Pecos Bill is a children tall tale about the adventures of cowboy, who was raised by coyotes. With time, this boy understood that he is not an animal but a human, and he got a chance to change his life with coyotes, and continued his life with people. Lots of writers present their own ideas as for the life and death of Bill, and almost each idea attracts readers’ attention in its own way. Stephen Krensky is one of the authors, who present his version of the story about that famous cowboy, and whose work will be analyzed in this paper. To my mind, this tall tale touches upon numerous psychological aspects, which help to improve children’s lives and their comprehension of this world; Pecos Bill is the story that teaches not to be afraid of difficulties, be friendly, and not to envy people.
Nowadays, there are lots of variations of Pecos Bill story. In general, the main idea of all those stories is the same: a boy was lost by his parents in the process of travelling and was found and grew up by coyotes, and then became one of the most powerful and famous cowboys among people. However, many writers cannot come to one and the same conclusion concerning the matter of Bill’s death.
Some of stories tell that Bill laughed himself to death, when he saw another cowboy in very strange and funny clothes; the other stories inform that he “washed down a meal of barbed wire with nitroglycerin” (Haxen, 55).
Bruno Bettelheim was one of the most popular child psychologists and writers in the middle of 1900s. His The Uses of Enchantment is a wonderful work that may help to analyze the story about the cowboy Bill. This psychologist admits that fairy tales are created in order to help modern children to grow up and comprehend what it means to become a hero without any outside help. Bill uses his powers, his knowledge, and abilities to become powerful and known. This is why, according to a child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, Pecos Bill may be considered as a rather successful story fro children and their perception of the world. Another professor in psychology and a critique of fairy tales is Jack David Zipes.
He underlines that it is better for tall tales to present more reliable information about US history and the development of the events in a form of fiction (Zipes, 193). Pecos Bill introduces several quire interesting facts about the West, this is why Jack Zipes regarded Pecos Bill as a really strong and useful fairy tale for children.
After reading the story about the legendary Pecos Bill, I cannot but admire the courage of this person, his desire to live and develop. To my mind, this story is one of the most powerful from the psychological aspects, because it teaches the reader to accept the situation as it is, but not try to change it in accordance with personal preferences. Of course, it is just a fiction, but still, even grown ups can find much interesting in it. When a little boy finds himself around the coyotes, he does not scare and does not cry.
Such reaction causes respect of coyotes, and they accept him as the member of own family. If we look closer at this story, it is possible to realize that any respect may be gained in much more serious situations, which happen to people. It is necessary just to demonstrate own power and will.
Pecos Bill is a masterpiece of child literature that may become rather educative for grown ups. Numerous interpretations of the story prove how significant the story of Bill is for modern society.
This is why people should pay more attention to literature for children in order to become a worthwhile part of this world.
Haxen, Walter. High-Interest Reading. Columbus, Ohio: School Specialty Publishing, 1999. Zipes, Jack, D. Speaking out: Storytelling and Creative Drama for Children.
New York: Routledge, 2004.