Parents often wonder where their toddlers and grade-schoolers get their astounding amounts of energy. It is an inexplicable phenomena that nearly every person witnesses. Perhaps people’s attitudes determine how energetic they are. Maybe our thought process is what determines whether we are up for 14 hours a day or 18. Is it because we believe limitations exist that they do? Without the mentality that we have a finite amount of energy, would we be able to go without rest for days on end? Despite barriers of impossibilities, men have visited the moon, probes are being sent to the outer reaches of the galaxy and the inner workings of atoms start to reveal their inner workings. Even the code of life itself begins to give up its secrets. The human race has come far in attaining what was once thought to be impossible. In her story “Come On, Wagon,” Zenna Henderson takes the idea of possible and impossible and questions what they mean and how limitations are created.
Zenna Henderson chose prime characters to show these concepts. In making the narrator a primary character of the story, Henderson expressed complete thought processes without being obtrusive. The story is told from the eyes of a man who has little opinion of the world. The narrator has accepted what he has been told and what he has learned, but he is still receptive to new information. Although he is an adult, his mind is open to new possibilities and he consciously registers what has been categorized as impossible or possible. He looks at the entire picture and checks to see where individual people stand and where the rest of the world stands. In this story, his role is enhanced by his relationship with Thaddeus. As Thaddeus’ uncle, the narrator is not close to Thaddeus but has enough interaction to recognize Thaddeus’ abilities and disregard for the rules of the world. The narrator sees possible and impossible as they truly are, boundaries set upon people by themselves.
Thaddeus is a child of innocence with an innate curiosity. He fulfills his role in the story by his mix of ignorance of the world and his own willingness to learn. At the start of the story, he is an uncorrupted optimist. He looks at the world in mirror of the usual, rather than believing that until proven otherwise, everything is impossible; Thaddeus knows that until proven otherwise, anything is possible. In his undeveloped mind, anyone's word constitutes proof. He is still unable to reason through possible and impossible. For Thaddeus, possible and impossible are flexible terms that follow the lead of others.
To show physical manifestations of the differences between adults and children, barriers and opportunity, Zenna Henderson elaborates on the metaphor that the eyes are the window to the soul. Eyes create a physical manifestation of the state of a person’s inner being. She uses written descriptions to create a vivid image of the eyes portraying the innocence of the young. The narrator observes that children...