Thursday, March 5, 2009

'WHAT IS REAL' from THE VELVETEEN RABBIT


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender.... Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick out handle?"
"Real isn't how you're made." said the Skin Horse. " Its a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up?" he asked, "or bit by bit?"
It doesn't happen all at once" said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things don't matter at all because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people to don't understand."

- Margery Williams
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9 comments:

J said...

Alden, this is my favorite passage from The Velveteen Rabbit; I especially like the bit about your hair being loved off, that is very sweet!

So what's going on with you, you have gone all sentimental and soft.
Nothing wrong with that, but it's different from uour Barnacle Bill the sailor!

Ah well, it matters not what aspect of yourself you choose to expose, as long as you are real!!!

Alden said...

I hope I am Real! Hang on let me check. Yep, I tapped my head and heard a hollow ring, so I must be a Real human. Sentimental and soft ? - probably. As I grow older I am finding all sorts of things about myself that I had forgotten I was, or never realised I am - Its a bit like finding an very old lost sock or realising that the world looks different if you stand on your head and suddenly realising at 57 you don't give a bugger who sees you standing on your head with one sock on.

As for the Velveteen Rabbit - a precious and very favourite story of mine.

Delwyn said...

I have never read the velveteen rabbit - perhaps I need to.

Janice said...

It is truly a timeless story. Do you know Love You Forever by Robert Munsch? I read it for the first time in my early 50's and cried like a baby!

Katherine said...

Lovely post Pal. Thank you. The story parallels 'The Mouse and His Child' from whence comes the last visible dog bit...
In it, the clockwork mouse and his father seek 'self-winding' (self-actualisation?) and, towards the end of the story they find it was within themselves all along.

Alden said...

Janice I don't know 'Love You Forever' but I can see an Amazon Dot Com order coming on here - thankyou - book recommendations is another nice aspect of blogging :-)

Alden said...

Katherine, I do believe I have a copy of 'The Mouse and His Child' somewhere in the house - if not its A.DOT.COM time again.

The propensity for humans to use metaphors for complex ideas is amazing and is not confined to books. Listen to yourself and others over the course of a day and count the number of times you resort to a metaphor to explain something - it is amazing how often we do this.

Kathryn said...

I love the Velveteen Rabbit, Pal. Thanks for the reminder.

Dan Gurney said...

What I particularly like about this passage is the friendly, familiar, and accepting stance it takes towards the aging process.

We live in a culture that, sadly, has a very strong aversive reaction to getting old, saggy, and hairless. Such a shame! I've known plenty of old, saggy, baggy, loose-in-the-joints old people who, despite their shabby bodies are HAPPY.