This week we find ourselves reading Harriet the Spy, which is quite the change from our historical readings. It, of course, tells a some sort of real life knowledge about keeping a filter on our inner selves, but I'm more interested on the take of her being a spy.
Harriet while becoming a spy is really learning something our lives now prize: being aware of everything. If she was an adult, would she have been reprimanded for her spying? In the corporate world people are constantly spying on one another like Harriet does and using people's weaknesses against them. They are rewarded and given raises and promotions. Harriet does not use any information on people (until later on for revenge purposes) and instead just keeps them as a private set of thoughts. When her private thoughts are found and read, she essentially gets in trouble. So what does this mean in a society like ours?
Harriet is just being honest and does not want to be the cutthroat like those in the business world would be. We as a society value honestly, or at least say we do, but ask that we also keep it to ourselves if others may not like it. This book seems to being a harsh lesson in that regard. First off, we find out the world is not understanding of our true nature (in this case Harriet's blatant honesty in her notebook). Second, we find out that the world is prone to revenge (the students form a club to act against Harriet and Harriet acts against them, as well). Thirdly, we find out that if we do something not necessarily deemed socially acceptable, but apologize publicly, we can be rewarded (Harriet becomes editor of the school newspaper), which seems an unrealistic ending.
As much as I like this book, I'm not sure if it really is saying anything of value for a youth or even if I'm finding the right meanings behind the actions of the book. We're not only teaching Harriet to keep her honesty to herself, but teaching her how the world reacts badly to honestly. Would we prefer an overly honest world or a sugar coated world?