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You Can't Say You Can't Play Themes

Vivian Paley
This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of You Can't Say You Can't Play.
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The first chapter of You Can't Say You Can't Play concerns the 'habit' of rejection. This initial chapter contains themes that pervade the book. Paley believes that Americans live in a society that is exclusivist, intolerant and excessively hierarchical. She believes that this is due to the fact that children learn their forms of social interaction at an early age, and that these forms of social interaction do not reflect the broader moral beliefs of society at large. Parents and teachers do not teach children morality in practice. The natural behavior of children, like adults, is to prefer their own personal attachments to being fair to all, to focus on their particular lives rather than universal ideas like equality and democratic participation.

Children even often enjoy excluding one another from play and marginalizing certain members of their class. In the same way, adults marginalize certain...

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This section contains 830 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the You Can't Say You Can't Play Study Guide
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