Pinocchio was the embodiment of a dream and the essence of childhood. Geppetto, an elderly carpenter, desperately wanted a son, but was unable to have one. So, he built himself a wooden puppet as a substitute for a flesh and blood boy. Lifeless on the shelf, Pinocchio made a poor substitute until a good fairy bestowed breath upon him. However, this life was not entirely real; Pinocchio was still made of wood. Geppetto was thrilled with his good fortune and loved his "boy". Pinocchio however, being immature and impatient, longed to be a REAL boy. He could, the fairy promised, if he proved himself worthy. The remaining story sends Pinocchio on many adventures. From being kidnapped and forced to perform as a marionette, to being invited to a decadent island of hedonistic pleasures, fate threw Pinocchio many opportunities to show his worth. He continues to fail however because he cannot quell his immoral, selfish, immature desires. The tale of Pinocchio is, in may respects, a classic coming of age story. Blessed (or cursed, depending on your perspective) with a very vocal conscious, Pinocchio struggles to grow up in spite of his many obstacles, both internal and external. Pinocchio's conscious is personified by the character of Jiminy Cricket. Additionally, Pinocchio's moral flaws are depicted by his nose, which visibly grows whenever he tells a lie. Children throughout history have been able to relate to Pinocchio because even though the story contains magic and other improbable realities, the basic task of growing up is accurately depicted by Pinocchio's growing awareness of his own flaws and his growing ability to deal with situations maturely. In the end, Pinocchio proves himself by being unselfish, putting himself in danger to save his loving father. In a classic fairy tale ending, everybody is happy.
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