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:

Cupid’s Arrow: On Frogs and Psyche

The story of “The Frog King” is one we all know variations of. Generally, all of the versions we know have a princess kissing a frog and turning it into a prince. However, the original wasn’t like that. There was no kissing in the Grimm version: just a hard toss of the frog prince against a wall. Much like this commonly unknown version, there is a Greek tale that has many of the same themes in it that is fairly unknown. Like the Grimm tale “The Frog King”, the Greek tale “Cupid and Psyche” has many themes of sacrifice and hardship coupled with love; the only true difference is the style and plot of both.

Starting with the differences (because there are so few), we look to the style first. The original Grimm tale was very simplistic in nature. The story had very little embellishment and got straight to the plot. The very first sentence of “The Frog King” begins as “once upon a time, there was a princess who went out into the forest and sat down at the edge of a cool well” (Grimm & Zipes, 13). Comparing that to the opening lines of “Cupid and Psyche”, we can see the way the Greeks embellished their tales with fantastic details. “A certain king and queen had three daughters. The charms of the two elder were more than common, but the beauty of the youngest was so wonderful that the poverty of language is unable to express its due praise” (Cupid and Psyche, 1). The main explanation of the differences between these two would most likely be the audience and time for each of the original writers. The Grimm Brothers were aiming for this story to be directed at families, specifically making “The Frog King” the first tale in Kinder und Hausmärchen, meaning Children’s and Household tales. Obviously, “The Frog King” was not especially intended for the highest of the high society in Germany. Unlike this, “Cupid and Psyche” was a classic Greek tale, more than likely being told on stages with character masks and acting. This was meant to be a tale for the nobility and prestigious folk. Thus, the language was formal and fantastical, adding great detail that is otherwise absent in the classical Grimm tales.

The other notable difference is the plot. The Grimm tale features a princess who drops her golden ball into a well on accident. Upon promising a frog her companionship in return for her ball, she finds herself having to act upon her promise. Disgusted, she takes the little frog up to her room and tosses him against the wall; the impact turns him into a prince, whom she marries. This is similar to the version almost every child knows. The Greek tale, however, depicts a woman whose beauty is so incredible, the goddess Venus – the Greek goddess of beauty, love, pleasure, and fertility – grows jealous. She tells her son, Cupid, to put a curse on her. He does so, though wishes he could show her pity because of her great beauty. Time passes, but no lover comes to take her; it is revealed that her love is destined to be a monster on top of the high mountain. She goes to the mountain, but instead of a monster, she finds a beautiful grove; she meets a man who refuses to show his face and falls in love with him. After telling her sisters about the lovely man she cannot see, they tempt her into seeing his face by suggesting that he’s a hideous serpent. Curiosity gets the best of her and she sees his face, finding him not to be a monster, but the beautiful Cupid. He wakes and leaves her because of her curiosity, leaving her bitter and in pain. Saddened, she goes in search of Cupid and finds Venus, who puts her to work for the sorrow she caused Cupid. Psyche has to do 3 tasks, all three of which she fails in Venus’s eyes. The last task is to take Persephone’s – the wife of Hades – beauty. Psyche goes to Hell and fills a box with her beauty; her curiosity gets the best of her once more and she looks in the box, which causes her to fall asleep instantly. Cupid finds her later, revives her, and marries her despite her flaws. Now, after that rather long winded plot synopsis, we’re left with the stunning revelation that the Greek people are really good at writing intricate stories. We’re also left with the knowledge that “The Frog King” and “Cupid and Psyche” are vastly different in plot. One has a king who was turned into a frog who fell in love with a princess; the other has the son of a goddess falling in love with the princess his mother told him to curse. Now, while those two are fundamentally different in character and plot, we see one similarity that is blatantly obvious: the man falls in love with a girl.

This similarity – the factor of love – isn’t the main focus point. Sure, a lot of stories have people falling in love; what makes these two unique? Well, it’s the circumstances of their love. In each story, the princess is fundamentally flawed. In the Grimm tale, the princess is vain and greedy and focuses too much on materialistic things. She cares more about her golden ball than she does the promises she made. In the Greek tale, the princess is constantly overcome by her curiosity and temptations, and therefore causes pain and sadness to others because of it. By allowing herself to see Cupid’s face, she loses the thing she wanted most; by looking in the box of Persephone’s beauty, she fell into a deep sleep that nearly killed her. Despite the flaws of both princesses, the frog and Cupid both marry their suitors. This is the real motif of these two stories. There is love in the face of flaws. The frog still marries the vain princess, who we can only hope will learn through her marriage. Cupid still marries the curious Psyche, who we can only hope has learned her lesson after nearly dying. The main point of the matter is that the men married the women despite their flaws. This is a huge message in real life; compromise is a big part of marriage and relationships. Without it, everything falls apart, like in the scenes where Psyche failed Venus’s tasks or when the vain Princess was told off by her father.

The other main motif repeated in both tales is that of sacrifice. In the Grimm tale, the princess has to give up her food, her drink, and her own bed for the frog to whom she had promised everything. She might not like it much, but she gives up all of those things for the frog. In the Greek tale, Psyche has to do three tasks for Venus, which will eventually get her Cupid. In these tasks, she sacrifices her time and security, at one point nearly killing herself just to get to Hell. By doing these things, she eventually gets to marry Cupid. This motif, shown in both tales, seems to point to the idea that love and compromise require sacrifice. This is just as important as the previous idea of marriage despite flaws and certainly has ramifications in real life.

So, as discussed, the differences between the tales “The Frog Prince” and “Cupid and Psyche”, while minute, still exist. The Greek tale is embellished with flowery diction, whereas the Grimm tale is simplistic and straight to the point. The plot lines of both also vary, with one including a princess and a frog, and the other including numerous goddesses and gods, as well as their children. The similarities between these tales define the motifs in them, however; both tales incorporate themes of love with sacrifice and compromise, as well as love despite flaws and hardship. These motifs are reflected well in real life, showing the benefit of both tales in real circumstances.

From Grimm To Disney 1

Snow White vs. Schneeweißchen: Comparing and Constrasting Disney and Grimm

Snow White is a classic story that almost everyone knows. If you ask any person today, nearly everyone could tell you about the apple that little Snow White bit. It’s iconic; at least, to anyone who’s seen the Disney film. Surprisingly, few people associate Snow White and all its images to the original Grimm Tale, “Little Snow White” (also known as Sneewittchen or Schneeweißchen). While this is surprising, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Disney film has made the original tale more known as people research the origins of Snow White. Now, when researching the original tales, there are some similarities between them and the movie from 1937 as well as numerous differences. There’s many reasons behind this, of course, but first we should learn what those similarities and differences are.

Now, the similarities is probably easier to start with. Of course, in both tales, we have an ‘evil’ queen and Snow White. We’ve got 7 dwarfs and a prince. We’ve got a huntsman. All of those characters have the same type of personality and nearly the same plot (with only minor differences, such as the Queen in the movie being the stepmother as opposed to the mother). We’ve got similar plots (the Queen wants Snow dead, she orders the huntsman to kill her, then the huntsman refuses, Snow finds dwarfs, Queen ‘kills’ Snow, and Snow is revived later). In fact, there’s a lot that’s the same between the two versions; that comes as a bit of a surprise to me, seeing that everyone tends to treat Disney and Grimm as polar opposites.

Not that there aren’t numerous differences. As previously said, the Queen in the Disney version was a step-mother, as opposed to being a biological mother in the Grimm version*. Another notable difference is how Snow was ‘killed’. In the Disney movie, Snow White takes a bite of a poisoned apple, and that’s that. The Grimm tale has much more to it. First, the Queen ties laces too tight around Snow (presumably a corset); when that fails, the Queen digs a poisoned comb into Snow’s hair; when that fails, the Queen then brings forth the iconic poisoned apple. So, instead of the Queen trying to kill Snow once, in the Grimm tale, she tries 3 times. Another difference is the way Snow is revived (focusing solely on the apple death and reviving, seeing as the Disney version did not include the other two ‘deaths’). In the Disney version, a simple kiss from the Prince (‘loves first kiss’) cures her. In the Grimm version, however, a servant slaps her on the back after numerous days of carrying her and her coffin, which dislodges the apple caught in her throat. Yet another difference is how the Queen dies. In the Disney movie, her own attempt to kill the dwarfs ends in her death, while in the Grimm version, the Queen is killed by dancing to death in hot iron shoes. Brutal.

Now, these differences are very diverse, and there are always more (such as the singing, the names of the dwarfs, etc.). But, I think it’s plenty enough at this point to signify why Disney made these changes. The Grimm tales were blunt and are ‘renowned’ as being dark, gritty, and, well, grim. Disney wasn’t looking to make dark movies – they wanted to wow with colors and pretty, silly story lines. So, they fuzzed up the edges a little. Instead of abuse from a biological mother, it’s a step-mother (apparently that’s better than just normal old abuse). Instead of killing Snow White 3 different times, they killed her once and added some nice, pretty songs in place of all those deaths. Instead of having a brutal scene at the end where the Queen danced to death in iron slippers that were super-heated, the Queen died off camera, presumably from a rock crushing her (now, while that last one is still terrifyingly grim in nature, it’s probably not as bad as watching someone dance themselves to death while slowly burning alive). Disney was catering to children and families, and so he touched up the stories so they adapted better to his wish. Who can blame him? You cater to the audience you want.

*In the original version, the queen was written by the Grimms as a biological mother; in the third edition, she is a step mother. So, this might not be entirely ‘different’ depending on which edition Disney based this movie on.

Cinderella: The Story Of Reality (Metaphorically)

The story of Cinderella’s been told in thousands of different ways. Most of these versions did include a version of Cinderella where she starts out poor (or, at least, in poor living conditions) and then ‘magically’ made all of her dreams come true. Now, stated so basically, this motif seems far too fantastical to be true in real life. After all, no one truly expects a fairy to pop up and give them all they want, or a tree to give you a beautiful dress if you shake it. Simply put, it’s not at all realistic that ‘magic’ will give you what you want in life, for the reason that many do not believe magic is real. However, I wish to contest this theory.

Whenever the definition of magic is truly analyzed, we find that, yes, it can be seen as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”[1]. In this case, many believe that it’s impossible. Supernatural forces simply don’t happen in real life. However, what if that’s not the definition we use when analyzing magic? What if, instead, we use the classification of “wonderful or exciting”[1]? Well, many things can be seen as wonderful. Gifts my mother give me are wonderful; stories we’ve read can be wonderful; we use wonderful and magical almost synonymously in modern times. So, can something wonderful happen to help us get ahead in life, a metaphoric ‘rags to riches’ moment?

Well, this brings me to the other half of the motif. You see, the magic in Cinderella’s story was not the only thing that saved her from her life as a servant. Had the prince never fallen in love with her and married her, then Cinderella would still be stuck in her little house with her wicked family. Since he did marry her, however, she became a princess and completed the pattern of rags to riches. So, can being married to someone lead you to a life of happiness and riches?

Well, of course. When you marry someone, your money is shared; thus, the richer the man you marry, most usually, the richer you both are. So, when Cinderella married the prince, it was at least believable in the span of the motif that she would be rich due to her marriage to the prince (although not as believable that they had actually fallen in love quite that quickly).

Thus, when considering magic to be something wonderful, thoughts go to Cinderella’s marriage. Weddings are always considered something wonderful; two people are joining together to form one union in the basic of love. Some people even describe it as magical. So, in the motif of ‘rags to riches through magic and marriage’, it’s actually perfectly reasonable to believe that both marriage and magic can get you there. I believe that’s why so many different Cinderella stories have been made in the past. There’s so many wonderful – and, synonymously, magical – moments in the world that one can use to describe what happens to Cinderella. Say a waitress gets the tip she’s been waiting for that gives her enough money to go to the college of her dreams, or a girl forced to work in a flower shop meets a man whom she falls in love with who frees her from her contract to the store and allows her to open her own dream shop. The possibilities are really endless when using a different definition of the motif; and, of course, all of them are perfectly reasonable and realistic – if magic is just wonderful happenstance instead of supernatural influence. Otherwise, being rich is just another fairy tale.

[1]”Define Magic – Google Search.” Define Magic – Google Search. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. < magic&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8>.

Hansel And Gretel: From Grimm To MGM

There are numerous differences and very few similarities between the MGM movie and the original Grimm tale of “Hansel and Gretel”. While the basic plot and basic characters remain the same, the MGM version took quite a few liberties with the characters by changing their overall personalities, as well as extending the story well past the fairly short plot of the previous version. The MGM version also took the less ‘socially acceptable’ parts of the plot and mostly erased them.

For the close similarities, we look to the characters and basic plot. Hansel and Gretel are both the main characters in each version, and both of their parents are present. We also see the witch playing much the same role she played in the original tale. However, in the original Grimm story the mother was angry at the lack of food and resolved to abandon the children in the woods because, if they didn’t, they “shall all have to starve to death”(Zipes, 44). In the MGM version, the mother was angry over a mistake the children made (allowing the donkey in the house, which led to the loss of food and milk) and ordered them to go to the woods to pick berries. This difference seems small, but when compared to the mother in the original story, it is easy to see the edits the directors made; the children are the ones who wander into the wrong part of the woods, instead of the less desirable truth that the mother wanted to abandon her own children due to their lack of food.

The differences in these versions are endless. Hansel in the MGM version pressures his sister to go into the woods, whereas in the tale, Hansel and Gretel are led there by their unwilling father (who plays a far less important role in the MGM movie). Another difference, partially mentioned above, is that the mother in the tale does not appear to love her children, while the mother in the movie fully regrets having told them to go pick berries (although they went fully of their own accord down the wrong path). The mother in the movie regrets her choice and shows that she loves her children very much; the other mother does not appear to love her children, wants to abandon them, and is dead at the end of the tale.

That difference leads to the final point: the reasons for these changes. The directors of the film probably made these differences so that people would watch the movies and enjoy them, and would hopefully remain unoffended. In a directors eyes, no one would ever want to watch a movie about child abuse (the mother abandoning her children), cannibalism (the witch eating the children), or any other matter of unsavory business. As such, the director would choose to change seemingly minor things about the tale in movie form; the mother loves her children; the witch eats gingerbread instead of the flesh itself of children. These differences are simply because the Grimm brothers wanted to preserve the tales as they had been told with little editing. Unsavory topics didn’t offend people as much in the past. Now, however, we would shy away from topics such as these. This is also why the movie had songs in it, whereas the tale had none. The music was meant to distract from the main plot and to keep the audience interested. Now, whether it did its intended purpose? Well, I suppose that’s another topic for another day.

What Is A Fairy Tale?

During the short time spent in this class so far, we’ve discussed a number of things, from sex in Sleeping Beauty to something as simple as our favorite fairy tales. However, whenever we discuss the differences between fairy tales and other types of stories that are seen as synonymous with the tales (legends, myths, ect.), there appears to be a very strict base or form that fairy tales take on.

Whenever we’ve discussed fairy tales in class, we tend to bring up the same criteria: fairy tales usually rely on brevity with a stunning lack of detail; they must have some sense of magic in them, magic being defined simply as something impossible in reality (and, in the case of fairy tales, something that goes unquestioned); and, usually, a fairy tale makes us challenge a previously held belief or take a side on a certain discussion (good vs. evil, life vs. death, ect.). We’ve had numerous readings which reaffirm these criteria. Max Luthi writes of how legends use miracles and time differently from fairy tales, such that “in the local legend, the miracle fascinates, moves, frightens, or delights us; in the fairy tale, it is a matter of course” [1]. This supports the magic and lack of detail (words are not wasted on describing miracles, which are so happenstance in the world described that they can hardly be called ‘miracles’ anymore). Examples of these criteria are easily found in the Grimm tale “Briar Rose”, such as when she wakes from her 100 year sleep, undergoing no change from the passing of time. Indeed, the prince in the tale “was so astounded by her beauty that he leaned over and kissed her” [2]­­­­, despite the fact that after 100 years, her beauty should have faded quite a long time ago.

Clearly, these criteria for ‘what a fairy tale is’ appear to fit. However, there are some limitations to these definitions. For example, what would ‘modern fairy tales’ be classified as (tales such as adaptations of old fairy tales, or new stories unrelated to the Grimms or other authors)? Can they still be called fairy tales if they are merely adaptations of the originals? And, what happens when you analyze the synonymous nature of myth and legend to fairy tales; do such terms still mean fairy tale, despite the innate differences between the story types?

Despite these numerous questions, the criteria still remain true for the analysis of fairy tales. Perhaps they can be expanded upon, but for now, the magic, imagination, and form of a fairy tale define the genre well.

[1] Lüthi, Max. “The Seven Sleepers.” Once upon a Time; On the Nature of Fairy Tales. New York: F. Ungar Pub., 1976. 45. Print.

[2] Grimm, Wilhelm, and Jacob Grimm. “Briar Rose.” The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. Trans. Jack Zipes. First ed. Princeton UP. 164. Print.

Why I Chose Grimm To Disney

When I first clicked through that survey of First Year Seminars I was interested in, From Grimm To Disney caught my eye instantly. I’ve always been told that the Grimm tales were dark and gritty. I’m not totally into the whole gritty fad that’s been circulating media nowadays, but I am a rather avid fan of horror. Thus, when I saw that this FYS was available, I jumped on the opportunity. Also, who doesn’t like Disney movies, right?

My favorite fairy tale has to be Hansel and Gretel. That fairy tale means a lot to me. Whenever I was back in high school, I needed to fulfill my SSL hours (student service learning hours). To do so, I decided to work at my local library, mainly because I wanted to find good books to read in my spare time. While I was working there, I would often pull random books to check out.

One day, I pulled out an interesting looking fairy tale. The name of the book was, I believe, “A Tale Dark and Grimm”. I, of course, checked it out, having heard quite a lot about the ‘horror’ tales of the Brothers Grimm.

I read it, and it was incredible. It went into everything I knew about the classic tale and more. I learned later that it was only an adaption of the original with considerable contamination from other fairy tales, but I absolutely fell in love with the story and I’ve always wanted to re-read it. Unfortunately, my ‘internship’ ended and the book was eventually returned and the library eventually closed. I’ve been unable to find the book again, but I wish I could find it. The story was incredible, the description in-depth and all in all introduced me to a whole new type of fairy tale. That’s why it’s my favorite.

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