We've been reading Harold and the Purple Crayon to The Mayor lately.
Harold exists in a blank world with nothing but a purple crayon. He must invent everything around him by drawing it himself.
The first time we read it The Mayor found it a little upsetting.
Harold can't find his own house, his own window or his own bed.
The Mayor was anxious.
I know it is suppposed to be an "understated tribute to the imagination, reminding us of the marvels the mind can create and giving us the wondrous sense that anything is possible..."
But I hated the book as a child. (I do recall my brother loving it though.)
Harold lives in a world of nothingness, endless, boundless, limitless white space.
Anything he wants to experience he must create himself.
Fair enough on one level, but...
He is searching for "home" and he can't find it.
Harold falls into the sea, he plummets down the far side of a moutain.
He comforts himself with nine kinds of pie.
[Note to self: NINE KINDS OF PIE!!]
He creates a dragon to protect his apples, but then he's afraid of it (and so am I!)
The policeman he invents to help him find his way is not at all helpful (or real.)
Harold is alone, utterly and completely alone.
He creates a city void - an endless sea of empty windows.
Poor Harold. No one to talk to... nowhere to turn.
Maybe this book is some kind of litmus test for personality type.
Perhaps some people experience the book as an existential celebration of the human capacity to create meaning in life while others find it a woeful tale of isolation and lonliness.
I want Harold to wake up from his bad dream in the end. I want him to find his "real" home -- a place where he has parents and where purple is not the only color.
[What does this say about me?]
At the end of the book, I can't help but feeling like Harold is either suffering from a severe mental illness or he is in hell.
HE IS IN HELL I TELL YOU!!!
Could Harold be...
THE DEVIL HIMSELF?
Effing children's books.