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.