Sunday, November 29, 2015

Final Blog Post

Reread all blogs you have written and reflect about what you have done and learned in the semester

Over the course of the semester I have gained a new appreciation on fairy tales, because of the many perspectives we have looked at them through. I have also learned how to decipher fairy tales, separation what is needed to keep the tale going from what is at the heart of the tale. The first blog I wrote about was what is my favorite fairy tale, which I said was Rumpelstiltskin. After reading many fairy tales from the Brother’s Grimm, I think that my new favorite fairy tale is Bluebeard. Since I researched extensively on the tale, I adore the symbolism and deeper meaning of the tale. 

Another important thing I learned this semester was why do people write fairy tales. People write fairy tales because of the Zeitgeist, or spirit of the time. There are many fairy tales about a myriad of monsters and heroes because the Zeitgeist is always adapting, changing to fit new cultural and historical contexts. In blog post 7 I learned about the Greek tale of “Cupid and Psyche”. Through this tale many similarities arose to “The Frog King”, such as the female getting herself into trouble because she cannot resist temptations. I also found a cartoon called “Little Red Walking Hood” for blog post 8, and compared it to the Grimms original. During this comparison I learned why Disney appropriated most of his stories, in order to change the Zeitgeist and also to give people hope, which was something people needed during the Great Depression.

The final thing I learned during the course of the semester is that fairy tales make it into mainstream media, and it is important to find these allegories. A salient example is “Silence of the Lambs”, which has “Little Red Riding Hood” motifs. The female character must fight her way into the light against Buffalo Bill, just like how Little Red must fight against the Wolf. In conclusion, From Grimm to Disney highlighted things I would have never thought about in fairy tales, and taught me how to read them in order to find out what they actually mean.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rapunzel VS Tangled

                                                              Comparing and Contrasting “Tangled” to “Rapunzel”
Tangled, released by Disney in 2010, is arguably the film with the biggest disparity between the original Grimm version and the movie. The differences arise from the very beginning in the movie. The first difference is about how Mother Gothel obtained Rapunzel in the first place. In the Brothers Grimm original version, the wife forces her husband to jump into the enchanted garden and take some rapunzel for her to eat. The next time the husband tries to steal from the garden, a fairy berated him for his thievery. She made a deal with the husband, that she could have their soon-to-be-born child in exchange for food in the garden. The movie describes a very different exchange; Mother Gothel steals Rapunzel from her bedroom in the palace, and takes her into the forest to a high tower. Disney decided to have Mother Gothel steal Rapunzel in order to create disdain and hatred toward her character, so people (children) can more easily recognize the villain.

The second salient difference is of Rapunzel’s interactions with the male character. I use the term male character because in the original version he is a prince and in the movie he is a their or bandit of sorts. Rapunzel is initially introduced to the prince because she is singing and he happens to stumble upon the tower. Rapunzel lets down her hair to pull him up, and then, in true fairy tale tradition, fall in love and decide to get married. Their plans are rudely interrupted when Mothel Gothel returns, causing the prince to jump down from the tower and blind himself. In “Tangled” the bandit, Flynn Rider is running through the forest when he finds the tower. Flynn ascends the tower and then is taken hostage by Rapunzel, whom eventually accepts a deal to take Rapunzel to the annual ceremony of lights. Through Flynn and Rapunzel’s adventures, the motif of women needing male assistance is prevalent. Rapunzel is basically hopeless without him, even though she thinks so highly of herself.

Even though these respective renditions of Rapunzel are vastly different, they have some similarities as well. Thematically both tales can be read two-fold. Firstly, the importance of understanding who we are to ourselves and on the other hand understanding who we are to others. Rapunzel is locked in the tower to understand who she is, symbolizing the journey into adulthood. Once she escapes from the tower, or interacts with others, she encounters difficulties, which arise because she is beginning to understand how she is to others. This journey into adulthood is one of the underlying themes in both of these tales, and one Disney did not contaminate away from this theme.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Reflect about the three versions of the story of “Bluebeard”. How are these tales similar or different? What is unique about them? Which one did (didn’t) you like the most? Why/ Why not?

“Fitcher’s Bird”, “The Robber Bridegroom”, and “Bluebeard” all give readers insight on something rarely discussed in fairy tales, what occurs after marriage. Each tale warns the readers that happily ever after does not always result because of marriage. These tales confirm a child’s “worst fears about sex” because it delineates what happens when a young girl marries an older man.

All three tales describe how a wife is “married to a nightmare”, but each one differs in the way that they fix that nightmare. In “Fitcher’s Bird”, the wife is successful because she hides the egg until her husband returns and is able to put her sisters back together. She then has the sorcerer carry her two sisters covered in gold back to her parents, and when the sorcerer returns, him and his friends are set on fire. “The Robber Bridegroom” describes how the soon-to-be wife hides behind a barrel and uncovers her fiancé’s hidden hobbies. She is able to save herself by retelling her experience in her kingdom, where the fiancé and his band of robbers are killed. In “Bluebeard”, the wife asks her sister to get their brothers to save the day. The wife is able to stall just long enough for her brothers to cut down Bluebeard with their swords. 

“Fitcher’s Bird” is unique because she is able to put the bodies back together again. It is also unique because the death to her husband and his friends are being set on fire. “The Robber Bridegroom” is unique because she actually witnesses the horrors her fiancé commits, whereas in Fitcher’s Bird and Bluebeard the wife only sees the aftermath. “Bluebeard” is unique because the tale can be read culturally as women needing the assistance of men. The other two tales portray the woman as saving herself, by using intellect and cunningness. The wife in “Bluebeard” can only delay the inevitable, and pray that her brothers arrive in time.

I liked “Bluebeard” the most because of the different interpretations the tale had. The wife can be characterized as a symbol of female empowerment from a feminist perspective, or as helpless and naïve who still needs a man’s help from a cultural of structuralist perspective. I enjoy how there is a bit of suspense to the tale, because the reader does not know if the brothers will arrive in time to save the day. I did not enjoy “Fitcher’s Bird” because it was a little too magical and illogical. First of all, how can an egg drop on the ground and not break, and how does the blood never wash off. Surely the wife could have gotten a new egg to distract her husband. Additionally, covering herself in honey and feathers seems very illogical, and there could have been a better way to disguise herself. I know, however, that some of these things could be symbols for abstract concepts, but I cannot grasp them.