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The Blue Fairy and Wendy

Incest, Sacrifice or Feminine Empowerment?

Déborah Lévy-Bertherat    École normale supérieure, Paris, France    

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abstract

In Collodi’s Le avventure di Pinocchio (1883) and Barrie’s Peter and Wendy (1911), the little girls’ characters – the fairy and Wendy – do grow up, adopting the roles of ‘surrogate mothers’ for the heroes. Playing the mother to excess, they challenge gender hierarchy. It is therefore less a transgression of rules than it is a subversion of values. Disney’s Pinocchio (1940) and Peter Pan (1953) advocate order and obedience, thus doing away with the freedom of childhood. Garrone’s Pinocchio (2019) and Zeitlin’s Wendy (2020) mitigate gender stereotypes, but the disturbing ambivalence of the girls disappears, in favour of more univocal characters.

Published
March 16, 2022
Accepted
Sept. 20, 2021
Submitted
May 8, 2021
Language
EN