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. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Post #2: Definition of a Fairy Tale

                A Fairy Tale can be broken down into a multitude of elements whether it being by its structure, characters, plots, ect… The stories commonly revolve around a central action, which drives the plot along to the resolution where the characters commonly live “happily ever after.” The tale often finds the element of clarity to be important, making sure that the story line has no confusing factors. How does an author effectively include clarity in his stories? Commonly they isolate the main characters, usually a princess and a prince, so that their journey is the main focal point to the reader. The use of extremities is also used whether it being good vs evil, handsome vs ugly, ect… It is important to mention that the main characters are often a part of a high status, such as a Prince, or have otherwise risen to higher status so that the reader has someone to look up too when admiring such tales. The interesting thing about fairy tales is the stories oblivion to time. Fairy tales are often placed in an imperishable world that has a sense of timelessness. Such as in sleeping beauty who sleeps for 100 years, yet when she awakes, she is still just as beautiful as she was when she was 15 and had first pricked her finger. Fairy tales commonly include the elements of repetition, which is also important for the author’s purpose of clarity. The story may repeat the same basic journey but change important factors each time to create suspense for the reader and clearly identify what the hero is trying to accomplish. A hero in fairy tales is also written to usually not intercede on the problem until the very last moment, creating both suspense and the image that he is a true hero for resolving the story (and commonly saving the princess). Although, despite fairy tales having many different components, the stories do not usually go into large detail except on a few occasions. An author may add detail to induce humor or suspense in the reader or detail may be added to a character who is being introduced to the story and plays a large role in the journey. Fairy Tales can be broken down into many different aspects but the most important of all is a tales inclusion of magic or enchantment. All fairy tales have a sense of magic which seems completely normal and yet essential to the story. Animals can talk, villains have sorcery, and the most occurring theme that love conquers all are all aspects of magic which appear throughout almost all fairy tales. Fairy Tales are based on the essence of magic, a damsel in distress pattern, and many structural components which all make up the basic definition of what a Fairy Tale is known for.