LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

The Fairy With Azure Hair

on February 7, 2013 12:57pm

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When Pinocchio attempts to escape from his veiled assassins, he reaches a white cottage that is answered by a girl with “azure hair and a face as white as wax.” Upon seeing the pitiful condition of Pinocchio, this fairy resuscitates the marionette and teaches him an important lesson.

Collodi describes this fairy in different ways throughout the book, but the one characteristic that prevails is her azure hair. She always has an air of beauty, mystery, and patience with her. She also shows signs of being omniscient because she knows all of Pinocchio’s actions without ever physically being with him. 

Pinocchio initially disobeys the fairy until it almost costs him his life. At this point, he listens and obeys to the fairy’s wise command to the best of his ability. However, being the young rascal he is, Pinocchio always ends up in trouble for not completely obeying the fairy’s words. She can be thus seen as a maternal figure, although she initially tells him that they will be like siblings.

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Interestingly, there are no passages about the fairy’s interactions with any other character than Pinocchio. She states that she has called for Geppetto to live with him, but we never read of her actually talking to Geppetto. Also, the Talking Cricket claims a goat with azure hair gave him the cottage by the sea, but we never see this occurring either. This leads to the idea that maybe the azure fairy is similar to the great grandmother in The Princess and the Goblin because she does not appear openly to everyone. Instead, she gives advice to Pinocchio and watches him from afar. 

From the outset, Collodi describes the fairy with endearing terms, making her appear to be a heartwarming, motherly figure who watches over Pinocchio as a mother hen watches her chicks. She shows him patience and forgives him repeatedly, while also making him learn a valuable lesson each time. She could be closely tied to a religious aspect because she teaches him about important morals in life that Pinocchio must learn to become a “real”  boy. When he finally obeys her commands and lives up to his responsibilities at the end of the book, she grants him riches, his father youth, and magically changes him into a real boy. This is similar to the idea that following the Christian path will make one happy, spiritually rich, and ultimately give them an afterlife.

Thus, this fairy with azure hair is necessary to help Pinocchio grow into a mature boy. With her direction, Pinocchio changes himself from a reckless, rash boy into a responsible boy who can provide for his family. Although Pinocchio has Geppetto as a father, it is the fairy who teaches Pinocchio all of the important life lessons. When he shows his selfless attitude in the final chapter of Pinocchio by giving his fifty pennies to the snail for saving the fairy’s life, she grants him the greatest gift of being a real human boy.

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2 responses to “The Fairy With Azure Hair

  1. mrmg0 says:

    After reading this post on the Blue Fairy one thing in particular struck me was that Pinocchio did not see anyone else interacting with the fairy. I thought through the ones you mentioned and attempted to recall anyone that the Blue Fairy interacted with that was decidedly humanoid and was not just hearsay and I only came up with one conclusion: The animal doctors. However, laying these aside, the Blue fairy is never seen to interact with any other major character besides Pinocchio. I was left to wonder why is she then his personal guide? That she takes the role of “Jiminy Cricket” in the Disney version I feel cannot be questioned for, as you say she pushes him to learn and grow, effectively acting as his “conscience.”
    This then leads towards the Christian allegation: that she is the symbol that leads Pinocchio to lead a meaningful life and truly, unlike Gepetto, teaches Pinocchio. This symbolism so similar to the grandmother in the Princess and the Goblin, as you mentioned, really strikes home this conscience part of Pinnochio. That she is, effectively, a manifestation of Pinocchio’s inner Christian and that she, thus, does not directly interact with other characters. That his inner voice grows: physically from a “little girl” ,in my translation at least, to an older more motherly figure effectively commemorating Pinocchio’s growing maturity and “Christianity” as the story progresses until he becomes a real man, a real “Christian” man who follows that “inner” voice of truth and light that is the Blue Fairy.

  2. kmelkins says:

    I completely agree with both the post and the first comment. There are many similarities between Pinocchio and the Blue Fairy and Irene and her grandmother. As you both pointed out, the grandmother and the Blue Fairy don’t appear to many people other than their “charge” (Irene and Pinocchio). Both the Blue Fairy and the grandmother serve as mother figures and wisewomen, while retaining a sense of mystery. Even their physical descriptions are similar: the Blue Fairy has “azure hair and a face as white as wax”; the grandmother has pale white skin and long silver hair. Which had me wondering—what is the big deal with women’s hair? Why does almost every main female character have such an emphasis of their physical description on their hair and skin? Is it to make a clear distinction between the ethereal (the Blue Fairy and the grandmother) and every other character so as to make it easier for young children to understand?

    Another thing I noticed was the marked difference between the behavior of Irene and Pinocchio. Irene, for the most part, obeys her grandmother and is never in any real, immediate danger that she can’t get out of with her grandmother’s help. On the other hand, Pinocchio wants to be good for the Blue Fairy but disobeys and is constantly in trouble of his own doing (even indirectly). Though Blue Fairy helps him a bit, she leaves Pinocchio to suffer the consequences of his own actions. I especially thought this was interesting, given the lack of young girls in the story, as we discussed in class. As you pointed out in the post, Pinocchio needed the Blue Fairy to grow and mature into a responsible and well-behaved young boy. Princess Irene was already a well-behaved and kind young girl; she just needed protection from outside influences (i.e. the goblins) from her mysterious great-grandmother.

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