Harold and the Purple Crayon is not a fantasy. It is a nightmare. As in the parody illustration below (for a t-shirt created by Lucky in 1988 for ), Harold has been devoured by the world of his own imagination, because he lacks the meta-awareness to realize that he too is a drawing, although a drawing of a different color. The purple crayon is broken. Harold, a drawing, is no longer able to make his own world and thus continue his existence. The rest is silence.
But Harold has not found his way out of the world of his drawings. Unlike Max from Where the Wild Things Are, he has not found his way out of his imagination to his real home or his parents. “The purple crayon dropped on the floor. And Harold dropped off to sleep.” The next page is blank; Harold has vanished, along with his world. A happy ending? Not if you carry through the metafictional reading to its logical conclusion.
When I was younger, Harold and the Purple Crayon frightened me. I was unnerved by the fact that there was nothing around but what Harold decided to draw, everything seemed so empty, and Harold, so alone. Over the years I kept coming back to the book though, despite the fact it threw me off a bit I was intensely curious about it, and I began to grow quite fond of it. Now, instead of seeing it as just an interesting and incredibly unique tale, I saw it for what it really was-a story that reminds us to forget about the boundaries of reality we place on ourselves every day, and learn to appreciate drawing our own paths, instead of following the ones others have laid out for us.
Harold and the Purple Crayon is one of our favorite classic children’s books. We were inspired by the story to create these purple yarn art sculptures!