A discussion on Valentine’s Day and Pinocchio

In class on Tuesday, Feb. 14 we began with a presentation of the movie Shrek. The two women who presented on the movie broke down the plot and characters of the story. However, the most interesting aspect of their presentation was how they argued whether or not the movie Shrek was a “mock fairytale”, which is defined as a parody of other fairytales. They argued that this aspect was the main criticism of the movie, stating that because many other fairytale characters and themes were included in the plot line of Shrek.

A common theme throughout many fairytales, and one that was the underlying commonality of Shrek was that of the main characters transforming throughout the story. In Shrek, there is a transformation of Fiona throughout the entirety of the movie. Whereas, Fiona’s transformation was that of physicality, many fairytale transformations are not as physical and direct, with majority of transformations happen through a character’s own mind and experiences.

But what is a class on Valentine’s Day without talking about Valentine’s Day? In class we also discussed the various types of love seen through the stories that we have read throughout the semester thus far. We hit on true love, familial love, and the love of friendship. The theme of love can be seen throughout every single story that we have read through up until this point. To be so bold, love is the one common theme throughout every story, ever.

From discussing love, we moved on to finish our discussion on Beauty and the Beast section in the Classical Fairy Tales book. We concluded as a class that the stories of this section were a lot more difficult to follow than those stories of other sections. As a class, we concluded that there was no connection from story to story as there had been in other sections of the book.

The first story that we discussed as a class was the story of the Fisherman. The main topic that we conferred with this story was answering the question of how do fairytales deal with death? We decided that through the tale of the Fisherman that death is presented twice. Once the man went away with the immortal women, leaving his family and all he had known, that was the first “death” of the man. Then, when the Fisherman experiences a longing to return home, he returns 300 years later. There is a sense of time travel and a lapse of time for the Fisherman. The second “death” that the man experiences are the death of his family and no one remembering him any more. Through this example of death we concluded that while everyone will have to go through a physical death, there is also a second death that people might have once no one remembers them any longer.

Moving on from classical fairytales, we ended class today discussing the chapters of Pinocchio that was assigned. We began the discussion talking about how Disney has a very skewed version of the classical story of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. However, while Disney might have strayed far from the original story, Disney’s production of Pinocchio makes the text a wider-known tale, connecting us, the viewers, to the original story.

From there, we broke down the chapter titles. Overall, as a class, we enjoyed the chapter titles and found them helpful and humorous. One class member even went as far as to say that the chapter titles were even funnier than the stories in the chapter themselves. More so, the chapter titles somewhat presented the plot summary. This practice is taken from biblical traditions by highlighting the major key aspects of shorter novels with shorter chapters. However, while the plot is somewhat summed up in the chapter titles, the moral of the story is not included. Nor, is it explained why something happened within the chapter or is any type of character development included.

Finally, we discussed whether or not the original story of Pinocchio was more geared and suited for children or adults. This story was published in a weekly series in the late 1800’s and it was through the popularity of both children readers and adult readers that Pinocchio became the internationally acclaimed story it is today. However, that still does not answer the question of who the story is suitable for, children or adults? One class member argued that the lessons that are presented and taught in the text are specifically geared towards an emphasis of showing how children should behave. Another class member argued that adults can directly benefit from the joy the stories bring and that it shows the reading adults how children should be treated, even if there are rude, immature boys like Pinocchio. Ultimately, as a class, we concluded that Pinocchio is a story for both young and old.

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