I am sure we all know the Disney version of Pinocchio. Pinocchio is an innocent and young puppet who aspire to be a good real boy. Well, Carlo Collodi was obviously not on the same page as Disney when he wrote Pinocchio. Collodi was more interested in subversive literature, so Pinocchio was originally a puppet “brat.” He did whatever he pleased, he did not like to go to school, and he disobeyed his parents or other authorities; and for this, he was punished, severely, which brings me to my next point. Were Collodi’s methods of getting the morals across to the child readers effective? Was it appropriate for children?
Sure, Collodi was a bachelor and had no children; maybe this is the reason why his morals were so abrupt and harshly executed in the text. He simply did not understand children. No wonder Disney had to change the story around to make it acceptable! For example, Collodi teaches children that if they refuse to take their medicine when they are sick they will die. For example, Pinocchio refuses to eat his medicine after the fairy saves him from being hung on the tree. Pinocchio says, “I’d rather die than drink that horrid medicine!” (92). To this Collodi states, “At that moment the door of the room opened, and four rabbits as black as ink came in, carrying a little black coffin on their shoulders” (92). Collodi is trying to tell his young readers that if you refuse to take your medicine when it is offered to you, then you might die. Four rabbits will show up with a coffin to put you in. Then Collodi solidifies the moral when he says, “Shame on you! Boys should know that the right medicine, taken in time, might save them from a serious illness, perhaps even from death” (93-94). Basically, obey your parents when they offer you medicine, or else you will die. Harsh much?
Another place in the text where Collodi messes up the moral, in my opinion, is when Pinocchio gains the respect of his classmates. He says, “After a few kicks and blows, Pinocchio won the respect and liking of the whole school, and they all made friends with him” (151). Collodi is teaching his young readers that violence is the way to solve a dispute between classmates, and after violence, a child will gain popularity in his or her school. I find this very problematic.
Overall, Collodi relays important morals about obedience, studying, and several other life lessons to his young readers. I would say that he does this successfully because almost every other page presents a lesson, and he makes it pretty obvious. However, some of his morals are questionable and the way he presents them is problematic. I would not recommend Collodi’s version of Pinocchio to young readers because I believe that it will scare them to do anything that may be considered remotely out of line. I would, however, recommend it to parents who may need a small reminder about the value of patience when it comes to children who closely resemble Pinocchio’s character. Parents can see the example the fairy sets in the book and keep note of her patience and acceptance of Pinocchio, even when he constantly makes the same mistakes over and over again, as most children do.