Friday, March 4, 2011

Pinocchio (Children's Literature analysis)

            As we all know, Pinocchio is a story about a puppet that can move and talk like a human but later on he will turn into a donkey due to his dishonesty. For your information, this story is written by an Italian author, Carlo Colodi. Due to its moral value and simplicity, the story becomes famous and it has been told through generation all over the world.  Since this story is a well-known story, so, I will skip the summary of the story. Note that I also attached the short version of Pinocchio which covers the important key of the story. Because the original version consists of more than 30 chapters, and it’s not convenient to print all of the materials, so I choose the simplified one.
            Before I come to my analysis of the story, I would like to point out some of the analysis/arguments that other people have made. According to Wikipedia, “Pinocchio, in addition to being a children's tale, is a novel of education, with values expressed through allegory. There are many ways of viewing these allegories. One is that they mirror the values of the middle class of the nineteenth century, in particular, that of Italy, as it became a nation state. For example, not following the schemes of the fox and cat (i.e. the thieving noble class), but, instead, honestly working for money, and obtaining an education, so that one is not treated like an ass (the mule working class).”(1)
            So, here comes my analysis of the story. Basically, the story tells us about how important it is to always tell the truth. The readers will find that a lie will only lead them to some serious situations. Here is a quote which I found in the story:
"Why didn't you go to school today?" she asked Pinocchio in a sweet voice.
"I did," answered Pinocchio. Just then, his nose shot out like a tree branch. "What's happening to my nose?" he cried.
"Every time you tell a lie, your nose will grow. When you tell the truth, it will shrink," said the Blue Fairy. "Pinocchio, you can only become a real boy if you learn how to be brave, honest and generous."(2)

From the quotation above, we can see that once Pinocchio tells a lie, his nose will grow. And when he tells the truth, it will shrink. Generally speaking, this condition taught the children to be honest and to be brave in every situation. Especially, when they are facing some serious matters in which honesty is a necessity in their daily lives. This story will inspire them to be honest because they will find that dishonesty will only bring them a serious problem. Another important quotation from the story:
‘It was not very long before the boys began changing into donkeys. "That's what happens to bad boys," snarled the Circus Master as he made Pinocchio jump through a hoop.’(2)
From this quotation, we can see that it has a normative expectation for children just like what Jack Zipes has stated. From that part of the story (the quotation), children will learn that if they don’t go home straight after the schools end without telling their parents, they will be considered as bad kids. And if they are bad kids, they will be in a serious situation (in the story, they transform into donkeys). This fact will affect children, in which they will become more aware that coming home after school is a good thing to do since they don’t know how dangerous the outside world might be.
            In conclusion, Pinocchio was one of the folk tales which was “written with the purpose of socializing children to meet definite normative expectations at home and in the public sphere,”(Zipes, Jack. Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, p.9). The moral lesson we can get from Pinocchio story is not to lie, because it’s not good and it will only lead you to some serious problem.

1Directly cited from
2 Directly quoted from

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