The fairy tale elements of this story are rather shallow. It could be said that the main character is a loner, a dissenter from social norm; he seeks solitude and worries others in his excessive time spent in the wild. This connection with nature is typical of a fairy tale hero or heroine, as is the first quality attributed to Hyacinth: goodness. Immediately, however, romantic elements are thrust into the story. Hyacinth is not only good, but thoughtful. That goodness does not entail thoughtfulness is important to note (and typical of “good” fairy tale characters who are simply such by virtue of their innate moral codes), but so is their being classified side-by-side. That thoughtfulness is suggested as in some way furthering Hyacinth’s goodness is an entirely romantic concept. As the reader, we thus know from the start that he will eventually reap benefits from his connection with nature.
Hyacinth’s home town is also set up in a somewhat fairy-tale like manner, in the sense that the townspeople and his parents are ordinary (they raised and treated him well, and are now concerned for his welfare), his lover is nearly perfect and likewise is their love relationship. Naturally, he embarks on an uncertain journey to escape this cookie-cutter lifestyle.
In Hyacinth’s search for deeper meaning, there are many references to the complications of communication; it is suggested that effective verbal communication between any two creatures is next to impossible. This, of course, represents speech and human contact within the real world; one can never express to another what it is that truly constitutes the human condition. So, at first we feel lost. As the reader, we expect that this uncommunicative world is a helpless one, that the only response Hyacinth can illicit is laughter or silence foreshadows doom, does it not?
Quite the contrary: as each individual perceives the world around him subjectively, this is the limit of his understanding and is thus—to him, and him alone—perfection. On this journey, Hyacinth does not gain new eyes, but rather renews the ones he has. He is transformed not because he has discovered anything revolutionary but instead he has rediscovered everything, “familiar yet filled with a brilliance he had never seen before” in its wondrous harmony– utterly confusing and imperfect, yet thrilling.