Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Real Boy

In Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio (1883) and its Disney adaptation Pinocchio (1940), this is the reward of the Puppet hero: to become human and "real". (A Recursive-Fantasy echo features in Ducktales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp [1990], where a transformed Genie cries, "I'm a real boy!") Pinocchio's Metamorphosis by the Blue Fairy is itself the happy ending – but for Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid, her pain-wracked humanity seems a Thing Bought at Too High a Cost. In The Scarecrow: a Tragedy of the Ludicrous (1908) by Percy MacKaye, the scarecrow Ravensbane ultimately throws away the brimstone-burning pipe that gives him life, in order to die as a real man.More generalized RB transformations are undergone by the Golems Grundy in Piers Anthony's The Source of Magic (1979), who becomes an elf, and Dorfl in Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay (1996), who remains clay but gains speech and volition. Physical change follows from mental change: all these creatures discover that learning to care for human beings takes them halfway to RB status. Humanity comes with many responsibilities, and so the clockwork man Tik-Tok in L Frank Baum's Oz rejoices in not being an RB. [DRL]

see also: Ducktales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990).

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.