What does Pinocchio mean

Pinocchio and the importance of education

Last update: 03 April, 2018

Pinocchio is the main actor of the The adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi and one of the most famous cartoon characters, thanks to his leap to the big screen, to which the makers of Disney helped him. But we can also find it in books, theater and television. In the collective imagination, Pinocchio is the wooden boy whose nose grows every time he tells a lie, yes The adventures of Pinocchio is not just about child lies.

Here we would like to focus on the version from Disney, as this is arguably the best known, despite the many differences that exist from the original. The film premiered in 1940 and shows the importance of education in childhood, and thus still conveys valid content. Since everyday life at that time looked very different from today, it is also important to take into account the context in which the film is set. The world has changed a lot since 1940 and if we want to make this beloved character appear meaningful today, we have to take him into the 21st century.

Pinocchio and other stories

At the beginning of the film we look at three books: Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The adventures of Pinocchio. Pepito Grillo opens the latter and the story begins. The allusion to the other two works is intentional, as they were both to be published in animated versions by Disney a decade later. If we compare the three works, we can find parallels:

  • The protagonists are children who do not want to grow up or who have difficulty growing up.
  • The children in the factories ask a lot of questions, they are curious.
  • All three works impart moral lessons, show what is right and what is wrong.
  • These three stories criticize various aspects of society, especially in the field of education.
  • Animals with human characteristics play important roles.

We could thoroughly analyze each and every one of these stories, but today we're going to focus on Pinocchio and some of its most important aspects.

The birth of Pinocchio, the wooden boy

Pinocchio is a puppet made by Geppetto, an honest, hardworking and kindhearted man. In Geppetto one recognizes his fatherly instinct from the beginning. You can see him taking care of his pets: Figaro the cat and Cleo the fish. He treats them as if they were part of his family. Together with them he has made a home for himself and acts like a father, but he longs to have a real child and wants Pinocchio to be alive.

The blue fairy will be responsible for granting Geppetto's wish and bringing Pinocchio to life. It is no coincidence that the doll is made of wood, as this material is associated with creation in mythology. Pinocchio will remain a boy made of wood until he shows he's ready to become a real boy.

The fairy gives Pepito the task, Pinocchio's conscience, to be his teacher for life. Incidentally, the fact that the fairy is represented in the form of a cricket is no coincidence either, because in many cultures it is a symbol of luck and wisdom. The blue fairy symbolizes the mother that Pinocchio never had, she gives him his life and always appears when he needs her most.

The way of life

Serious problems arise when Pinocchio must learn to distinguish good from bad and to resist temptation. Pepito Grillo will try to help him, although he fails many times. Because Pepito Grillo is small and sometimes difficult to hear, like the inner voice of conscience he speaks of.

“What is the conscience? I will tell you. Conscience is that faint inner voice that nobody listens to; that's why the world is so bad. "

Pepito Grillo

The next morning Pinocchio leaves the house and goes to school. The intersection at which he stops is a metaphor for the path of life on which we must overcome obstacles in order to achieve good. But in many cases it is easy to get lost and difficult to find your way back. Pinocchio is neither good nor bad, but he has to learn, grow and mature in order to gain wisdom and consequently be able to choose the right path. Because of his innocence and ignorance of the world, he will encounter hurdles that challenge him and that he must overcome.

On his way he meets two impostors: a fox known as the honest John and his friend the cat Gideon. The choice of these animals was not a coincidence either, since the characters of fox and cat are usually associated with cunning and perhaps betrayal. John and Gideon are ignorant and can neither read nor write, but they are greedy and take advantage of Pinocchio's innocence. He succumbs to the temptation being an artist and making profits without any effort.

Education avoids deception, illiteracy makes us vulnerable.

Pinocchio works as a puppet for Stromboli, he sings and dances, he moves without strings, nobody controls him. Here you can observe the irony and metaphor of the marionette: a marionette does not move by itself, it needs its strings and someone to move it. But Pinocchio doesn't need them. He is free. However, he soon discovers that freedom also means responsibility and duty.

Learning and liberation

Once escaped from Stromboli's custody, Pinocchio falls again into a trap from honest John, who gives him an ace of spades and makes him believe that it is a ticket to the island of games. Everything looks wonderful on the Island of Games, children can play, eat, drink, smoke, be violent ... You can even watch them doing the famous painting Gioconda by Da Vinci destroy. There are no laws and the children are free. However, they have been fooled because their acts of pure fun end up with them turned into a donkey become. Donkeys that are used for work, which can be interpreted as that lack of education ends in slavery.

In the end Pinocchio discovers that Geppetto was looking for him and was eventually swallowed by a whale. Worried Pinocchio decides to make up for his mistakes and go out to save his father. The moment they step out from inside the whale represents freedom, for overcoming blows of fate and doors that knowledge opens.

The lies

On the other hand, the film addresses the subject of lies. You can see Pinocchio lies to protect yourself, for example when the blue fairy asks him why he didn't go to school. Pinocchio knows he's done something wrong and protects himself. This is an instinctive defense mechanism. It is neither a deliberate lie nor an overly costly lie; it is an improvised lie. Like children lie to avoid punishment when they know they did something wrong. These types of lies are usually made between the ages of four and five, although in some cases they can become entrenched and even worsened.

Learn to be free

It is important to look at the film from the perspective of the time in which it was made. Illiteracy was still a serious problem in Western countries, and both the educational system and the family model were based on a certain way of thinking, adamant and inflexible. A mindset that is still practiced in certain corners of the world - and in certain conservative regions of the western world.

The message that Pinocchio left us is clear: Education liberates us, knowledge leads us to good decisions and does not allow us to fall into delusions. It is therefore our responsibility as tutors of the coming generations to bring up the children in such a way that they can be free, capable of criticism and achieve a high degree of autonomy in their decisions.

We're not just talking about the importance of education in academia, math, languages, or sports. Because all education is based on the ability to think, consider, analyze, be critical ... Every child is a world, has its own worries and that is why it is our duty and our privilege to take care of them. The role of teacher is important, but what is more work is what parents do with their children at home, what they teach them there. The foundations are laid here. The teacher is there for math, languages ​​and sports.

"The first task of education is to shake life and then set it free for it to develop."

Maria Montessori

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