Childhood’s End

Childhood ends, and with it normally ends many of our flights of fancy, our whimsy, and wonder at the world. So too end the lives we created for our imaginary playmates, if we had any. For the most part we grow up, put “childish things” behind us, and start the long – often dreary and tedious – process of making some accommodation with the world at large.

Indeed, if Calvin & Hobbes were to mimic reality, it was foredoomed that someday Calvin would outgrow his tigerish playmate and Hobbes would cease to exist except as occasionally dredged up memory of Calvin’s lost childhood.

Was this the last Calvin & Hobbes cartoon? Does it matter? It's poignant regardless.
The Last Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon?

There is a certain sadness that this happens at all. There is a far greater sadness in how young many children are these days when it happens.

That it happens, however, all too often because parents and teachers find the often unfocused energies and fantasies of their children to be too difficult or too inconvenient to deal with causes me far more anger than sadness – both at the proximate perpetrators and at our society, which makes their actions seemingly logical and for the children’s benefit.


NOTE: The above cartoon wasn’t actually the last Calvin & Hobbes cartoon. Bill Watterson ended the series on December 31, 1995, on a much more hopeful and upbeat note. It ended with Calvin and Hobbes hopping on a sled and going exploring.

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5 Responses to “Childhood’s End”

  1. Bill Says:

    “…Painted wings and giants’ rings make way for other toys….”

  2. jonolan Says:

    And when Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar, a certain bit of wonder and beauty went out of a child’s life. That’s a loss for us all.

  3. Laurence Says:

    I have always enjoyed this comic. Political satire is really one of the best artforms left

  4. Matthew Ball Says:

    Gota love Calvin and Hobbes.

    I think there are two primary reasons for children’s’ loss of imagination. One is cartoons. Cartoons begin the detrimental process of pushing the ability and desire for imagination out of the brain. Second, parents and teachers encourage children to give up their imagination for adult or grown-up things. Imagination and creativity are most crucial in many careers/hobbies, and it is sad that this movement exists.

  5. jonolan Says:

    I’m not sure that I agree with you about cartoons, but then I’m not truly sure what you mean by them pushing the ability and desire for imagination out of the brain.

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