A Reversal Of Eden In The King Machush Novels Of Janusz Korczak

An analysis of of Janusz Korczak’s most famous Polish children’s novels, the King Machush novels, reveals a reversal of the Eden motif so prevalent in much of children’s literature.  If it was Eve who tempted Adam, and caused the subsequent banishment from the garden, it is the boy, Fellek, who tempts Machush into a close friendship while eating cherries in the king’s garden, leading to Machush’s exile and eventual destruction.  Fellek is the son of a platoon guard, whom Machush envies because of his independent nature and ability to lead.  Machush never acknowledges Fellek’s devious nature, lack of desire to truly learn, and immense ego.  His trust in his “beloved” Fellek becomes his undoing.  It is the Young King’s spy, posing as a reporter for the children’s newspaper, who realizes that Fellek can be an instrument to get rid of Machush.(The Young King is Machush’s greatest enemy, because Machush defeated him in a war.)  Machush’s kingdom is forced to surrender to the young king because of Fellek’s betrayal and Machush himself is sent to an uninhabited island.  So, the first Machush novel comes to an end.  Towards the end of the second novel, Fellek appears  again as a threat to Machush’s good will.  Machush’s trust in Fellek results in his giving Fellek a factory job.  When Fellek’s laziness and lack of initiative  reveal themselves in an altercation, it is Machush who is killed in the factory accident.  Thus ends the second and last Machush volume. Although Machush grows to respect adults, children younger than himself and older children, he fails to see the danger posed by his “beloved” Fellek.  Illustration of Machush’s thoughts by Waldemar Andrzejewski from King Machush on an Uninhabited Island.

About Robert M. Weiss
From an early age, I've taken great pleasure in reading. Also, I learned to play my 78 player when I was quite young, and enjoyed listening to musicals and classical music. I remember sitting on the floor, and following the text and pictures of record readers, which were popular in the 1940s and 50s. My favorites were the Bozo and Disney albums. I also enjoyed watching the slow spinning of 16s as they spun out tales of adventure. I have always been attracted by rivers, and I love to sit on a boulder with my feet in the water, gazing into the mysteries of swirling currents. I especially like inner tubing on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Since my early youth, I've been interested in collecting minerals, which have taught me about the wonderful possibilities in colors and forms. Sometimes I try to imagine what the ancient Greeks must have felt when they began to discover physical laws in nature. I also remember that I had a special passion for numbers, and used to construct them out of stones. After teaching Russian for several years, I became a writer, interviewer, editor, and translator. I continue to delight in form, and am a problem solver at heart.

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