“Duck, Duck, Goose”

Jinny Hwang first learned this game at a public school when she was five years old.  She was resting during her recreational time when the teacher gathered the students together to play a game.  The teacher placed the students into a large circle and asked for a volunteer who would be willing to run around the group and tap the other students on the head.  The volunteer was instructed to yell “duck” each time he tapped a person’s head until he reached an individual that he wished to be chased by.  Then he would tap that person’s head and yell “goose!”  Once this was done, the volunteer would have to run around the circle once with the “goose” chasing after him and sit down on seat the “goose” had just vacated.  If he could accomplish did without being tagged by the “goose,” he would be allowed to return to the circle.  If not, he would have to sit alone in the center of the circle in the “mush pot.”  The “goose” would then replace the volunteer as the new “it” person.

“Duck, Duck, Goose” is a game frequently played and enjoyed by children all over the United States.  It allows children to socialize with each other while giving them the daily exercise that they need.  The game further promotes the children’s listening and communication skills, as the participants need to be aware of what the “it” person is saying to succeed in the game.  It functions, therefore, not only as a pastime for children to enjoy with their peers but also as a learning tool for the children to establish social skills.

However, the game also promotes the idea of an “in group” and an outsider.  The lucky children who make up the circle are part of a larger happy group and enjoy the game.  However, the singled out individual is separated from the group and needs to work in order to return to his peers.  He needs to run as hard as he can in order to sit in the circle again and avoid being thrown into the “mush pot.”  The rest of the group members laugh and have fun at the expense of the lone individual while harboring a fear of being the next one to be singled out.  This scene is representative of society.  People generally tend to associate in groups and single out individuals that are different from them.  This game, therefore, can be seen as a preparatory step for children before they enter the real world.