Short Summary of “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley
In every story she told, the bad child did a mischievous or unkind thing which hurt someone. The punishment received was that the goblins would take the child away from the house. In one instance a child didn’t obey his parents and the next morning that child was not found by the parents in any corner of the house. In yet another story, there was a little girl who mocked at the old people and teased all his relatives and kin. She did not bother about not hurting them and continued this ungenerous behavior of troubling them. One fine day when she was hiding after making fun and creating some trouble, she was taken away by the two black things which were the goblins through the ceiling. She didn’t get a chance to save herself.
The poet has created the presence of ugly powers in a horrifying set up where the Annie was finally trying to give an advice to the children. She said that when the wick of the lamp sputters and the moon is gray in color and the wind is blowing with a woo sound, you must be careful. You must have enough sense to respect your parents and your teachers. You should admire your loved ones and the kin, and be careful to help an orphan who needs you. You should help the poor and the needy without minding anything. She gave the moral or intended meaning behind the stories that she told to the children. It was that all children must have good moral values and respect for one and all. If they did not behave so, the goblins would eat them away.
Thus, the poem describes how a little orphan has such strong moral values and she knew the way she could imbibe them in the other children of the Riley house. She knew that children would learn and grow better in their moral values with the help of goblin stories.