LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

The Ultimate Puppet

on February 7, 2013 12:29pm

Within Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio we encounter a wooden marionette, which has been carved to resemble that of a young boy.  This puppet goes by the name Pinocchio and was carved by Gepetto out of magical wood.  Since Gepetto is who gives Pinocchio a “body” which allows him to become animated and he can move and speak all by himself now.  Thus, it is established that Gepetto is now Pinocchio’s father.  Pinocchio is not the marionette that Gepetto had originally hoped to create but instead becomes more like a naughty little boy.  Therefore, his hopes for a source of income quickly become something he is financially dependent for.

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There are many takes on what the purpose of Pinocchio is.  Most of the time it is believed to be a cautionary tale to warn children, especially boys, what can happen when one is naughty.  The fact that there are no girls or women within the text, except for the Blue Fairy who holds a very different role.  This coupled with other elements within the story have given some psychoanalysts the idea that this novel is very Freudian and we see the Oedipus Complex portrayed through Pinocchio.  Some critics believe that the lack of girls/women, and the “phallic” nose directly reference the underlying homosexuality within the text.  Contrary to this idea is that many of the Italian critics seemed very anti-Freudian and they decidedly ignore the “phallic nose” and instead focus on the idea of “the innocence of childhood and by the immaculacy of the Virgin Madonna-Fairy-Godmother” (Stone, Pinocchio and Pinocchiology).

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I, however, am more apt to agree with the psychologist view of the story of Pinocchio and his father, which states that, “and see the real good boy as the puppet” (Stone, Pinocchio and Pinocchiology).  Pinocchio while a marionette is his own person.  He makes mistakes and tries to do what he is told.  However, to be changed into a real life, flesh, breathing young boy he must obey all that he is instructed to do.   He must conform to all of the instructions he is given by Gepetto, the Blue Fairy, and the other adults he encounters. Thus, by achieving his wish to be a real boy he sacrifices all his abilities for free thinking actions.

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Source: STONE, JENNIFER, Pinocchio and Pinocchiology, American Imago, 51:3 (1994:Fall) pages 329-331

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