Summary of "Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi

by Lizzy Darnill, Demand Media

    Set in Italy during an unspecified time, "Pinocchio" is the story of a willful wooden puppet who runs away, embarking on a series of adventures before deciding to be good in the hope of becoming a real boy. Written by Carlo Collodi, a pseudonym for Carlo Lorenzini, the novel was serialized in Italian before being published as "The Adventures of Pinocchio" in 1883. Translated into English in 1892, numerous editions of the story have since been published, most notably the version by M. M. Sweet in 1927. The tale was made into an animated film by Walt Disney in 1940.

    Geppetto's Love of Pinocchio

    Geppetto is given a piece of wood that talks and weeps like a child. He carves it into a marionette called Pinocchio. Pinocchio kicks Geppetto and runs away. He is caught by a policeman who sets him free but throws Geppetto into jail. Alone in Geppetto's house, Pinocchio is advised by a Cricket to take heed of his father's wisdom, otherwise he will be sorry. Pinocchio goes to strike the Cricket and kills him. Hungry and miserable, Pinocchio puts his feet up by the fire to warm them. He awakes at Geppetto's return but finds his wooden feet have burned away. Geppetto makes new feet for Pinocchio and gives him pears to eat. He clothes Pinocchio and sells his own coat to buy Pinocchio an A-B-C book for school.

    Pinocchio Lies

    On his way to school, Pinocchio hears music and follows it to a marionette theater. He sells his A-B-C book to buy his entrance to the theater, and the theater director gives him five gold coins to give to his father. Later Pinocchio meets a fox and a cat dressed as assassins who attempt to steal his money. Pinocchio hides the coins in his mouth, so they hang him from an oak tree and leave him to die. A fairy saves him, but when asked about the gold coins Pinocchio lies and says he has lost them. The more lies he tells the longer his nose grows. The fairy scolds him, saying that telling lies is the worst thing a boy can do.

    Pinocchio is Robbed

    The fox and the cat eventually steal Pinocchio's gold coins, falsely promising that if he buries them in the Field of Wonders he will grow thousands of coins and be rich. Pinocchio runs to the courthouse to complain, but the judge sends him to prison. When finally released, Pinocchio is caught by a farmer and made to watch over a chicken-coop, and he alerts the farmer to thieving weasels and is rewarded with freedom. He travels to the sea to discover that Geppetto has sailed out in a boat to look for him. Caught in a storm, the boat disappears. Pinocchio throws himself into the water to try to save Geppetto and is washed up on the Island of the Busy Bees.

    The Land of Toys

    Reunited with the fairy, Pinocchio promises to go to school if one day he may become a real boy. He works diligently but friends tease him and he gets into a fight. He apologizes to the fairy and studies for a year. For his hard work the fairy says that his wish will be granted. However, the following day Lamp-Wick convinces him to run away to the Land of Toys. He plays there for five months, during which time he gradually turns into a donkey. He is sold to a circus to perform tricks but falls and is lamed. Unwanted and ashamed, only his skin is useful. He is forced off a cliff to drown in the sea.

    Pinocchio Learns his Lessons

    As soon as he falls into the water he becomes a puppet again. Swimming through the sea, he is eaten by a giant shark. Inside the shark's belly he is reunited with Geppetto, and they climb out of the shark's mouth and swim to safety. Geppetto is weak and Pinocchio works to support his father while studying at night. He is remorseful and ashamed of his previous behavior and gives money to the fairy, who has fallen ill. As a reward she comes to him in a dream and grants him his wish. The following morning he wakes up to discover that he is a real boy and his house is now shining, rich and splendid. Geppetto says that when boys are good and kind, homes and lives are filled with happiness.

    About the Author

    Lizzy Darnill began writing professionally in 1999, working for "Accountancy Magazine." She holds a Master of Arts in English and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Exeter.

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