do they buy it

a)so they can offer the tiger a more restrained experience if he comes back (they resolve to experience desire in less destructive ways)?

b)because they wish for him to come back and buying it marks for them their shared desire for this to happen?

c) To signal the ongoing presence of their transgressive desires. Daddy is, after all unlikely to look in the cupboards which are spaces in the book only known to women and tigers.

And why the trumpet? One option is for the tiger to return. The other is for the women to leave the home and follow this siren call.

Back to the playdough for me ...

squeaver Tue 02-Feb-10 16:23:58

Sophie's mother's a drunk.

tiredlady Tue 02-Feb-10 16:27:58

You are absolutely spot on.
This book is all about sex.
It's filth!

RedLentil Tue 02-Feb-10 16:30:34

I'm putting my phd in English to good use on original research and getting accused of plagiarism. shockgrin

I've read the book at least 600 times - a girl has to keep her mind busy you know.

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 18:26:19

600 times? will have spotted the clever sub-plot then...

LittlePushka Tue 02-Feb-10 18:27:29 Zoo or not to Zoo?

I'd say chuck the blaggard in a cage!

cory Tue 02-Feb-10 21:11:42

RedLentil, you're scaring the shit out of me! I've got to give my first seminar in the English department on Friday - I can't cope!

<hides under table>

midnightexpress Tue 02-Feb-10 21:20:06

MArvellous redlentil. We usually read it in a Jungian psychoanalyst voice (German, natch) in the midnight household for all of the reasons you have so eloquently noted.

Though I can't help adding a rather sarcastic 'thank goodness!' when daddy appears to save the day with his 'good idea'.

theyoungvisiter Tue 02-Feb-10 21:23:39

A first for redlentil methinks...

However I would like to offer a different interpretation of the Tiger.

I see him as a figure of patriarchy, of male desire - the constant demands to be fed, satiated, served by the women of the household.

Note that the tiger is referred throughout as "He" and that a tiger is a common motif for sexually demanding, aggressive behaviour (cf "tiger in the sack" etc)

The tiger is, in literature, frequently used a contrasting, aggressive, motif to lamb-like innocence and the acceptance of suffering. Compare to William Blake's Tyger Tyger - "When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

By exploring the theme within the "safe" context of children's literature, the young (female) reader is simultaneously warned of the danger of men's untrammelled desire and of the unwisdom of admitting a strange male into the house.

At the same time she is given a coping mechanism to assuage and divert this desire - food. By stuffing the tiger with food-stuffs Sophie and her mother are able to divert his dangerous sexual energy into a safe channel.

The purchase of the tiger food is both an implicit warning of the possibility that the "tiger" may revisit Sophie when she is older, and a reminder of the need to take "precautions", should such an event occur.

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