Thursday, October 14, 2010

"The Halloween Tree" Chapter 2

After reading the first chapter yesterday, I was left wondering who Pipkin was and what made him so beloved by his peers.  The second chapter of Bradbury's The Halloween Tree answers that question for me.
As far as the progression of the story goes, we're hitting the pause button.  The chapter ends with the boys still waiting at Pipkin's door, praying that he will come out and join them on their Halloween romp.
 Yesterday I assumed that Tom was going to be our main character, but now I'm starting to think that Pipkin is the star of this show.  I could be wrong.  I'm only reading a chapter a day here.  But the way Pipkin's character is described in this book, you'd think he was a god.  He's the boy of all boys.

Pipkin is described as if he is magical, and in a lot of ways makes me think of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan.  In that story, Peter Pan is the ultimate little boy.  Everything a boy should be.  Somehow, he's so full of life and joy and wonder that the stars and clouds respond to him as he soars through the night.

Just like Pan, the world seems to revolve around Pipkin:
The day Joe Pipkin was born all the Orange Crush and Nehi soda bottles in the world fizzed over; and joyful bees swarmed countrysides to sting maiden ladies.  On his birthdays, the lake pulled out from the shore in midsummer and ran back with a tidal wave of boys, a big leap of bodies and a downcrash of laughs.
God got up early just to see Pipkin come out of his house, like one of those people on a weatherclock.  And the weather was always fine where Pipkin was.
The only thing separating Pipkin from Pan might be flight.  But boy can he run!
How he ran so fast no one knew.  His tennis shoes were ancient.  They were colored green of forests jogged through, brown from old harvest trudges through September a year back, tar-stained from sprints along the docks and beaches where the coal barges came in, yellow from careless dogs, splinter-filled from climbing wood fences.
This kid is fantastic!  I hope we get to meet Pipkin in the next chapter and I hope that nothing is wrong.  After this grand introduction, I think it might pain me to see such a jubilant champion for youth reduced in any way.  But even as I write this, I have a feeling he might be sick like the boys fear...

I guess even Peter Pan had his weaknesses.

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