The End

It’s been a long semester. From Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty to Red Cap and Bluebeard, we’ve had a long journey in this class. We’ve read a lot of stories and tales and analyzed everything from numerous different point of views. After reading through each and every blog I have done this past semester and reviewing my own work and thoughts about the class, I have come to a single conclusion.

The only thing I learned from this class is how to properly head my papers in MLA format.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of parts of the class that were somewhat new to me, or that I overall enjoyed! I loved being able to read some of these stories or watch some of the Disney movies I’d never seen. Watching Silence of the Lambs for the first time was an adventure in this class, and I really enjoyed it. But learning, by definition, is knowledge or skills gained through experience, study, or by being taught. I don’t feel as though that happened in this class.

I got to analyze stories, but I’ve done that in just about every English class I’ve ever had. I got to see weird, semi-sexual pictures based on the tales, but I could do that in any psychology class that has Freud as a topic. I got to teach a class, but I’ve done that before and will be doing that in the future. Nothing especially new. The skills this class gave me – the ability to overanalyze a piece of work until the work begins to lose meaning, or the chance to memorize different definitions of terms like Fairy Tale vs. Folk Tale – have all been taught to me before, or were able to be taught to me by my own self. The knowledge gained from these skills follow that same pattern.

The part that I think defines how much I learned is how much I will remember in the coming years. Sadly, I feel as though I will forget much of this class. The tales are all already familiar, and only those which are newer to me will stand out for this upcoming semester; even then, I doubt that by the end of my college carrier, I will recall with accuracy the events of Bluebeard or The Little Earth Cow. The truth is, none of these were very interesting to me, and humans have a tendency to only remember that which will benefit them in the future. When something is of little interest to me, there will be little benefit of that thing in my future path, so it makes logical sense why I wouldn’t remember these things, and thus, why I don’t feel I’ve learned anything about these tales that I couldn’t have grasped before this class or on my own reflection.

The MLA format headers are really the only thing I learned/remember now, and that’s most likely because this is the first class I’ve had that required it of me. I know that, in the future, more classes will require MLA formatting, and so when asked to learn it for this class, I did. I learned an asset. The other parts of class, the content? I feel as though I will lose that as time passes and will not retain it as though I once learned it. I haven’t ‘learned’ it, but instead went through the motions I’ve gone through for all of my years in schooling. Do as much as the teacher asks, as best as the teacher asks, and hope it’s good enough.

So, all in all, based on my personal definitions of learning, I feel as though I have learned only one thing from this class: MLA formatting. While we have done much in this class, from teaching to reading to writing and many other things, these things were no different from other things I have done in the past or will do in my own time, and so they had little impact on me. Thus, I did not particularly learn anything from this class; I merely repeated what I had learned before.

It’s been a good semester, and I thank you for the opportunity to be part of it.


Splitting Ends

The tale Rapunzel is well known in modern days. Everyone knows the story about the girl with long hair who lived in a tall tower. However, this tale, as suggested by numerous people, has been completely and utterly destroyed by Disney in its film “Tangled”. I beg to differ. While the Disney film certainly goes places the original tale of Rapunzel never did, it still holds the same motifs as the original tale very firmly.

First, let’s look at the simplistic: what about the similarities? Mother Gothel still kidnaps the firstborn of the family. Rapunzel is still locked in a tower. There’s still a love interest and a scene where love wins out and saves the romance. There’s still Mother Gothel tricking the ‘prince’ character with Rapunzel’s hair, and then her harming the ‘prince’ character. Overall, the tale is preserved so far. We still see that Rapunzel is isolated in her tower, keeping up that lack of social interaction. We see that Rapunzel falls in love, just as she did before, and she matures in some sense of the word. In the original tale, she matured by becoming pregnant – in the Disney tale, she matured by claiming her position as the lost princess and standing up to the abusive woman with whom she had spent the last 18 years of her life. If anything, the Disney tale held more depth in this case than the original tale. But that’s just what is similar. What differences were there?

The biggest difference is the comedy of the Disney tale. We’ve got frying pans used as weapons; ruffians who have dreams; ridiculous caricatures of main characters. The list goes on of all of the humorous bits in the Disney movie “Tangled”. Most of these subplots or comedic things never appear in the original tale. However, that does not mean comedy is completely gone from the tales. In the original version of Rapunzel, she asks Mother Gothel why “her clothing is so tight”. For those who don’t get the joke there, it’s because she’s pregnant. Her naivety is almost hilarious. But, yes, for the most part, the Brothers Grimm version has very little comedy – but what does this change, significantly? The tale has gone from something we read over and forget to something we can remember because it made us laugh once. Few of us will remember, in years to come, from the original tale that Rapunzel was actually named after some lettuce in the witch’s garden, or that the prince who saved her didn’t die, but was actually blinded. However, we will easily recall the silly animated horse who chased after Rapunzel and Flynn as they made their way away from her isolation into the real world. In this recall, the fairy tale is kept alive – something that surely would not happen if the original tale was not re-created every few hundred years or so.  In particular, people worry most that the comedy ruins the main moral or main motifs behind the tale. By having the ruffians and lanterns and silly pet chameleon, the movie “Tangled” just ruins the tale – but, really, I don’t see how. In the original tale, Rapunzel was isolated. In “Tangled”, she still was. Granted, she had a pet chameleon: an animal that cannot talk, who offers no direct communication, and is not, in fact, even a human. This small comedic sidekick is nothing more than relief from the tense storyline – something I believe the Grimm Brothers themselves would’ve added had their story been extended to a full 100 minute time mark of reading. Everyone needs a break from intense plot lines at some point, which is probably why the tales we knew as children were so terribly short. Drama is a hassle to sustain, and when it is sustained, the audience loses interest.

The other main motif that people worried about was maturation – she still acts like a child in the film, joking with horses that act like dogs and ruffians who have no desire to kill her. All of the intense dangers of the real world no longer exist, leaving her as innocent as she was when she started. This is, frankly, an outdated belief that childlike actions mean childlike immaturity. Yes, a horse acting like a dog is silly. Yes, ruffians who have no desire to kill (but who have, I would like to add, in fact killed people, as shown in the movie, and are incredibly dangerous) seem to be harmless. However, being locked in a tower for 18 years puts a bit of a damper on ones social skills. Despite it all, Rapunzel talked, worked, and made her way through the forest to the castle, where she fit in and kept a smile on her face the entire time. By the end of the movie, she had stood up to an abusive mother – something many people can’t even do in real life – claimed her role as princess, and even managed to find love. I think this shows a level of maturity that very few people in real life even have. What signs of maturity did she have in the original Grimm tale? Oh, that’s right. She got pregnant.

Overall, despite some differences in the Disney movie “Tangled”, the story Rapunzel was actually fairly well represented! Perhaps not through having the same exact plot, but through having similar motifs. Perhaps this contamination from Disney is actually a good thing. After all, who likes to watch the same fairy tale over and over, when you can do something just a little bit different and experience it in a whole new light?

From Beards to Birds: Adaptions of the Bluebeard Tale

Fairy tales have been adapted time and time again. Variations of everything exist nowadays. However, when it comes to adaptions of Bluebeard, by Charles Perrault, it’s interesting to see the similarities and differences. Using the tales Fitcher’s Bird and The Robber Bridegroom, we can easily compare the three versions. In each of the three tales, a woman meets a man who turns out to be something he’s not and all nearly die due to curiosity; however, the types of motifs in each of the tales differ, and the exact plot or characters vary slightly.

Looking to the similarities, we see at the start of each tale that a man is seeking the love of a beautiful woman. In Bluebeard, there was a very rich man who wanted to win the hand of a woman. “But the poor fellow had a blue beard, and this made him so ugly and frightful that there was not a woman or girl who did not run away at sight of him” (Bluebeard, Charles Perrault). In Fitcher’s Bird, it’s a sorcerer who can make women love him with a single touch instead. In The Robber Bridegroom, a princess was betrothed to a prince in the woods that she hadn’t even met. So far, while each of the characters is a little different, each tale still has a man seeking a woman’s love. Then, moving on in the tales slightly, we see that the women all go to the men’s houses. In these houses, the women all discover a secret about their respective men. In Bluebird, the woman, being curious, opens a door and finds dead bodies of other women. In Fitcher’s Bird, the woman finds the two dismembered bodies of her sisters in a room in the house. In The Robber Bridegroom, the princess finds an old woman who tells her that the prince is actually a robber and plans to eat her, as well as witnessing a murder. Thus, in all three of the tales, the women, due to their curious nature, find something they didn’t want to find. Lastly, in all three tales, the man dies for his crimes. In Bluebeard, he is executed by the woman’s brothers. In Fitcher’s Bird, he is burned alive. In The Robber’s Bridegroom, guards take him away and execute him.

However, despite all the similarities, there are numerous differences in these tales. For example, Bluebeard includes a task that singles out the woman’s curiosity – a request for her not to open the door in the house using the smallest key. By choosing to give into her temptation and curiosity, she finds the horrible truth and is condemned to death by the man. In Fitcher’s Bird, the woman instead must protect an egg that is cursed so that blood will stain it permanently; by protecting the egg by discarding it, she gave into her temptation as well. However, it is much different from a little key. In The Robber Bridegroom, there isn’t even a task. The woman simply happens to come by the house around the time that the prince comes with his latest kill. Another key difference is the motifs in each tale. In the Perrault tale, there is a lot of Christian imagery where the woman says she is praying to buy herself time. This Christian imagery does not appear in the other tales. Also, the way the woman gets out of the situation varies in each. In Bluebeard, she simply prays and asks her sister if her brothers are coming yet. In The Robber Bridegroom, she tells what happened to everyone as though it’s a story, but then produces the ripped off finger that she found on the body the prince killed. In Fitcher’s Bird, she saved her killed sisters by connecting their body parts and then had the man take them to the castle without him knowing. They warned the guards and eventually she was saved and the man was burned alive. Needless to say, each of the tales have their similarities and differences.

Personally, I preferred the tale Fitcher’s Bird. It seemed to be the most fairy tale like story of them. It captured my interest and was kept unique by the usage of the egg instead of the key, or by the sisters coming back to life by putting their limbs back together. I did not like Bluebeard. Perrault has the tendency to use too much fancy language, forcing the reader to wade through the worst kind of purple prose. While description is a key part to storytelling, too much description in a fairy tale seems to deviate from the actual format of fairy tales and moves more to an actual story.

Tales used: Bluebeard, by Charles Perrault; Fitcher’s Bird, by the Brothers Grimm; The Robber Bridegroom, by the Brothers Grimm.


Little Red Riding Hood (or Little Red Cap, as the original tale is called) is an exceptionally versatile tale, in that it can be made into a myriad of different forms. Plenty of examples are out there where little things have been added or changed to make the tale more interesting or appealing. One such would be the animation from 2010, created by Hyunjoo Song, entitled “Red”, in which the Wolf is a little boy who professes his love for Red with a flower. This version of Little Red Riding Hood is adorable, to say the least; but, more than that, this version of the tale takes on an entirely new moral, one that is important to recognize in life regularly, and one that we tend to forget or ignore.

In the animation, Red refuses the Wolf because he’s scary looking and she thinks he might hurt her. However, after sending him away, she comes across a soft and cute looking unicorn rabbit. After petting it and hugging it, she realizes that it’s actually a ferocious beast that tries to kill her. The moral here is plain to see, even without the ending in sight: ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. We’ve all heard this saying, and we all brush it off and let it slide. The phrase is overused in modern day and most every child has heard it and is tired of it. However, put into this new light, the moral appears to mean something again. In the case of the wolf and the rabbit, the scarier choice is the better one – the wolf saved Red, whereas the rabbit tried to kill her. In real life, this can be true as well. Sometimes, the scarier path is better. Getting a new job can be scary or threatening, and while we might think at the start that a cushy, safe job would be better, we might come to learn that it’s not and that it’s actually far worse than it seemed. This is also reflecting the idea that riskier options might be better; the wolf is riskier than the rabbit at the start of the animation, but by the end, he’s the far better choice reward wise. In real life, doing nothing is completely riskless, but if you do nothing your whole life, you’ll never get a worthwhile reward, whereas if you risk your security by going out into the world and working hard, you’ll be rewarded in kind.

These morals have great repercussions in real life. A child, seeing this animation for the first time, would be likely to retain the ideas presented in it. That’s one reason I love this animation. Another reason is because of the art style. I feel that the style of the pictures in this animation is fairytale-esk in nature, despite being a visual representation of something verbal or written. While this isn’t really a political or social cartoon and is more of a general comment about a single, strong moral, this animation has the benefit of being over 2 minutes long with changing scenes that will keep the viewers interest, instead of being a single picture left to interpretation. It is interpreted as you view, and leaves you wanting to watch it again to see more. This is especially good when compared to other political or social cartoons, which tend to fade from ones memory quickly, and tend to leave little to no impact on the viewer. This animation, with its splendid style and adorable plot, are sure to grasp the viewer’s interest and stick in their minds. It sure did with me, at least.

See the animation for yourself: