• Opinion
  • 27 de May de 2024
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  • 9 minutes read

Pinocchio and the cancelled metaphor

Pinocchio and the cancelled metaphor

Pinocchio and the cancelled metaphor

Pinocchio as a wooden being is the metaphor of childhood, made up of drives and emotions

OpenClipart-Vectors. / Pixabay

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Xavier Massó


Many generations have been introduced to Pinocchio through Walt Disney‘s film adaptation (1940) by Carlo Collodi‘s ‘The Adventures or Pinocchio. Story o f a Puppet’ (1882).  Anyway, as it usually happens when one does not want to or does not know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, Disney’s filmography adaptations used to be criticized in order to his ideological bias and the extremly conservative and reactionary values transmited to childhood, either Disney’s or the stories adapted, something that undoubtedly predisposes to inhibition or even to absolute reject. Just like many other nineteenth-century fairy tales, whether adapted by Disney’s or not.

But then it turned out that compared to further film adaptations, Disney’s were proved to have been far more faithful to their original spirit than than these same stories readapted some decades later. So, perhaps the reason to blame Disney’s was not a matter of fidelity to the original piece, but a certain dislike for the stories themselves. Thus, the aim that may have inspired such criticism should not be therefore the demand for fidelity to the originals, but rather to alter them in a certain other sens. Actually, since the politically correct started to spread and the cancel culture movement felt himself sufficiently empowered to show its true face, it began censoring these same stories formerly adapted by Disney’s, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Bambi or Peter Pan, subverting them, as well as Hergé’s, Roald Dahl’s and so many other authors and stories. Now the inquisitorial bonfire is not to burn books, but to cancel them, unless altered to fit in the politically correct requirements, so nobody may feel upset about. In other words, don’t let the exploited one to realize he’s actually being exploited, because he may feel offended or, even worse, he may become unhappy.

Perhaps the original sin of Pinocchio’s is the extreme difficulty involved in altering the spirit that animates the story -not in vain, Collodi was himself a Freemason- to convert it into an adapted plot that would sound nice to the inquisitors of the Cancel Culture. Perhaps that’s why  Pinocchio was to be cancelled and it doesn’t seems to inspire currently any educational interest. Eppur si move…

Pinocchio is an animated wooden doll built by Geppetto, an elderly carpenter with a putative single-parent vocation. He is not (yet) a person, but a piece of wood in the human shape of a child. He speaks, he moves and he feels like a child, but he lacks of consciousness. He is not an animal either, not adult nor puppy. Animals are something different. Pinocchio is a purpose to become human, a project that is yet to be done, but he can’t do it alone, although it has to be earned by himself. He will have to take his side. A metaphor of childhood as a stage in a broader journey.

The Fairy with azure hair comes to Pinocchio’s aid. Nevertheless, the Fairy can help and advise, even by magical means, but the final decisión will always be on Pinnocchio’s side. Like the Greek gods, a Fairy can provide, but not determine; She can play more or less with the threads of destiny, but she does not weave them. To assist Pinocchio, she provides him with an external adviser, a kind of guardian angel or Freudian super-ego: a talking cricket –Il Grillo Parlante in the original italian text-. But Pinocchio, who just moves by dirves, does not like being told what to do and he kills the cricket, although he will later reappear in further chapters. Pinocchio has first to learn about the world to be able to make his own decisions, but learning is hard, he can’t do it alone; he lacks the capacity for discernment. In other words, Pinocchio is amoral, but he does not want to: this is what makes him capable to become human one day.

In the meantime, he hardly manages to get out of many difficult situacions he gets involved in because of his wrong decisions, but he gets rid of them thanks to the intercession of the Fairy. Then, when he decides to take care of Geppetto, who had been swallowed by the Terrible Dogfish and rescues him, he has made his own decision and he’s ready to become human, under the metaphor of his metamorphosis from a puppet to a real boy. Back home, Pinocchio dreams that he is visited by the Fairy, who kisses him. When he wakes up he’s a real boy and the puppet body is lying lifeless beside him. And no more growing nose when he lies.  Now he knows to distinguish  betwen truth and lies. Then, if he ever lies again, like each other does, he’s aware it will be under his own responsability, not anymore because he’s just been mechanically impelled to. Childhood has definitely been left behinf.

Pinocchio as a wooden being is the metaphor of childhood, made up of drives and emotions, while his own conscience is being formed to take control of himself. Pinocchio is learning, and if he had not learned, he would have stayed like the piece of wood he had once emerged from.

One of the most educationally illustrative episode is the Toyland chapter. With his friend Lucignolo, a conceited oaf who feels himself as an expert adult, they get on the wagon of the mysterious “coachman” who’s collecting children to Toyland.  A children’s paradise `where they play all day and never work or study, which, by the way, in Disney’s film it turns to be a paradoxical nemesis of his own Disneyland; in Collodi’s it has instead some more “sordid” overtones.

But there is a trap. While they’re having so much fun, boys don’t notice donkey tails are growing up in their bodies, until it’s too late to realize that they had become donkeys and they’re no longer able to speak, but just to bray. Then the evil owner of Toyland sells the donkeys to the owner of a circus, who uses them for grotesque joke acts until they are exhausted and useless to work. Then, they are used as food for the circus lions and replaced by a new donkeys recruit coming from Toyland.

A true metaphor for labor cannon fodder. Although as long as we consider this in view of the outcomming profiles established by our current educational system, the gamificated education and the centered educational focus targeted on the absolute priority of emotions and urges, we must recognize we can hardly detect any other metaphor than being swallowed by lions. In other words, metaphor has been cancelled by our current educational systems.

But there still is a metaphor left in order to the inner chronology of the novel as a literary piece. In Collodi’s first version, Pinocchio failed his formative journey and ended up as firewood. Not because being found guilty, he won’t be responsable for his own decisions, but a victim since those decisions were the wrong ones. Later on, Collodi changed his mind and moved to a happy ending: the story of Pinocchio we all currently know.

In both cases Pinocchio had the same chances and help. But in the first one he misheed the advises and he made the wrong decisions. This is the way things are, whether we like it or not. But the true metaphor is that without help, without learning, we are all irretrievably condemned. And we can’t learn if we are not thaught. What can we think then about an educational system wich has become a replica of Pinocchio’s Toyland?   Not even Walt Disney ever dared to go that far.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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