Here it is. The end of the semester. The end of my first half of my freshman year of college. I did not think, going into college, that I would be so warped into a class set about fairytales and a set of brothers but they have taught me so much in just these 15 weeks. They have forced me to read between the lines of a true short story and to believe in the magic it brings.
I did not understand what exactly we could have learned in a class all about fairytales before starting this class. I did not realize that there are so many different ways that the stories can be read. Some people may read it and see it set up in a feminist scenario, but others may read the same story thinking the exact opposite. I also did not realize that there are so many different versions of the same stories. The ones that surprised me the most are when there is a completely different outcome.
Disney will always be my first love and the first version that I come to know but now I realize things that I didn’t in the past. For example, the foot that Cinderella’s glass slipper is placed on. (It’s the left by the way). Now I just have a bigger appreciation for not only Walt Disney for creating his own twist on classic tales, but for the Grimm Brothers who are the reason for Walt Disney’s fame.
I thoroughly enjoyed this class and thought it was a great introduction to becoming a college student. I enjoyed teaching children what I learned throughout the year and being introduced to short fairytales unknown to most by the famous Brothers’ Grimm.
Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard follows the same basic story line as the Brothers Grimm’s The Robber Bridegroom and Fitcher’s Bird.
In Bluebeard a woman agrees to marry the ugly and deceiving Bluebeard after an extravagant party he throws. Soon after their marriage, Bluebeard leaves on a trip and gives a ring of keys to his recent bride. When he gives her these keys he leaves strict instruction not to go in one specific room in the house. When curiosity gets the better of her, the bride finds herself in a room filled with the blood and flesh of dead woman’s bodies. These woman are the previous wives of her new husband, Bluebeard. While running out of the room, she drops the golden key which becomes stained with blood. The bride does was not able to remove the stains before giving the key back to her husband who gives himself a mission to kill her. The bride is saved by her two heroes, her brothers, who kill Bluebeard.
In Fitcher’s Bird three sisters all took turns going into the forbidden Bloody Chamber. Only two came out alive after dropping the egg they were given in the blood. Since the last sister was smart, she left the egg in the cabinet so she would not make the same mistake. When she got in there, she gathered all of her sister’s body parts and puts them back together, sends them home and mars the man who gave them the key to the room. At the wedding, a fire is lit and the doors are locked leading in everyone dying in the fire.
In The Robber Bridegroom, the bride is set off into the woods to find her groom but is sent to the cellar and must wait for her groom, who she hears kill her grandmother. Instead of having him executed right then and there by her father, she plays a trick on him with her grandmothers finger which was cut off and landed on her lap. The groom is later executed.
My favorite of the three stories is Bluebeard. In this story, someone other than a romantic interest saves her and it sticks out to me the most.
I watched a four minute You Tube video or an animated Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. During this video, Little Red Riding Hood did not meet the Wolf on her way to her grandmothers house, but instead just when she got there. This story starts out with the Wolf eating Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. This video has no ‘happy ending’ because not only does the Grandmother die quickly in the beginning, but Little Red Riding Hood is soon swallowed whole herself. Unlike in the original fairytale, neither the Grandmother nor Little Red Riding Hood are resurrected in the end. At the end of this version of the story, the Big Bad Wolf is the one to win in the end. I did not like this interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood because in this version of the fairy tale, both Little Red Riding Hood and the Grandmother are left defenseless and were not able to fend for themselves. Also, it is known that in all versions of the Little Red Riding Hood that the Wolf is the bad guy. The villian in this is known to be a Wolf who is Big and Bad so why would he get his way at the end of the story? I assume that whenever I read or, in this case, watch a fairy tale, that the villain will always die or at least fail in his task but in this version there is no doubt that he won and got his way in the end.
Little Red Riding Hood- The Big Bad Wolf- Animated Stories For Kids
When I first opened Cupid and Psyche, I was not sure if I was going to be able to compare it to The Frog Prince. The main thing to throw me off was the length of the two stories. Cupid and Psyche was so much longer than the Frog Prince. The next thing to make me unsure of their comparisons was the background of the short stories. Cupid and Psyche has a strong Greek background.
In both of these stories, the daughter is a beautiful princess with parents who make their daughters do the right thing no matter how hard it is. In the Frog Prince, the King believes that his daughter should kiss the frog. He wants his daughter to have her ball back but he also wants the right thing for the frog and for the frog to become a human again.
Cupid and Psyche comes from Greek Mythology. This is the biggest difference that I have noticed between it and The Frog Prince. The Grimm Brothers wrote The Frog Prince and they come from Germany. These two cultures are so different that it is hard to imagine two stories that are so related to each other. The Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche has more of a storyline and a stronger motif then The Frog Prince.
Cupid and Psyche
The Frog Prince
Before watching a movie, it is assumed that it will not directly match up to the original story, or in this case, fairytale. In 1937, Walt Disney added seven main characters to the Grimm Brother’s Snow White. Snow White soon became Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney made these small men into actual characters by giving them names and personalities. In the original fairytale, they were just men that gave Snow White a house to live in for a short period of time. They also have an actual relationship with Snow White in the movie. Instead of the fairytale, the dwarfs are the ones to carry Snow White’s glass coffin to the Prince’s castle but in the fairytale it was the servants to carry the coffin. Another difference between the original and the movie is that the movie only has the Stepmother feeding Snow White the poisoned apple which worked in killing Snow White. This means that it does not show either of the Stepmother’s previous failures before the apple finally worked. In the fairytale, there is nothing saying that a kiss would kill the apple’s spell and instead the coffin was dropped and the apple that was wedged in her throat flew out. In the movie it was the kiss from the Prince that brought her back to life. Also, the focus on the story was changed in the Disney version from a tale of redeeming the title of ‘fairest of them all’ to a love story. The fairytale was specifically about how the Stepmother claimed the title of fairest of the land but Disney changed it to Snow White’s love story with the Prince who was not an important character in the original.
The baseline of Cinderella’s story is ‘from rags to riches’ but is it completely accurate how she got there? We know that Cinderella’s fairy godmother was the one to give Cinderella her first promotion to ‘riches’ when she gave her the opportunity to wear a fancy dress and have a great arrival to the Prince’s ball but that satisfaction only lasted until the stroke of midnight. At midnight, everything that was magically given to Cinderella was taken just as easily. After Cinderella came back to her own reality of ‘rags’, she was soon welcomed back to the ‘riches’ status by her marriage to a prince. Cinderella’s original appearance when with the prince was a lie to him because the life she showed is not the life she lives. Cinderella is a poor girl who lives with a family that does not care about her and the night she was with the prince she was presented as a wealthy and well maintained girl. If the prince knew her real status would he still find her as attractive and breath taking as he does the second he lays eyes on her? Cinderella marries into money but that is not a realistic ending. Obviously it is not realistic to fall in love with somebody that you spent one dance with but at the same time, most people that have the same social status Cinderella has would not even be given the chance to go to a Prince’s ball and dance with him. This was all done with magic and the ‘rags to riches’ is not realistic.
In The Brothers Grimm version of Hansel and Gretel, the mother was cold enough to want to get rid of her children all together. Throughout the movie, Hansel and Gretel’s mother was rude and harsh to them when they let the donkey in the house and she did things that I could not imagine anyone’s mother being able to do but she was never harsh enough to leave her children in the woods. Also, in the movie version of the story, Hansel and Gretel’s mother was the one to send the kids into the woods but in the story it is the step-mother that sends her children away. The director made these changes to make the story less dramatic and less serious. In the story written by the Grimm brothers, the siblings went into the woods twice but in the movie they went in only once before they found the gingerbread house with the witch. Also, the fairytale version of the story makes Hansel and Gretel more selfish than in the movie because they end the story with the children finding the pearls, jewels and money in the witch’s house. In the MGM version of this same story, Hansel and Gretel seem like they did a great thing for other people by saving children that were also lost in the woods and they were given the jewels to become rich. They were not snooping around the witch’s house but instead they had been rewarded with fortune.
Depending on who is asked, the definition of a fairytale may be altered drastically or interpreted differently. When I am asked what a fairytale is the answer is simple. A short story with a single storyline, limited characters and a dramatic plot. These stories have a hero that makes a dramatic move and goes through desperate measures to, usually, save the princess. The hero is normally someone that is isolated from the rest of the story. This may be because they were moved to a remote location or because they were kidnapped from the rest of the characters. Fairytales always have a degree of unrealism or in some cases magic. Fairytales also normally have a hidden message or some type of underlying plot to teach a story. The message is taught by the many different symbols, motifs and colors that are repeated many times throughout the story. Fairytales are known for repetition that helps it become known for something special. For example, in Snow White there is a repetition of the mirror and the evil queen asking it questions like “who is the fairest of them all?”. Sleeping Beauty has a common repetition of the colors blue and pink. Another common factor of fairytales is that they have numerical symbolism. Many of the stories have sets of a certain set number that actually means a longer or shorter amount of time. In Sleeping Beauty, Aurora falls asleep for 100 years but that is actually to mean that she fell asleep for a long time. Many different contributions go into creating a fairytale but the all have the same components.
Over the summer I was asked to complete a simple task of ranking a set of topics from my favorite to my least favorite. I was not feeling attached to any of the subjects as I put them in order until I saw the word “Disney” flash across my screen. In all honesty, I never read fairy tales growing up; my childhood consisted of Pooh trying to pull his head out of the honey jar. At the same time I knew that Walt Disney did not come up with the ideas for his movies all by himself but I never looked into the original stories, or in this case, fairytales. With that being said, I do not have a favorite fairytale, but I do have a favorite Disney movie. I have never been obsessed or even intrigued by the idea of a princess like most little girls but for some reason I have always been attracted to all things Tarzan. First I believed it was because I enjoyed the movies’ music so much but then I watched it again and realized that the real reason is because of its storyline. Instead of being a ‘damsel in distress’, Tarzan was a physically capable man who had no idea about the human world. Being raised by apes made things a lot different for him but it was a girl who was able to help him. Instead of most Disney movies, Tarzan has his life saved by a woman instead of a woman being dependent on a man. The basis of most Disney stories consists of females needing to be saved by a man but in this case it is the man that needs help from the girl. I chose this class to find out the background of some of my favorite moves and to figure out what Walt Disney left behind in his interpretation of the stories.
This is just a trial post to make sure everything is set up correctly!