We all remember the tales from our childhood. When our mother or grandmother would tug us in and affectionately read for us under the dimmed glow from the night lamp. Or when our nanny would put on a movie from the Disney collection in order to make us quiet, so she could rest her mind. We would watch movies with enchanting characters that weren’t humans and maybe caused us to dream about scary monsters or animals that could speak and we were told stories about reigning kings, caring queens and marvelous castles. The tales we were told and watched on the televisions were about love, true friendship and courage and the best part of the stories were the predictable happy endings that made us believe that the world was an entirely and everlasting happy place to be.
But then we became older and our mothers and grandmothers stopped telling us tales where the charming prince and the beautiful princess would live happily ever after. We began to read books of our own and watch movies that only people above 15 could watch, and we realized that the world isn’t a bed of roses to float around in. We started realizing what was real and what was fiction, and the reality caught up upon us whilst we grew up to become a part of the real world instead of the imaginary ones from our childhood’s fairytales.
But wouldn’t we all sometimes wish that we didn’t have to grow up? That we could stay children for as long as we wanted and be like Peter Pan in a faraway Neverland. Or that we could fall down a rabbit hole like Alice did, and end up in a Wonderland where nothing is normal. Maybe we dream of escaping reality through an old closet and end up in a snowy Winter Wonderland called Narnia where a big lion becomes our guardian and we end up becoming queens and kings after defeating the evil powers.
But how did it go these imaginary characters from our childhood fairytales? Peter Pan ended up alone in Neverland without his scout brothers and beloved Wendy, who returned to their mourning parents. Alice returned to the real world to take care of her mother and live out her father’s traveling dreams. And the four siblings from Narnia went back to the years of the war to grow up. This leaves us with an unanswered question:
Is it really possible to escape from the reality, and would it actually make us happier to do so?
This question is impossible to answer, but maybe this wasn’t the writers’ or directors’ intention. Maybe the fairytale writers and directors were trying to tell us something else – something about our interpretation of what is real and what is not. If ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Narnia’ have taught us anything, it must be that there’s always a possibility to escape the reality that you are a part of. But they also show us that Neverland, Wonderland or Narnia might seem dreamy and fantastic at the beginning but through the characters’ travel in these universes, they develop and realize that they have to return to the worlds that they came from. Although, the travels that they have been out on, seem to have changed the children and when they return to their worlds, they never forget what they experienced and learned in the different universes, which follow them as they grow up.
So what does the fairytales from our childhood show us?
They show us that reality isn’t a fixed value that everyone can agree on. Reality can be may things and come in numerous sizes. Maybe it contains of a wonderful universe of stranger things and unexpected turnouts that you have to fall down a rabbit hole to discover. Or maybe you can only access the reality by flying across the Milky way of stars to find a Neverland, where no one ever becomes older. Maybe you will have to get lost in an old, wooden closet from before World War II to find the reality that you’re seeking. The fact is that no one knows which reality is the truest one. Maybe it’s just up to you to find the reality that you seek?