Monday, December 8, 2014

That's A Wrap...

         If there is one thing I learned from my semester spent in the Grimm to Disney FYS, it’s that there is much more to fairy tales than there appears to be. To define a fairy tale, you must include key components like the use of magic, and a central action which drives the character to their “happily ever after” ending. Fairy tales commonly include little detail, a hero/heroine, talking animals who are often used as helpers to the main character, and contrasting forces such as good vs evil. The Brothers Grimm wrote many fairy tales, all which include subtle messages and have been interpreted and analyzed by people like Luthi and Bettelheim. Although we discussed many fairy tales over the semester, here is what I learned from a few of my favorites.

In the story “Hansel and Gretel,” the two young children both symbolize a kids fear of parent abandonment, and Gretel is recognized as one of the first female heroines in the Grimm Tales who thinks for herself. The two children’s ability to problem solve and return home due to a duck, is what signifies their maturity into adulthood.  In “Cinderella”, the story reflects the idea of rising from “rags to riches” since Cinderella is originally poor but receives help from a magical bird in order to marry the wealthy prince. Her story teaches the concept that a passive girl, unlike sexually aggressive ones (her evil step sisters) will be rewarded in the end. “Snow White” is also viewed as a passive princess, who is naïve and does nothing for herself. Snow White falls victim to the patriarchal suppression of the magic mirror and the seven dwarves. Snow White’s step mother is filled with jealousy due to the young girl’s beauty, and therefore tries to kill her with weapons of feminism and a poison apple which can symbolize passion or temptation. The Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault also wrote the tale “Blue Beard” which showed the punishment for falling victim to temptation.


The fairy tale “Blue Beard” expressed the punishment for women who disobeyed their husbands and fell victim to temptation. All the wives in the story would open the forbidden room only to soon face the same fate as the dead women hanging on the walls. However, the Brothers Grimm wrote the tale “Little Red Cap” which showed the maturation of a young, naïve girl who strayed from her path.  The message taught is not only to avoid talking to strangers, but is instead much deeper. Little Red, after being eaten by the wolf, becomes aware of the dangers in the world and learns from her mistakes. This signifies her maturing along her journey. The story of “Rapunzel” also tell the tale of the maturation of a young girl. Rapunzel must go through specific stages as she matures, the first being able to move on after being taken from her parents. Rapunzel is also forced to mature after Mother Gothel finds out about the Prince, cuts her long hair off, and abandons her in a desert with twins. Although there are many more tales written by the Brothers Grimm, these are a few stories which I became intrigued by due to their deeper, hidden meanings. 


I enjoyed this FYS so much, it was truly an amazing experience! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A New Side of Rapunzel

Liza Donnelly is a contract cartoonist for The New Yorker. -

The comic deals with the maturity of Rapunzel, which is the theme in the Grimm fairy tale. The Grimm tale deals with the maturation process of Rapunzel throughout her journey. Rapunzel is portrayed as being young and naïve, locked in a tower, sealed from the real world. Rapunzel’s first step into maturity was living without her parents, yet her hair was still long which symbolizes youth and innocence. Although, when Rapunzel attempts to experience the real world and take another step toward maturity by talking to the Prince, she is punished by Mother Gothel, who cuts off her hair. Rapunzel’s hair being short represents her movement into maturity, which correlates with her being abounded on her own in the desert with two children. The comic represents Rapunzel maturing on her own terms, no longer needing to depend on a Prince. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

                                                The Many Tales of Bluebeard
There are three different variations of “Bluebeard” which all involve the themes of curiosity and disobedience. The other two tales, “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Fitcher’s Bird” both involve women who are to be wed to murders. “The Robber Bridegroom” tells of a young girl who is to be wed to a man she has never met and therefore goes into the dark forest to meet the mysterious man. When she arrives, an old women warns her that her future husband is a murder who will kill her after they wed. The young girl hides behind a barrel and has another girl’s finger land on her lap who her supposed husband is killing right in front of her. At their wedding, the girl tells of her strange dream but ends her story by showing the finger, proving her husband’s cruelty and having him executed.
     The story of “Fitcher’s Bird” is about three daughters who are each married off to a sorcerer. When the first two daughters arrive at the sorcerer’s house, he gives them an egg and tells them not to drop the egg, and a set of keys but forbids them to go into one room. Curiosity gets the better of both sisters who go into the room and find a bloody basin filled with chopped up women. The sisters drop the enchanted egg into the blood pool and because the blood will not come off, the sorcerer knows they disobeyed him and presumes to chop them up.  The third daughter places the egg in a safe spot and when she enters the forbidden room, she revives her sister and has the sorcerer unknowingly carry them back to their home. The third daughter decorates a skeleton and places it in a window, disguises herself as a bird, and convinces people coming to the wedding that the skeleton is her peering out of the window. When the third daughter’s family comes to rescue her, they lock the sorcerer and his cronies in his house and burn them to death.
            The story of “Bluebeard” tells of a wealthy man who is not liked by women due to the unnatural color of his blue beard. When Bluebeard marries, he tells his wife he must depart on a journey. He gives his wife a set of keys and forbids her from entering one room and if she does, he might “do anything”. Curiosity overcomes the young girl who opens the door to find Bluebeards past wives murdered, hanging dead on the walls. Surprised, the girl drops the enchanted key into a pool of blood. Bluebeard returns and finds the blood on the key and gives his wife thirty minutes to pray before he murders her. The young girl has her sister get their brothers to come rescue her from Bluebeards superfluous home. The brothers arrive at Bluebeards and presume to kill him, causing the girl to inherit all of his wealth and riches.

            All of these tales involve the power of curiosity and disobedience. In “The Robber Bridegroom,” the young girl curiously wonders into the dark forest to meet her husband who turns out to be a murder. The other two tales involve young girls which go into a forbidden room that results in their almost termination by their husbands who are also murders. All girls disobey their husbands which is frowned upon during the time period because the man was supposed to run the house and be obeyed by his wife no matter what. The two tales involve an enchanted key or egg which symbolizes their loss of innocence when they find the murdered victims, and ultimately leads to their downfalls with their husbands. Although, all the characters in the tales are resourceful enough to find means of escaping their husbands and having them killed as a consequence for their sins. I am partial to “Fitcher’s Bird” because the girl opposes to marrying a man she doesn’t know, and finds a way to defeat her potential husband using her wit.  Despite the other two characters relying on others to help them, the young girl in “Fitcher’s Bird” is smart enough to come up with her own detailed  plan to escape the sorcerer.      

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Different Interpretations of Little Red

The comic I selected portrays Little Red as an older, more mature women. The comic takes the Bettelheim point of view that Little Red is sexually promiscuous since in many versions of the story she is described to willingly take off her clothes and get into bed with the wolf. Little Red is shown to be hitting on the wolves, not realizing that they are dangerous. In the Grimm version, Little Red talks to the wolf because she is too naïve to realize how dangerous they are. Different versions of Little Red describe her to be attracted to the wolf, as if the wolf were the father figure she seeks. The comic describes Little Red to be more mature, openly showing her sexually eagerness while drinking wine and wearing a short red dress. This comic identifies with the ideals that Little Red was sexually promiscuous towards the wolf.  

Artist: Guy & Rodd

                This cartoon shows Little Red as being more intellectually mature, unlike in the Grimm Tale where she is a naive little girl. In the story “Little Red Cap,” Little Red is shown to be innocent and naïve to her surroundings. She willingly talks to a wolf and is unaware that the beast is impersonating her grandmother, which any person with average intelligence could have noticed. This comic shows Little Red as being more sophisticated and calling the wolf out for not being her grandmother. The comic pokes fun at the original tale of how foolish Little Red cap was for not knowing the wolf was in a disguise. The comic shows a Little Red who knows right from wrong and is smart enough to tell the difference between a dangerous wolf and her grandmother. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Tale of Two Princesses and their Unexpected Suitors
            The Brothers Grimm tale of “The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich” has both similarities and differences when compared to the Greek tale of “Cupid and Psyche” by Lucius Apuleius. Both stories involve beautiful princesses who are paired with unusual suitors which they end up living happily ever after with. However, their experiences which they must endure for these suitors differ greatly. Both stories resemble a fairy tale story line although told from two different cultural background (Greek and German) and perspectives.

            The “Frog King” is about a fair princess who makes a promise to a frog to take him as her companionship if he retrieves her gold ball from a well. The Princess falsely agrees and presumes to run away after the frog gives her what she wants. The frog does not hesitate to hop to the castle where the king makes the lovely princess hold true to her promise made to the frog. The Princess is forced into allowing the frog to eat from her plate and carry him to her bed room so he can sleep. However, the Princess throws the frog against a wall when he threatens to tell the King that she will not allow the frog to sleep in her bed, but strangely the frog turns into a beautiful Prince with “kind and beautiful eyes.” The Princess broke the Prince’s curse which led to them getting married and living happily ever after. Even the Princes loyal servant, Heinrich, is so overjoyed by his return that the iron bands around his heart broke.  But how does this compare to the Greek story of “Cupid and Psyche?”
 The stories, although similar in some aspects, also differ through the experiences of the characters.

     “Cupid and Psyche” also begins by introducing the beautiful Princess Psyche who is so fair that the God Venus is jealous of her vanity. Venus sends Cupid to punish Psyche for her beauty, but a fatal mistake causes the two to be destined for each other. Psyche is given the prophecy by Apollo that she is to be wed to a “monster whom neither gods nor men can resist.” When she wonders to the top of a mountain, she finds a golden castle where her future husband resides. Although she never sees him, she loves him undeniably and continues to live with all the riches she could ever need. However, her sisters convince her to take a lamp and knife to the “monsters” room where she discovers he is cupid but injures him by dropping wax on his shoulder. As the Princesses punishment, Cupid leaves her and returns her back to her sisters. Although, the God Ceres tells Psyche to find a way to win over Venus’ forgiveness so she can again wed her love, Cupid. Psych must sort wheat (with the help from Ants), get wool from cruel ram, and retrieve beauty from Erebus in a small box. Aided through all of these journey’s, Psyche still opens the small box of “beauty” but falls into a deep sleep where she is saved by Cupid. Cupid presumes to have Jupiter talk Venus into approving their marriage, making Psyche immortal, and allowing for them to be wed and bear a child. 
     The two princesses, both concerned with their beauty, end their stories happily ever after by enduring three different tasks which they had to complete.  However, their journeys are only made possible with the helpers who pass through, which include the frog Prince, and Cupid who assists Psych with tasks (such as sending her helper ants) and saving her when she falls into a deep slumber. But, the two stories also have their differences, the main one being their first reactions to their future husbands. The Princess in “The Frog King” does not approve of his green sliminess and wants nothing to do with him. However, Psych has an undying love for Cupid even before she knows what he looks like. The two Princesses journeys differ in that Psyche must endure difficult tasks to win over Cupid while in the Grimm Tale, the Princess wants nothing to do with winning over the frog. But both tales end with the Princess and Prince marrying and living happily ever after. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Reviews

I really enjoy the blog “In the Realm of Today.” This blog is my favorite for a multitude of reasons. For starters, the presentation and set up of the page is flawless. Every posts title is creative, includes pictures, and is organized so the viewer can easily follow the posts. Each post is detailed and covers all aspects of the question that was originally asked by Dr. Esa. The posts are organized and include specific examples from different fairy tales to back up the person’s opinion. Although I loved every post from this blog, especially the one titled “mirror, mirror…” because of its word choice and attention to detail, one of my favorite posts came from the blog Polyvore created by Emily. Her blog is also unique and eye catching in its presentation. I enjoyed her perspective on the post about rags to riches. She talks about how the tale Cinderella gave readers hope of finding their own prince and marrying into wealth and a happy life. She explains that in Cinderella, the real wealth was not the money but instead his never ending love for the Princess. She concludes with the statement that most will rise to riches through struggles and dedication which is a motif found in the real world. The blog I felt could use the most improvement was simply titled, FYS from Grimm to Disney. The page is a very neutral, dark color that includes no pictures of the fairy tales. The posts are all very short and contain less details than most of the other class blog posts. Although, all of the information is accurate, the posts could use a little more details from the fairy tales to back up their reasoning.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Snow White
Grimm vs Disney

The tale of Snow White, although written by the Brothers Grimm, was made famous by Walt Disney’s animated take on the story. Both fairy tales involve a girl named Snow White, whose lips were as red as blood, skin as white as snow, and hair as black as ebony. She is portrayed as being naïve and innocent, not fighting the patriarchal suppression of man.  On the other hand, the Evil Queen, who is also Snow Whites stepmother, is described to be mad with jealousy and strives to kill Snow White who is fairer than her, according to the magic mirror on the wall. The magic mirror in both stories tells the queen whether or not she is the fairest in the land; usually the mirror reports the Snow White is fairer which sparks the queen’s jealousy. The mirror is thought to be the patriarchal suppression of women, judging them to never be beautiful enough for man.  The queen lures Snow White to her sleeping death in both tales with an apple, colored a beautiful red symbolizing temptation and deception. However, Snow White triumphs over the queen in both tales, marrying the Prince and living “happily ever after.”


The Brothers Grimm’s original tale did not nearly gain as much success as the Walt Disney film. However, the fairy tale and the animated film have a number of differences that change the story. The Grimm’s tale introduces Snow White to have a father (whom the Queen and Snow White fight over for attention aka the oedipal struggle) where as in the movie she is an orphan. The Prince shows up in the first scene of the movie, causing Snow White to focus on his love for the whole story while the Grimm’s don’t introduce the Prince until the end of the story, making him the hero. After the Queen finds out Snow White is the fairest in the land, she sends a huntsman to kill her. Although, in the Grimm tale she asks for her liver and lungs while in the movie she desires Snow Whites heart. When the huntsman refuses to kill her and Snow White runs off into the woods, she comes across a small cottage full of dwarves. In the Grimm tale, the cottage is clean and the dwarves request Snow White to clean, sew, and cook for them if she wants to stay in their home. Although, Disney portrays the dwarves as more childlike and humorous. Snow White cleans up after them willingly and is cast more as a mother figure. Walt Disney clarifies there are seven dwarves, who each have their own unique characteristic, and who are wealthy but still act like little boys. The animals in Walt Disney’s film who aid Snow White in cleaning the dwarf’s cottage are cast to have human characteristics, being helpful and caring towards the young girl. When the queen seeks revenge on Snow White in the Grimm tale, she tries to kill her three times with a stay lace, a poisoned comb, and the positioned apple which are all weapons of femininity. In Disney’s version the queen succeeds killing Snow White on the first try with the poison apple, although in both tales Snow White is naïve enough to trust the disguised queen. When Snow White falls into her sleeping death, she is placed in a glass coffin with her name is inscribed on the side in gold. In the Grimm tale, the Prince’s servant’s drop the coffin and the apple is removed from her throat so she can than again breathe. In the Disney film, she is awakened by true loves first kiss since Disney centered the movie more on Snow Whites loves for the Prince. The Queen dies in both versions, but the Grimm’s kill her off with iron shoes while Disney has her fall off a cliff. Disney includes aspects of the Brothers Grimm version of Snow White, but why did he change so many parts in his animated film?


Walt Disney designed his movies to be original to him, hoping to revolutionize fairy tales. He was a bit narcissistic and included bits of his life story in some tales. Disney altered Snow White to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarves since he used the dwarves as a comic relief in his films. He created the movie to give people hope during the great depression, conveying the message through the dwarves that if you work hard, success will come your way. Disney wanted to also make the movie more kid friendly, allowing his films to relate to all audiences and therefore causing his movies to be more successful. Although Disney changes the Brothers Grimm original tale of Snow White, he still revolutionized the story with his animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cinderella, who starts out as a house maid and ends up marrying a prince, is based upon the motif of “rags to riches.” Cinderella’s tale starts out with her carrying out the daily household chores for her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. She is not thought of as being a part of the family, but instead just as a lower class scullery maid.  In both the movie and the Grimm story she is forced to carry out impossible chores day in and day out, never being granted any freedom or reward for her hardships.
However, Cinderella manages to rise above her family in to a wealthy class when she weds a prince. How does she manage to rise so quickly? The presence of magic and the helpful aid of nature allows her to rise above the working class. In the Grimm tale, Cinderella is granted wishes by a magic white dove, who symbolizes the angel of her mother, which allows her to attend the ball as the most beautiful maiden in the kingdom. With the help of two white pigeons, turtle doves, and all the birds under heaven, Cinderella is able to remove all the lentils from the fire which was an impossible chore given by her stepmother so she could not attend the ball. In the Disney film, Cinderella’s wishes are granted by a fairy godmothers magic and with the use of animals and a pumpkin, she is also able to attend the ball and catch the eye of the prince. The prince falls for Cinderella’s beauty and grace and decides to marry her. In the Grimm story, the white dove leads the prince to the right maiden where in the film, Cinderella is able to reveal her identity with the help of the mice. Once Cinderella weds the prince, she rises above the working class and lives a wealthy life in the Princes castle.
Rising from rags to riches due to marriage or magic is not likely from a realistic point of view. A person can marry into wealth and ascend up through the class systems, but they may never reach their own goals of success since only their significant other is the bread winner. A person though is more likely to rise from rags to riches due to marriage rather than magic. Despite most children’s beliefs, magic does not exist in the real world. Wish granting birds or the aid of nature is not something a person sees outside of the fairy tale stories. It is unrealistic for a person to rely on the aid of nature or the help of a magic being in order to successfully rise from rags to riches. In our modern day society the most productive way to achieve success is to work hard and dedicate yourself to achieving your personal goals and aspirations. A person’s devotion to what they believe in is the closest thing our modern world has to magic. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hansel and Gretel VS MGM

The Hansel and Gretel fairy tale has been altered many times over the centuries since fairy tales first become popularized. The Brothers Grimm tale is one of the most known but has been altered by other writers and even movie producers, such as in the MGM movie. The first noticeable change in the movie is that the sibling’s mother is their real mother, unlike in the fairy tale where she is there evil step-mother. The family is poor in both stories, but in the fairy tale the step-mother convinces the father to leave the children in the woods so she would not starve to death. In the movie, the mother is angry that the children let the donkey eat her custard so she sends them off into the woods to pick berries. The mother in the movie, when she realizes the children are missing, shows remorse and guilt for sending the children into the woods where the stepmother in the story wants the children to die in the woods for her own selfish gain. Although, in both versions, Hansel makes the mistake of leaving a bread crumb trail which is essential to their story because it is the mistake they must make on their own for which they learn and grow from.

When Hansel and Gretel arrive at the witches’ gingerbread house there are some distinct differences in the movie. However, in both versions, the children succumb to the temptation of the tasty house and end up eating the house due to their own gluttony and their naïve mindset to the warning signs. In the fairy tale, the witch takes the children into her house and immediately locks Hansel up into a cage and puts Gretel to work, where in the movie the witch at first appears friendly, reading Hansel and Gretel a bed time story before she unveils her evil side the next morning. Gretel is put to work in both stories and Hansel is caged up, being forced to eat so the witch can cook him as her next meal. In the fairy tale, Gretel pushes the witch into the oven where in the movie she uses the witch’s magic staff to free Hansel from the cage and put the witch into it instead. Only then is the cage dropped into the oven and killed due to Gretel’s problem solving abilities. In both stories, the kids find their own independence and mature through facing and defeating their fears. Hansel and Gretel both return home with jewels and gold coins, but the way they return home in the two versions are distinctly different. In the fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel ride a duck across a river, and at this point Gretel is grown up enough to make the decision they must ride separately and can face their problems independently. When the children return home, their evil-step mother is dead and their family no longer lives in poverty.  In the movie, Hansel and Gretel’s father finds the children and leads them back home safety to their mother. In both stories, Hansel and Gretel face a fearful journey where they mature into independent adults and eventually “live happily ever after.”


The director of MGM changed the version of Hansel and Gretel for various reason in order to promote the movie in the modern day society. He included a lot more detail than the fairy tale in order to make the story line more interesting and longer for the movie. He made parts of the story less harsh; portraying the parents as both caring for their children and Gretel not actually pushing the witch in the oven. As the movie director, his goal was to make the movie more family friendly and more eye catching.