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.