An assignment from ENGL 105 at UNC, among one of the more moronic of their universal requirements

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Pinocchio: the fractured fairy tale, a story not advising against deceit and boyishness but rather encouraging diligence and obedience. In the original Pinocchio, the audience is swayed by misguided adventure into believing that life is best lived by pursuing academia and avoiding those who are marked to be avoided. Through turns and twists of plot and moral lessons, the original tale manages to cover a vast area of moral ground, from taking advice from strangers to disobeying parents in cocktail acts of selfishness and curiosity.

The original tale forcefully dissuades against the reader listening to the advice of and trusting strangers when Pinocchio, our wooden main character, encounters the reality inspired (Discovery) half-blind cat and a lame fox, who tell him that "If you would really like to please your father, you ought to take him a lot more coins. Now, we know of a magic meadow where you can sow these five coins. The next day, you will find they have become ten times as many!” (Pilhofer, 3), which is simply part of an elaborate scheme to steal the gold coins from Pinocchio. Ignorant of the scam, Pinocchio joins the two on a quest to the magic meadow, which results in his non-lethal hanging and attempted robbery.

These events are wise advice from the author to youthful minds in need of molding, but it’s important to note that the author fails to accentuate the gravity of this act by allowing Pinocchio to escape from this first folly unscathed. Regardless, the author successfully transfers the importance of prudence with regards to the advice of strangers, and subsequently reinforces either learning from one’s mistakes when Pinocchio is later approached by the cat and fox to continue their quest to bury the gold, or retreating when the pursuer has found that a path has caused enough trouble (which of these is reinforced is dependent on the readers’ interpretation of whether Pinocchio ascribed the robbery to the cat and wolf). These two lessons are ones heard most commonly in the incipience of our childhood learning, as we are most vulnerable to manipulation, but are not reiterated in the fractured tale.

The original tale continues to taunt our main character with transient, regrettable, and consequential pleasures such as accompanying a student, whom Pinocchio has been forewarned to avoid, to “Toyland” where “nobody ever studies...and you can play all day long” (Pinocchio, 4). Subdued by impressionability, Pinocchio joins the group, evidently determined to exhaust his remaining life pursuing simple pleasures. The plot continues to a rather unsightly scene, when the boys begin to transform into donkeys under the spell/will of their transporter. The impracticality of this event may diminish its influence on the reader, and so it should be considered that a more effective method to convey this lesson, which has arguably the most importance of all conveyed by the author, would closer resemble its predecessor in reasonability.

Pinocchio: the fractured fairy tale, succinct, straightforward, and more relatable a story to the youth of the modern era, conveys moral lessons in a slightly less sensationalistic manner. The fractured fairy tale highlights parental obedience more than the original story, and rather than negatively reinforcing this obedience by providing examples where disobedience results in negative happenings, the fractured fairy tale positively reinforces obedience by granting Pinocchio his ultimate desire only upon unquestioned obedience.

In the fractured tale, Pinocchio is forced by his father to star in a television show which claimed fame because of the unique nature of a sentient and animated puppet. Throughout the story, Pinocchio held on to a fairy’s promise that if he were to commit a brave deed, then his dream would be fulfilled of becoming a real boy. In response to his father’s wishes, Pinocchio kindly objected to which Geppetto threatened that if Pinocchio were not to obey him, he may “wind up as a big brown roll [of paper] in a butcher shop”. (Jacobs) In response, Pinocchio continues his role for the 51st time with perfect obedience without the use of cue cards for his lines. Upon the director’s recognition that these was a brave act, Pinocchio is transformed into a real boy, leaving Geppetto penniless but himself blissful.

This positive-negative reinforcement relationship is interestingly seen throughout the entirety of the fractured fairy tale and it inverts a similar motif that’s seen in the original fairy tale. In the original, Pinocchio is troubled by misfortune as a consequence of his wrongdoing while his father, Geppetto, is rewarded for his moral and kind acts. Conversely, in the fractured retelling, Pinocchio is exclusively rewarded for his righteousness while Geppetto is consistently punished for his selfishness and myopia.

This contrast is interesting as it may provide some insight into differences in the global, social perception of the relationship between father and son (or more generally, any child and parent) in the times these two stories were written, in addition to knowledge of different perceptions on these matters between the two authors. From this observation it may be deduced that in Florence in the 1850’s, (Burr) young boys were foolish and not to be trusted with any responsibilities while in the United States in the 1960’s (Silver), the obedience of young boys was more common and a single, elderly man was more likely to be selfish and immoral.

The vast expanse of moral ground covered by fairy tales, fractured or otherwise, is unyieldingly impressive. Their capacity to connect to and remain with the minds of youth across centuries, astonishing. Both the original Pinocchio and this fractured retelling are commendable in their analysis of the common downfalls of humans and the devices used to overcome them. Ultimately, the fractured retelling is a more compelling story despite the absence of rich meaning (Discovery), due to its ability to connect to the modern mind.

Works Cited
. N.p.. Web. 17 Apr 2013. <	home-110708.htm>.
Pilhofer, Frank. N.p.. Web. 18 Apr 2013. <>.
Jacobs, AJ. N.p.. Web. 17 Apr 2013. <>.
Burr, Charles. N.p.. Web. 17 Apr 2013. <>.
Silver, Steven. N.p.. Web. 17 Apr 2013. <>.