Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Piorkowski’s school

Piorkowski’s school. Institution in which Ferdydurke is forced to enroll when mistakenly believed to be only half his actual age. Much of the humor of this section of the novel stems from Ferdydurke’s realization that there is a sense in which he does in fact belong in school. Because he learned little during his earlier years as a student, a further round of education is in theory a reasonable prescription for his self-confessed ignorance. The education provided at Mr. Piorkowski’s school, however, is not likely to prepare anyone for a successful future. This establishment is depicted as an anarchic wasteland whose staff members are incompetent, and whose students are clever only at avoiding the need to learn anything. Its classrooms are portrayed as war zones in which students oppressed by mindless rules strike back with stubborn silence. Ferdydurke eventually concludes that he must escape this madhouse if he wants to avoid being warped by its insane methods of operation.

Youthful home

Youthful home. Residence of the Youthful family, whose name symbolizes their commitment to the radical reform of society. Ferdydurke goes to live with them in hopes of discovering a more nurturing environment but soon finds out that the Youthfuls are, if anything, more oblivious to his real needs than are the people at Mr. Piorkowski’s school: Where the school tries to stamp out student curiosity by force, the Youthfuls’ efforts to abolish...

(The entire section is 621 words.)