In his essay, “Toys”, Roland Barthes is trying to inform the reader about the influence of French toys on children and how those toys have lost their creative side as more toys were produced to mimic the adult life. All the traits that French people acquire are created by the society and those particular traits are socialized into the toy that is being produced. Barthes states in his essay that ” The fact that French toys literally prefigure the world of adult functions obviously cannot but prepare the child to accept them all, by constructing for him, even before he can think about it” (35).
By handing a toy to a child, parents send them a message and that message is to accept this toy and let it shape their life since they can’t use their imaginations to create something else. Barthes succeeds in his writing because he gives examples of toys that prefigure the adult world in France and toys that used to spark creativity in kids before so he does succeed in explaining the influence of French toys on children.
A toy that supports Barthes’ conclusions about French toys is a small kitchen set which is created to prove to the girls that their role in the society is to cook in the house and be a stay at home mom or wife. An American toy that provides a counter-example to Barthes’ conclusions could be a teddy bear since this plush toy does not mimic the adult world in any manner nor does it prepare a child for rules in society.
Ronald Barthes is not fair in his conclusions due to the fact that he is generalizing that all French people provide toys in order to prepare their children for future roles in society. Barthes generalizes by saying that “all the toys one commonly sees are essentially a microcosm of the adult world” (34). Barthes classifies all toys into the same category which are toys that imitate the adult world but I’m sure that there are French children who get toys that let them express their creativity. Not all toys are made to mimic the adult world so Barthes is being unfair in his conclusions.
Barthes’ conclusions don’t hold true in the United States for the simple fact that all the toys that are sold here don’t mimic the adult world. Toys such as building bricks or coloring books leave most of the imagination to children so they are not meant to make the kids act like adults who take on specific roles in the society. United States does have toys that represent different roles in the society but those are not the only toys that are being sold here and that’s why Barthes’ conclusions do not hold true in the United States.