where trouble was needed

January 20, 2010

Wide-Awake Princess

Filed under: Books — Aravinda @ 3:50 pm

The Wide-Awake Princess
By Katherine Paterson

Brecht called justice “the bread of the people.”  In Katherine Paterson’s tale, The Wide-Awake Princess, we see how it rises.

Children will enjoy this tale and relate to the feeling of being awake when others are asleep.  What we do with this gift, is another story …

“A great difference came over the country. Not magically in a moment, but like yeast working in dough, the spirits of the people began to rise.”

The bread of the people appears, by the end of the  book, to be within reach. Yet it is not clear what will become of the monarchy. Are we to have a benevolent queen rather than a despot? Or will all the study of history and letters that she has encouraged among the people lead them to reorganize the society and government? The character of the princess, who becomes queen, gives us hope. Since it is but a fairy tale, we do not see what happens once the revolution succeeds, but we can believe that,
“Nourished by the bread of justice
The work can be achieved
From which plenty comes.”
(Brecht)

Most encouraging about this tale is that the gift the princess receives from her fairy godmother is something that readers can give themselves.  Rising, waking, these daily acts ignite social change.  We have faith that the good people will “stop not until the goal is reached.” (Vivekananda)

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