Saturday, September 26, 2015

Walt Disney's appropriation of Schneewittchen

Walt Disney was a radical filmmaker who changed the way the world viewed fairy tales through his use of appropriation, therefore enforcing his socioeconomic and cultural beliefs upon his viewers. Both versions begin with a relevant theme for the time period, the loss of the maternal figure and the subsequent introduction of a new one. This new maternal figure is characterized as vain, narcissistic, and haughty. The mirror is a consummate symbol of the mother’s vanity, because narcissistic people tend to look upon themselves in a search of self love. One of the biggest appropriations Disney created was the characterization of the 7 Dwarves. In the Brothers Grimm, they were merely a tool to continue the story, and generally had no influence over Snow White’s actions. However in the Disney version, the 7 Dwarves are liberated and brought to the foreground as prominent characters, and help drive the story’s plot. Another important appropriation is the introduction of the prince at the beginning of the story. Snow White is a servant to her step-mother in the beginning of the Disney film, and therefore the Prince is briefly mentioned because he will be Snow White’s savior. The beginning of the Disney movie is another example of Walt Disney’s favorite themes, rags to riches through the assistance of men. In both versions it is Snow Whites naïvety that kills her. The prince taking her from the dwarves and her re-awakening symbolizes the transition of childhood into adulthood. In the Grimms’ version, the haughty queen must dance herself to death with hot iron shoes, indicating that Snow White is mature enough to possess power over her step-mother.

I believe that Walt Disney diverted the original version in order to alter to a personal theme, that is going from rags to riches because of the assistance of a man. The Grimms’ version describes how after the transition into adulthood, Snow White now has the confidence and maturity to banish the queen. But in the Disney Version, Snow White continues to be a passive girl, venturing into the sunset with the prince. The queen in the Disney version falls off a cliff and dies, only because the animals chased after her. Snow White is as important a character as her father, because she does not do anything. The only thing she actually does is clean the house, further delineating Disney’s sexist views. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cinderella is one of these so called “rise tales”, which features a narrative arc of “rags to riches through magic and marriage”. write a reflection on this motif. Can someone reach success or riches with magic or marriage? How realistic is that?

Cinderella is one the most seminal works of the Brothers’ Grimm, and a plethora of writers and film designers have adapted the fairy tale in order to alter the themes and motifs. In the original Cinderella, a prominent motif is the “rags to riches” development. The Brothers’ Grimm also added Christian motifs in order to proclaim the power of God and divine intervention. The divine intervention is another motif, such as the birds speaking and able to perform complex tasks for Cinderella. Another divine intervention is when the tree drops down beautiful clothes and shoes for Cinderella. The tree is a symbol of Cinderella’s dead mother, who continues to look after her, having an angelic and generous benefactor presence. Cinderella is able to achieve this rags to riches development partly because she has a biological disposition, as to say she was “destined” for this result, and also because she welcomes and invites magic into her life. Cinderella is in fact liberated because of this magic, leading to her marriage with the king. Her life can be illustrated through a sinusoidal function. At the beginning of her life she is gleeful and wealthy, because of her father’s riches. From the point her father remarries, she is downtrodden and abused, because of the other women in her life. Cinderella is finally liberated and attains salvation because of the wealth of another man, the prince.
I believe that one can reach success or riches with magic or marriage. One example of this development is Roman Abramovich. He was raised by his uncle and grandmother after his parents died when he was four, and got his first big break from a wedding gift from his in-laws. In 1995, after dropping out of college to pursue his entrepreneurial interests, bought oil giant Sibneft. Abramovich continued to flip his investments and today owns the largest private yacht in the world and Barclays Premier League Club Chelsea FC. I would call Abramovich the epitome of rags to riches through BOTH magic and marriage. It is uncanny that he experienced this magic AT HIS OWN WEDDING!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Compare the original Grimm tale with the MGM version. What is different in the film? What is similar? Why did the movie directors make those changes?

The first similarity between the two stories is in the opening characterization of the mother and father. The mother is explicated as a disdainful, narcissistic woman, who plots against her own children. Readers can sympathize with the father, because they can feel how painful it would be to have to lead your children into certain death. One difference that the MGM version delineates is some background on why the family is in poverty. The mother remarks to the father that “you better not let that baker fool you again!”. Hansel and Gretel and their father then venture into town, where the children learn a song and dance from the town entertainers. Another similarity between the two stories is Hansel’s nurturing demeanor. When Gretel grouses about her hunger, Hansel consoles her and tells her that God will help them. This also explains the christian motifs, because faith will overcome evil.
Journeying into the forest is when another difference arises. In the Grimm’s book, Hansel and Gretel go into the forest twice, the first time Hansel has stones that leads him home. The final difference which I will explain is the resolution of the tale. In the MGM version, once the witch is defeated, Hansel and Gretel find a dozen or so other children trapped in Gingerbread Men and rescue them. The ending scene is Hansel and Gretel, their father, and the other children walking back out of the forest. The resolution of the Grimm’s book version tells that Gretel opened the cage for Hansel and then found pearls and jewels, so their family was now rich. The MGM version’s ending characterizes Hansel and Gretel as heroes, not only for themselves, but for the whole town.
I believe that the movie directors added in the baker as an explanation of the families poverty, because we, as viewers, want to know who the villain and who the hero is. In the book, we do not know why the family is impoverished, and therefore the mother(witch) is the sole villain. When we hear the father return from town with great news that the baker has finally repaid, we rejoice because we have defeated a small villain. The movie directors also changed the number of journeys into the forest, because of the characterization of Hansel. In the book, Hansel can be characterized as overtly confident in his abilities to find his way out of the forest the second time, because he already did it a short time ago. Therefore in the film Hansel seems more heroic, because he is able to adapt and thrive in his unfortunate circumstances.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What is a Fairy Tale
Märchen, or Fairy Tales, provide a profound statement on the culture and socioeconomic entities during an era. But first, it is important to delineate the difference between scholarly definitions of local legends, Saint’s legends, and Fairy Tales. Max Lüthi describes that the teller of a local legend probably did not orate a difference between the three, rather express his or her story as a Sage, a brief story. The story teller also “believed his tale and by no means wanted to characterize it as legendary in our sense”(Lüthi 35). The Saint’s legends definition stems from its latin root legenda, which means “that which is to be read”. It is disparate because it has not been passed down by the oral tradition, but rather inscribed, usually be clerics or literate workers of the church. Lastly, the Saint’s legends provide religious guidance and explicate miracles only divine powers could create. Fairy tales, on the other hand, have a core of magic and imagination. One of the themes of fairy tales is time and how it is manipulated. Lüthi remarks that “part of the power which [fairy tales] has to delight the reader derives from this triumph over time and the passage of time”(Lüthi 44). In the two previous tales objects are passed down from generation to generation, but in the fairy tales, objects are only used when they need to perform a specific job. Fairy tales detach people from the space-time continuum and propel them into another world, that can be incorruptible and wondrous. One of the biggest distinctions between fairy tales and the two legends is how it deals with magic/miracles. The quintessential example is when an animal begins speaking to a human. The fairy tale hero has a moment of anxiety, which vanishes within a couple seconds. Furthermore, there is usually no questioning of how or why that animal can speak, therefore the fairy tale “accepts miracles as if they were a matter of course”(Lüthi 46). Finally, the fairy tales stylistic characteristics are in consummate consonance. They exhibit precision and the desire to use every last second of the time limit.