Literature: The Adventures of Pinocchio

aka: Pinocchio The Story Of A Marionette
The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio, AKA Storia di un burattino ("The story of a marionette") is Italyís most famous Fairy Tale, first published in 1883. Its author, Carlo Collodi, wrote a great deal for children, but Pinocchio is the only one of Collodiís tales to have been translated into the English language.

An old Italian woodcarver, Geppetto, receives a piece of wood which looks perfect for making a puppet. The wood is magical, and the puppet comes to life. Geppetto calls it Pinocchio (which means "pine nut") and tries to bring it up as his son. Yet the task is anything but easy, as Pinocchio tends to be cheeky, naughty, disobedient, and all-too-susceptible to the bad influence of liars and false friends. Pinocchio tumbles from one disastrous adventure to another, but things take a turn for the better when he meets the Blue Fairy, who promises him that he can one day become "a real boy" if he changes his ways.

In 1940, Disney made an animated film based on this story, simply called Pinocchio. In 1936, Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy published his retelling of the Pinocchio story in the Soviet Union called The Golden Key.

Since it's in the public domain, you can read it here.

The Adventures of Pinocchio features these tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: Pinocchio throws a mallet at the Cricket in retaliation for scolding him, seemingly killing it.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Fire Eater AKA Mangiafuoco AKA Stromboli AKA Lorenzini, depending on the translation\adaption, is more of a Type V Anti-Hero than a villain in the book; although he is willing to kill any of the puppets and chop them up for firewood, he is easily moved to tears and shows Pinocchio kindness when he regrets his cruelty. He is almost always portrayed as far more evil in film, and has even become an iconic Disney villain.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Each chapter Pinocchio gets hit on the head with a lesson and vows to keep to the straight and narrow, from which he invariably strays again in the next.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Blue Fairy looks like a human here, and is called the Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Pinocchio started out as a sentient block of wood.
  • Anti-Hero: Pinocchio genuinely loves Geppetto and the Blue Fairy, but dear God, is he a reckless irritant.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The children who turn into donkeys in the Land of Toys. They are sold to unsuspecting adults who think they're buying normal donkeys.
  • Belly of the Whale
  • Big Eater: The Cat and the Fox. Just look at the amount of food they wolf down during the dinner at the "Red Lobster Inn".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The fox and the cat, and the coachman.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Since this is a moral tale, Pinocchio always faces some kind of punishment for his misdeeds.
  • Cassandra Truth
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In the belly of the Dogfish, Pinocchio meet a fatalist old tuna fish. Later said tuna decided to imitate Pinocchio and escaped from the Dogfish's mouth and also helped Pinocchio and Geppetto to reach the coast.
  • Costume Porn: Medoro the Poodle's ensemble is beautifully described.
  • Crapsack World: The author makes it a point that every time something bad happens to Pinocchio, he had it coming. But usually it's Laser-Guided Karma, which does much more to punish Pinocchio when he does something bad, than reward him when he does something good. It's only because of Plot Armor that he survives to the end of the book; consider what happens to the other puppets and children...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Geppetto in chapter 2:
    "What brought you here, friend Geppetto?" "My legs."
  • Disney Death: Pinocchio in Chapter 15. Thanks to reader demands, the Cricket, Owl and Crow tend to his injuries.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Although Pinocchio is being a jerk a lot of the time when things go wrong for him, there is at least one instance where his comeuppance seems far from reasonable: after promising to go to school and work, Pinocchio is informed that the monster that swallowed his father is in the local harbor. The other boys egg him on, telling him to bunk school and come and see it. He refuses, saying he will go after school. When they tell him that the beast will be gone by then, he agrees to miss one day of school to see the creature that *swallowed his father*. The boys turned out to have tricked him, and of course Pinocchio gets into a fight, is arrested for a murder than he didn't commit, and lands up in another series of horrible misadventures. Perhaps if things hadn't gone so badly he would have continued bunking school, though.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Geppetto hates being called Polentina, but it is never explained why.
    • Something about the color of his wig which looks like the same color of polenta (a typical Italian pudding-like food made from maize flour).
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Everyone calls Maestro Antonio Maestro Cherry because of his cherry-like nose.
  • Face of a Thug: Fire Eater definitely has this.
  • Foreshadowing: There are several hints that the fox and the cat are not the kindhearted crippled philanthropists they seem to be before they steal Pinocchio's money. Like when they tell Pinocchio that education and studying is how they became crippled. And when they arrive at the inn on their way to the field of miracles (a non existent field the two made up where money grows on trees) to have bite to eat and rest (the real reason being as a place they could lose Pinocchio, in order to attack him in disguise later) , they narrator states that they were very sick and could only eat 35 mullets and 25 chickens for dinner, and they have Pinocchio pay for everything, stating they were so polite, they did not want to him offend him by not giving him the honor of paying the bill. And if that weren't enough for Pinocchio to see through, when they attack him in disguise later for his money, Pinocchio cuts off the cat's paw. The next day, when Pinocchio sees the cat has lost his paw too, he does not put two and two together. So sadly, not realizing any of these useful warnings, he is tricked into burying his money in field of miracles, and while he goes to wait in the city, the two dig up his money and Pinocchio is robbed.
  • Franchise Zombie: Again, see "What Could Have Been."
  • Friend to All Living Things: The Blue Fairy
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Green Fisherman. The whole part set in his cave where he tries to fry and eat Pinocchio sounds much like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Grows on Trees: The Fox and the Cat pull this with Pinocchio.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Pinocchio is far too trusting with shady individuals, most notably, the fox and cat.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Each chapter is headed with a summary of its events.
  • Karma Houdini: The Little Man is undoubtedly the most horrible person in the book, but he gets away scot-free.
    • As Pinocchio, The Fox and The Cat are all punished at different stages of the book for their varying levels of wickedness, and the good characters (e.g. Geppetto, The Fairy, The Talking Cricket, and sometimes Pinocchio as well) tend to be miraculously rewarded in the most unlikely ways, it may be a safe assumption that the villains of the book (none of which get any comeuppance except for the fox and the cat) are headed for trouble as well.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Pinocchio is a jerk and a hedonist, despite all Geppetto does for him.
    • His classmates are worse.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The Crow and Owl, who for some reason are doctors.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of the story the Cat eventually got blind for real, and the Fox was forced to sell his own tail for a living and now they're both alone and miserable.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrative frequently addresses the reader directly.
  • Left for Dead: Pinocchio after the Fox and the Cat hang him in Chapter 15. This was originally meant as the end of the story. Fortunately, in Chapter 16, he gets better.
  • Living Toys: Not quite this trope but it's close enough.
  • Meaningful Name: Pinocchio means "pine nut".
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The Maiden is actually first seen as a living corpse.
  • Parental Substitute: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair.
  • Police Are Useless: The authorities don't do anything about all the antagonists. When they actually lay down the law, it's on the good guys. Pinocchio actually gets jailed just for being robbed, and when all the prisoners are set free for no reason except that the emperor feels like it, he's not released until he says he's a thief.
  • Public Domain Character
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: At one point, Pinocchio finds a huge snake with smoke coming out of its tail blocking the path. Pinocchio can't get past it, but he falls down and gets stuck in the road... The snake, after seeing the funny scene of Pinocchio's legs sticking out of the road, thrashing wildly, literally laughs itself to death.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Collodi originally conceived this as a gruesome morality tale.
  • Spirit Advisor: The Cricket in Chapter 14.
  • Supernatural Aid: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair
  • Talking Animal: There are lots of them, so talking donkeys don't surprise anyone.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: As you know, the blue fairy promised him he'd become a real boy if he's always well-behaved and gets good grades in school. Then one day, the other boys tell him that the monster whale was seen near their place, and that they should skip school to look for it. Pinocchio hesitates, but then decides to join them because he cares about Geppetto. When they go to the sea, no whale. Pinocchio gets suspicious, and wants to know what's going on. Then, the other boys tell him, that they'll look bad if he's an A-student, but if everyone in class was as lazy as they are, they'd be just average.
  • Transformation Trauma
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Cricket, after being crushed by Pinocchio, and then turning up alive in Chapter 16.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mastro Cherry only exists in the story to discover the wood that would become Pinocchio and give it to Geppetto.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The donkeys, and their treatment was very much Truth in Television at the time. Strikingly, being Talking Animals doesn't make any difference in this universe.
  • Wonder Child: Pinocchio himself, natch, brought to life by Gepetto's wish for a child.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Lovely Maiden with Azure Hair. Justified because she is a fairy.
    • Specifically, she is an Expy of the Virgin Mary, whose traditional blue scarf is often mistaken by little children for blue hair.

Alternative Title(s):

The Adventures Of Pinocchio, Pinocchio, Pinocchio The Story Of A Marionette, Adventures Of Pinocchio