The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores


Papa Bear fails at life.

This one's a good example of the commonly-mentioned problem with the Berenstain Bears that Papa Bear is just a doofus and fails at being a human being, or whatever he is, by virtue of being male.

The kids and Papa Bear don't want to do their chores, and Mama Bear ends up doing them all and getting in a bad mood about it because she's doing everybody's chores. Then Papa calls a family meeting and says, “I think we should ease up on the chores.” And Mama goes, “That's a good idea!” And she just stops doing all her chores and everything turns out miserable and when she's gone the kids and Papa clean everything up and then she thanks them.

This is another book where nothing really gets resolved on a permanent basis. That's the kind of thing that will build into a cycle: everybody doing their chores once, and being thanked for it, and then going back to Mama doing their chores and resenting it, and then Mama not doing her chores as a way of passive-aggressively trying to force everybody to do their chores, everybody doing their chores in one fell swoop, and then going back to living in a messy house again. It doesn't work. It's not a long-term solution. The ending is very unresolved.

The best part: “A strange green mold grew on the shower curtain, and a thousand-legger came swimming toward Sister in the bathtub.”


Do your chores.

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