Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dear Pinocchio

C/o Geppeto, 
C/o Carlo Collodi

Dear Pinocchio,

“As plain as the nose on your face” What an interesting phrase! In your case, it’s quite literally true.

I wonder what it must feel like to know that every lie you utter, even if it be a harmless, ‘white’ one, will be exposed to the world by your steadily lengthening nose. What a heavy burden to place upon an animated wooden puppet!

As a puppet, you weren’t guided or governed by any conscience or moral system. Why oblige you to act in accordance with something you didn’t have? We humans, despite having access to complicated and intricate value systems and a conscience that is capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, still manage to come up with our own fabrications to delude ourselves and others. Why hold a puppet accountable then?

Of course, I must acknowledge that the elongation of your nose does not depend on lies alone. The strange phenomenon is also in evidence when you’re nervous. And maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe it means that you were basically honest, and that telling a lie made you nervous and stressed you out.

Your goal was simple. You did not want to go to school and study, but preferred to “chase after butterflies, climb trees, and steal birds’ nests.” Exactly how Geppeto, the wood carver, made you -- to “be able to dance, fence and turn somersaults,” so he could “go around the world, to earn my crust of bread and cup of wine.”

At heart you were innocent and naïve, yet sometimes gullible and cruel. Always playing pranks upon others, never thinking about the consequences. Always trying to be good, but never quite succeeding. You were a free spirit, but your body was wooden. You would rather be spending the day horsing around, but your father, Geppeto, the wood carver who carved you, thought you should go to school and learn a sense of responsibility. All you wanted was to be a boy, a real boy. But first you would have to prove yourself brave, unselfish and truthful.

Sometimes I wonder, are you the hero of a morality tale that is meant for adults, but disguised to look like a children’s story. How could your story be meant for children? Unless we want to scar them for life.

You throw a hammer and kill the Talking Cricket; you show no sense of responsibility or morals. You’re like the Shin-Chan of Fairy Tales. I’d keep you a mile away from the nearest child. But perhaps that’s what gets our attention.

Through you, we learn the value of obedience to parents, and fulfilling our place in life. When Geppeto sells his coat to buy you the A-B-C book, you learn the truth about love. Other adventures follow, and they, in turn, serve to temper your youthful enthusiasm, and teach you some lessons. Nothing like life to hammer lessons into our wooden heads.

Yes, we’re real, but we have ‘wooden’ heads too.

Pity our noses don’t function as lie detectors!


  1. I remember going to see Pinocchio as a child. Not sure how old I was but I remember that it scared the 'you-know-what' out of me. Was it meant to scare children into telling the truth?

  2. "No, those pants do not make you look fat."
    "Why is your nose growing?"

    Great breakdown of the story. I had forgotten the cricket died in original story.

  3. I never thought of it that adult tale disguised as a children's book!! but now that you've does look like that!
    and that part about us having wooden heads too...too beautiful!!

  4. Not a fan of Pinocchio. True that we are wooden sometimes and our noses doesn't grow!

  5. I always felt quite sad for Pinocchio that his lie would be so visible. Imagine if that was the fate of humans too!

  6. That's what I've always thought, Denise, I've never really related to the book as a children's book. Even today, I don't think I could bring myself to read it to my kids. I think only an an adult's maturity could handle the volatile content within.

  7. Hmm, some unpleasant facts we all put aside, don't we? Jeffrey. Good thing we humans weren't built like Pinocchio. Saves us a lot of embarrassment. Not to mention the inconvenience of a lot of elongated noses in public, especially in small spaces.

  8. It is, I really think so, Little princess, it's too violent for kids. Thank you for appreciating it.

  9. I can understand, Janaki, I'm not a fan of his either. He is not the typical children's book, that is why few people have positive associations with him.

  10. I don't know what would happen if we humans shared his fate, Suzy. Would life be good or inconvenient?



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