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.