Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Process of Becoming -- Writer's Poke #240

I watched Pinocchio for the first time last night, and what a quaint story it is by today's standards. Here's a wooden puppet that would love to become a boy, but to do so, he must prove himself. His task is to avoid lying, avoid smoking, and for god's sake, avoid playing pool. Real boys know right from wrong, and they choose to live according to their consciences.

Most of the focus in the movie is on Pinocchio, but it's quite clear in the Paradise Island segment that boys who "sin" aren't any better than marionettes (or jackasses). They're just controlled by different strings.

Pinocchio's "conscience" is Jiminy Cricket, which is interestingly a euphemism for Jesus Christ. Unlike a "real" conscience, and unlike Jesus Christ, Jiminy is not perfect. He's a little bit of a ladies' man, and one wonders if perhaps sometimes a conscience itself doesn't need a conscience. But both Jiminy and Pinocchio grow by film's end -- Pinocchio is "promoted" to real-boy status, and Jiminy receives his badge from the Blue Fairy.

Describe the process of becoming (examples: becoming a man, becoming a woman, becoming a friend or a spouse, a citizen, etc). What gets removed or lost in the process?

"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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