You probably have heard of the movie The Neverending Story, but if you are like me not so much about the book. So in the interests of self-discovery, and for the love of a good book I’ve decided to make something special of my reading of Michael Ende’s Neverending Story. Specifically looking at the symbolism in the book, discussing what resonates with me and what I think makes this piece so powerful.
[T]he story begins with a simple scene of Bastion coming to Coreander’s book store. We learn that Bastion is a picked-on kid, that I picture to be about in middle school age, and that really doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. He doesn’t do well in school, he doesn’t go in for sports, and he feels pretty bad about himself. So as far as the story goes you really couldn’t have asked for a better protagonist if you want the nature of the tale to be about self-discovery.
Coreander’s book store seems like the kind of place that I would really like. Quiet, seemingly off of the beaten path, and full of esoteric materials. Carl Coreander comes off as a gruff, unsympathetic grownup who doesn’t have much of a care for kids, even one so pathetic as Bastion. I did wonder at this point how Carl came into possession of the book, or if its origin is ever explained in the text. It changing hands to Bastion is momentous, but what of Coreander, what did the book represent to him?
The hook, of course, is the acquisition of the Neverending Storybook by Bastion. He is seemingly preternaturally drawn to it, and can’t help himself but steal it once Carl’s back is turned. This being drawn to and stealing of the book feels a bit forced, less guided and more manhandled by the will of the author. But I guess in a book where you have fate playing such a big role, you can get away with a bit of a kick in the pants to get the ball rolling.
The symbolism that really comes through for me in this little preamble is the book itself. Clearly representing the want for escape by our protagonist, and the gateway into the unknown.
Bastion doesn’t know where to go and ends up hidden away in his school’s attic, where he makes himself comfortable and begins reading the story.