The Itsy Bitsy Spider


Disclaimer: This post is written based on delirious thoughts. Today at work I was singing children’s songs because I was exhausted and my body compensates for extreme tiredness by flooding me with energy. This is the result of my overreacting neurons…

The itsy bitsy spider. We all know the song. And most of us have sang it at some point in our lives. But have we really thought about what the song, deceptively simple actually means? Ignoring the possible philosophical connotations like the Sun being evidence of a higher power or the interesting contradictory nature of the spider which in reality is often consider bad or evil but when made “itsy bitsy” becomes manageable and thereby good which speaks to our desire for evil if it comes in small doses. Ignoring all the other big question type scenarios, what does one get when they examine this song?

A classic glass half full or glass half empty scenario. Well, not exactly but the concept is similar. Essentially there are two extremes of people in the world (which a whole spectrum in between), people who think the spider is a courageous go-getter who won’t let anything stop him from achieving his goals and people who think that the spider is a foolish daredevil who can’t seem to learn from his mistakes. Assuming that the water spout in this song is the pathway to some sort of end goal, or even if you want to stretch, assume the spout to be the in and off itself, sort of a journey is the reward troupe, we see that the spider is on a mission, a quest if you will. Characterized as itsy bitsy, we can already tell that the quest will be daunting task as it pits the obvious underdog against this herculean task. Then as we see the spider crawling up this spout for some reason that is not made clear but seemingly is of absolute importance, the rain comes down, an uncaring force of nature made malevolent in direct proportion to it’s effect of the protagonist. If that isn’t a metaphor for life then I don’t know what is.

The crux of this discussion comes from the next two lines. After being washed out of the spout, essentially sent through the wringer and spat out by the emotionless combination of fate and mother nature, we see the Sun come out and dry the spider out. Even though I said I wouldn’t discuss it, it’s impossible to miss the implications of divinity present within this line. The source of light, heat and life of earth seemed to if anthropomorphised, care about the spider which is by description itsy bitsy. The parallel between this and the almighty God creator of all things caring about humans is unmistakable.

But I digress, the focus of this whole rant(?) is this: “The itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again!”

What does this line mean to you?

How does this speak to you as a person on your own impossible and possibly meaningless quest that we call life? When the storms of life smack you around and toss you around like a rag doll and spit you out in a bedraggled mess and you are somehow blessed enough to recover how do you respond?

Are you the itsy bitsy spider, charging back up the spout, challenging the source of your pain again with no guarantee of reward or are you going to shake yourself of and say I risked it once, no more?

I am not making any judgments as to which I think is right or wrong but simply asking a question. Feel free to respond in the comments.


2 thoughts on “The Itsy Bitsy Spider

  1. Laurisa

    I always admired the itsy-bitsy spider as a heroine who never gave up. I identified with her perfectly. She gives me strength to go on.

  2. I have never thought of that song in this way, and I’m sure most people don’t either. Your so-called “delirium” and over-active neurons make quite a stunning proposition. Inbred in me is a certain stubbornness to fight opposition. I don’t know how I got it or where it came from, but some strange part of me is bound and determined to figure all of this life stuff out, through mistakes, and joys and sorrows and curve-balls. Honestly, it’s not really something I understand, but I know it’s something I can’t stop. And….it’s probably better that I can’t. I make tons of mistakes, sure–but that’s living, isn’t it?

    The Scribbler

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