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Literature / The Hare and the Pineapple

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"The Hare and the Pineapple" is a short story by Daniel Pinkwater that had appeared on a New York State English exam for 8th grade students in 2012.

The story involves a hare and a pineapple having a race; the actual details are a lot stranger than that, despite the story only being a few paragraphs long. As such, this story stirred up a lot of controversy, due to the bizarre plot and incomprehensible questions that followed.

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This work contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: "Pineapples don't have sleeves", apparently.
  • Batman Gambit: Subverted. The animals think the pineapple is trying to make them look like fools, with them being expected to cheer on the hare, who would then lose to the pineapple. So, they try to beat the pineapple by rooting for it, instead. The race comes, and...turns out the pineapple can't even move, so it had no big plan at all.
  • The Big Race: The pineapple challenges the hare to a major race, twenty-six miles, which takes even the fast-moving hare two hours to complete.
  • Devoured by the Horde: The story ends with the animals eating the (sentient and talking) pineapple, possibly because they were annoyed that it lost the race.
  • Inanimate Competitor: The pineapple itself, which just sits at the line and does nothing, like a real pineapple would.
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  • Reality Ensues: Despite the pineapple challenging the hare to the race, and all the animals expecting the pineapple to actually race, the pineapple just sits at the finish line, because pineapples can't move on their own.
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race: The story builds up the expectation that the pineapple will find a way to beat the hare, with the animals even discussing how the hare will likely make a mistake out of arrogance. The pineapple doesn't even move, and the hare wins.
  • Talking Animal: The first paragraph explains that, in the olden days, all the animals could talk English, just like humans. The Pineapple can talk English, too.
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