Continuation of Fairy Tales
Since the time of the Brothers Grimm, fairy tales have evolved tremendously and have not only been enjoyed, but also utilized and modified. Fairy tales were used in classrooms to teach young children to follow the desirable and favored behavior emitted by the protagonists, along with educating them on morals and ethics. Fairy tales, however, were also used as propaganda during the time of Nazi Germany, aiding in indoctrinating children to faithfully follow Hitler and the Nazi Party along with their beliefs and policies. The impact of fairy tales on modern-day society is significant, seeing as not only are they still present globally, but have been transformed into highly popular films.
The Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales were firstly present in the school syllabi of Prussian elementary. It is assumed by many scholars that fairy tales are taught in classrooms because children’s “minds are open to influence and instruction through what they experience and read”. In the Nazi era, the Nazi Party recognized the importance of fairy tales and their impact on German Youth, a social group that the Nazis saw as a target for their propaganda. During the time period of the Nazis, there was great value placed on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales seeing as they were a part of German culture that already embodied some Nazi ideals, such as for example, anti-Semitism, the belief that Jews are the lowest race in the social hierarchy and should be persecuted. These “classic fairy tales [were] re-fashioned by Nazi propaganda chiefs to recruit German children to support the Third Reich”. For example, in the Nazified version of Little Red Riding Hood, she “wears a swastika-emblazoned cloak” and is saved from the wolf by “a man wearing an SS uniform”. Cultural context during differing time periods effect how gender roles are portrayed in fairy tales, and in this example, the concept of the ‘damsel in distress’ was unchanged by the Nazis from the original Grimm fairy tales seeing as it promotes their policy of anti-feminism, the belief that a woman’s role is domestic and to bear future children.
In modern day, the most common form of fairy tales is portrayed in the form of movies, specifically from The Walt Disney Corporation. Disney’s fairy tales firstly consists of films made between 1930 and 1960 and considered classics, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella. Classic Disney fairy tales are the films that closest resemble the themes and traits of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales and have female protagonists with the common traits of being young beautiful who are passive, obedient, and usually silent. Like the original tales, the women protagonists’ happy ending is from being saved by a handsome and flawless Prince. The antagonists, on the other hand, are also all women, however they are powerful and envious of the protagonist, going great lengths in order to get what they want. This brings to light that Walt Disney is reflecting the views of the larger society in his films, both idealized and flawed traits, where Disney made sure that specific traits were given to the female protagonists and antagonists so young girls watching these movies would learn and understand what traits to adhere to and from. This reflects the time period when these movies were made, reflecting similar beliefs of the German society in the time period of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. Traditional gender norms continue to be perpetuated in fairy tales.
Secondly, there are also fairy tale films made between the years 1989 and 1998, known as the “Disney Renaissance”. The characters in these films hold only a few common characteristics with the characters of the Grimm Brothers’ tales, seeing as these films portray progressive ideas with strong female heroines. An example is the movie, Beauty and the Beast, where the female protagonist, Belle, enjoys reading and strives to learn more. Instead of sticking to seeking marriage and acquiring domestic roles, women have the freedom to question and understand the world around them. Another trait is that the female heroines have the power of decision-making, such as ones that defy authoritative figures. This can be seen again in Beauty and the Beast where Belle defies her father’s wishes and bravely takes his place as the Beast’s prisoner. From Disney, it is seen that female stereotypes from the 1960s have changed, and women are given more freedoms. These movies portray women in various roles, and people learn that women, aside from being princesses or villains, are also capable of heroic acts.
The third category consists of fairy tale films made in the 20th century, and these films show even more modern ideas, where traditional gender roles completely change. A prime example is the acclaimed movie, Frozen. In these films, the female protagonists journey on a quest and fight against a force out of their control, not necessarily an antagonist. This teaches the viewers that problems are not necessarily the fault of a person or people in general. In Frozen, Elsa’s powers are the uncontrollable force of nature that is the basis of the issue in the movie. These movies also show that the protagonists do not fall in love with a man right away or at all. Frozen even goes to the extent of ridiculing marrying a man instantaneously after meeting him, and this can be seen as Disney showing their viewers that true love actually takes time to develop. A popular view in modern day is that true love does not necessarily need to be a romantic love between a man and a woman. Frozen is also significant since it shows that there are different types of love, seen from Anna’s act of sacrifice to save her sister, Elsa – an act of true love. The modern-day fairy tales fit the popular view of society today, influenced by mass media and culture, seeing as traditional gender norms changed significantly compared to the original Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales to Disney’s 20th century fairy tale movies.
Fairy Tales, Folktales and Legends
People across the globe have always told stories, and tales are the major symbol of the human struggle for eternity and immortality. Even though many take for granted that fairy tales have always been for children, in the 19th century tales were told and written principally for adults. The desire and the attraction to the past allowed oral tradition to survive and, thus, the tales continue to be told. In fact, a difference should be outlined about the history of storytelling and the distinction among tales.
Fairy tales and folktales have frequently been compared and differentiated by scholars in order to shed light on their relations and dissimilarities. Even though it is arduous to clearly distinguish between the two genres, considering tales have changed significantly throughout the centuries, it must be stressed that in fairy tales, author and origin can be identified. Some fairy tales have roots in the oral tradition, but others, called literary fairy tales, were made up and written down. On the contrary, in folktales the story was passed down orally by storytellers and it was pivotal to keep it close to the original as much as possible, although it may be complicated since many peculiar cultures are mixed in a way that fortifies the variations. As a result, authentic composers and specific sources are unknown.
Furthermore, collectors of folktales as the brothers Grimm and Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, rewrote and passed down those tales in a more literary form and the consequence is that they were no longer a popular creative material. Grimm’s Fairy Tales generated a model that, in the course of time, has been stuck and adapted to the European tale. In the 19th century Wilhelm Grimm believed that several of the fairy tales they made popular were ingrained in a shared cultural history native of the Indo-European language family. Hence, the origin of folktales was one of the biggest mysteries in folktale studies, since in oral tradition they are transmitted through spoken language, and from generation to generation. Some of these stories goes much back than classical mythology and some variants appear in Latin and Greek texts too.
It is almost impossible to describe the fairy tale as a mere literary genre because, over the years, it became a cultural institution as well. Nevertheless, fairy tales follow a representative pattern and a code that differentiate them from other genres, for instance fantasy stories. They are adventure story which embrace the whole universe, the form of which is characterized by the concentration and sublimation: clarity and mystery pervade them at the same time. Their aim is not to embellish or transfigure the real world since the world transfigure itself spontaneously: they see the world in the same way they create it. Bloody or cruel incidents are not deleted from their own context, but they are collocated in a specific place. As a result, everything seems to be in order and the intimate human desire of the ideal world is eventually satisfied.
Also known as Märchen, fairy tales involve magical and fantastic characters, events and symbols, they are not believed to be true and are always set in timeless, generic and unspecified places. They often feature one-dimensional characters which undergo a physical or mental transformation and hardly ever contain actual fairies, even though several supernatural creatures are present (such as giants, witches or ogres). Academicians utilize the German term Märchen in order to express this concept:
“The Märchen or Magic Tale is the diminutive form of the old German mär meaning a short story, is the technical term for what was earlier and is still called, in the English-speaking world, the magic tale, the fairy tale, or sometimes the hero tale.”
The origin of the word ‘fairy’ is the Latin fatum, which means ‘to enchant’. The English word derives from the French form of the root fee (or feerie), that stands for ‘illusion’ or ‘enchantment’ and, in old French romance, a ‘woman skilled in magic’. Moreover, this term can be associated with the Italian word ‘fata’.
Other three connotations of the term ‘fairy’ can be outlined: it represented the country of the Fays (Abode of the Faes); the people of Fairyland (its inhabitants); and eventually, the individual in Fairyland (the Fairy Knight or Elf) . After the publication of Spenser’s Faerie Queene , fairies were identified with nymphs and elves, and distinctions became confused. A clear and famous example of this misunderstanding is given by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream , in which he incorporated most of the legendary traditions known in England.
According to Laura F. Kready , four main origins of fairy tales can be identified:
1. Firstly, fairy tales are myth sediments and surviving echoes of gods and heroes: the narration is basically unchanged. The plot and the incidents are the same of the heroic epics, focusing on the monstrous and miraculous which reflected the condition of rude people.
2. Secondly, fairy tales are myths of Sun, Dawn, Thunder, Rain, etc. Since there were the beliefs in human descent from animals and in animated nature, fairy tales represented the primitive man’s experience with the natural world. In such world there was no supernatural because there was no distinction between nature and human personality. As soon as the first meaning of the original name was lost, everything became a new story. All scholars agree that some tales are plainly myths of Sun and Dawn: in the natural history of savages there are summer and winter feasts, rituals of sorrow, interest in the motion of the heavenly bodies and the custom of naming men and women from the phenomena of nature.
3. Thirdly, fairy tales all arose in India. India is the probable source because of the vitality of its animism and transformation, its marvelous incidents and fairy-like characters.
4. Lastly, fairy tales owe their origin to the identity of early fancy. Primitive people in remote parts of the world, in similar situations, would express experience in tales with similar characteristics and motifs.
It is likely that all these theories are at least partially correct, and that fairy tales owe their origin to all four sources.
Tales have been transmitted in many ways, both orally and literally. Sometimes tales taken from the oral tradition are written and redrafted to make the plot and the language more acceptable to their audience, and sometimes an author writes a tale maintaining traditional plot and style: both of these types are called literary tales, and it often happens that such stories are absorbed into the oral culture again and become part of the traditional literature.
Literary fairy tales can include individualized characters with a developed personality and detailed descriptions of individuals and settings. Even though fairy tales, myths and legends may seem to mean the same thing, they provide a diverse and unique reading experience. In the fairy tale men poetically gain a dominion over the world: what is difficult and unfathomable in the real world becomes simple and transparent in the fiction.
All the tales in the world have similar characteristics that have been defined by the influential scholar Max Lüthi in his book The European Folktale: Form and Nature . According to him, it should be possible to identify the function of the tale by its aspect: the form of such extraordinary artistic creation which was so widely read is determined by two main factors. It depends on the characteristics of its creators but, at the same time, on the needs of its audience. The form of the tale should be adapted to its function. Hence, it is possible to comprehend, at least approximately, its function starting with its form. Lüthi identifies five points:
1. The tale must be unidimensional. The fairy tale contains many supernatural symbols and characters (witches, fairies, soothsayers, trolls, giants, dwarves, dragons and fantastic animals), and outwardly common animals can speak and show transcendental capabilities. In fairy tales there are no feelings of fear, concern and curiosity in front of the supernatural, the hero is not baffled or scared. Everything seems to belong to the same dimension, what Lüthi calls ‘unidimensional’.
2. The tale lacks a perspective. It is not possible to perceive the fracture that dissociates the unholy world from the holy one. The characters are bodiless, without an inner world and they lack connections with past, future and time in general. The characters of the tale do not have an inner world, but not even a surrounding one: they live and act in their hometown and they do not leave it. Every experience and relationship are developed in that specific place.
3. The tale is abstract. The eradication of any perspective provides distance from reality. Fairy tale does not aim to shape the real world and its multiple dimensions, but it turns them into a different form in order to build another universe. Every creature, otherworldly or not, is mentioned but not described, and that is far to be a loss because this approach gives substance to every element.
4. The tale implies isolation and universal connections. It has already been observed that in fairy tales there is no fear, amazement and snoopiness. This lack of concern shows how characters are isolated or alienated, and there is a complete absence of a permanent relationship. Fairy tales favor what is rare, precious, extreme, what is isolated, precisely. Only what is not ingrained in an actual place, what is not detained by constraints and external relationship, can both make and dissolve bonds. The isolation acquires a real meaning only if it is able to create universal boundaries: without this capacity the externally isolated elements would necessarily disperse in every direction.
5. The tale implies sublimation and universal contents. Fairy tales have an abstract and figurative style. Objects and characters lose their individual characteristics and become ethereal and transparent figures. The motives found in fairy tales did not develop in the tale itself, most of them are just ‘social motives’ (wedding, poverty, loss of parents, discord among brothers and sisters, loyalty etc.) and they reflect the relationships between men and men, men and animals or, otherwise, between men and the surrounding world. However, these profane motives are combined with magic, and the tale sublimates them into specific ones. Even mythical, sexual and erotic motives are sublimated and transformed since fairy tales are compositions made of universal contents.
The modern fairy tale probably begins with Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Stories , and it differs from its antecedent due to its length and its multiplicity of images. It emphasizes the satirical and critical element and its humor is often heavy, while the old tale used concrete artistry since if the symbol expressed less, it implied more.
According to Bengt Holbek,
“the marvelous elements in fairy tales are symbolic, meaning they convey feelings rather than thoughts. Moreover, such vivid emotional impressions are deemed to refer to beings, events and phenomena of the real world.”
In conclusion, a traditional fairy tale besides characters, plot, setting, and dialogue, must present truth and have emotion and imagination mixed with the formal beauty of language. Any examination of the modern fairy tale very frequently shows a failure to meet these requirements.
Folktales are imaginative stories which have passed from storyteller to storyteller. In comparison with the fairy tale, the folktale is an older form, it is oral and communal because it represents the relationship between people expressed in fantastic and symbolic terms. It is based on real life even though it often features supernatural and extraordinary elements and it speaks to humans’ basic emotions, beliefs, and cultural norms. It is embedded in cultures, so it is difficult for audiences to immediately understand the meaning of another culture’s folk literature. Folktales have a particular and proper style with a standard opening formula (‘once upon a time’, ‘once there was a king and a queen’), and also a standardized ending: sometimes the formula tells what happened after the main story was over. According to Stith Thompson,
“the teller of stories has everywhere and always found eager listeners. Whether his tale is the mere report of a recent happening, a legend of long ago, or an elaborately contrived fiction, men and women have hung upon his words and satisfied their yearnings for information or amusement, for incitement to heroic deeds, for religious edification, or for release from the over powering monotony of their lives.”
Hence, folktales developed through repeated oral retellings within a society or community and every storyteller gave his own contribution. Simplification and schematization are common, the stories have a restricted list of characters (usually there are only two people) and the plot is often systemized. The folktale uses short characterizations and repetitions to emphasize important features, it starts and ends with poetic justice: the good characters are rewarded, and the evil ones are punished. Eventually, folktales generally lack descriptive passages and depend on plot.
Puss in Boots – One of the Classic Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault
Puss in Boots is one of the classic fairy tales by Charles Perrault. It is about a miller who dies and divides his wealth amongst his three sons. The first son gets the mill, the second gets a donkey, and the last born gets a cat. The youngest son is annoyed with the cat as inheritance and strategizes to kill him and selling his skin. However, the cat promises to make him proud as long as he gets it boots. With boots and a little bag, the cat sets off to make his master proud. Perrault’s Puss in Boots is a clear illustration that even the smallest gift can yield the most significant impact. The youngest son is devastated at first by his inheritance, but later on, he learns he got the best inheritance. Formalism and mythological approaches suit best in analyzing the fairytale.
Formalist criticism is a literary approach that calls for an in-depth study of literature. It perceives literature as a unique aspect that can only be evaluated in its way. It was developed during the early twentieth century and later influenced the development of New Criticism in the 1930s. Formalists believe all elements essential for understanding a literary work are embedded in the work itself. Mostly, formalists focus on the aspect of form that entails structure, style, tone, imagery, and symbolism in a text while other literary theories examine how literature relates to external social, cultural and political aspects, formalism focuses solely on the internal elements of a literary text. Formalist critics such as Roman Jacobson and Viktor Shklovsky stressed on the importance of form in their analysis of literature (Klarer 21). Formalism is believed to be making a comeback after being displaced by other theories in the late 1970s.
Formalist approach to Puss in Boots entails examining the story’s form, structure and styles in it. Firstly, the fairytale begins with the youngest son of a miller receiving a cat as his inheritance then later he laments after realizing his eldest brother got a mill and the middle brother a donkey. The cat, however, uses trickery and deceit to bring his master wealth, power and marriage to a princess. For instance, the cat kills a rabbit and takes it to the king and says it is from Master Carabas. The cat says, “Sir, I have brought you a rabbit from my noble Lord, the Master of Carabas” (Perrault 14). The cat goes on tricking the King until the Princess is engaged to the miller’s youngest son. In this, the cat is the main character in the fairytale. Apart from deceit and trickery, the cat also portrays characteristics of bravery. He plans everything very well to make sure his master is contented. The miller’s youngest son is also another character depicting aspects of discontentment and despair. The central theme of the fairytale is that even the smallest thing can have the most significant impact. Personification as a literary device is used in the fairytale whereby the cat can speak, carry bag and wear boots.
The main benefit of the formalist approach is that it enables the reader to interpret the text without focusing on external aspects. The reader does not need to understand and relate social, cultural and political elements in the text as the meaning solely is found in the text. The approach also plays a crucial role in developing close reading and in-depth analysis skills. For instance, readers of Puss in Boots do not need to know about Perrault social background. Instead in the formalist approach, the emphasis is placed on Perrault’s language use in the fairytale. The formalist approach also has its disadvantage because it is too restrictive and prescriptive in the interpretation of meaning. It ignores historical, moral and gender aspects in literature. For instance, in Perrault’s Puss in Boots readers are restricted to analyzing the tale’s structure, form and stylistics without relating it to a particular historical period. As a result, the formalist approach does not provide a whole interpretation of literary works.
Mythological criticism also called archetypal approach is a theory that analyses a text by examining the recurring myths and archetypes, images, character and symbols in literature. An archetype refers to “a symbol usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one’s literary experience as a whole” (Frye 24). The archetypes are found throughout literary works regardless of time and place. Some popular archetypes include water, which is associated with creation, birth and resurrection, colors, numbers and symbols such as the Chinese Yang-yin that represents the union of opposite forces. Mythological critics perceive literary works as an opportunity for human beings to express their desires, expectations, and fears. The archetypal approach takes Carl Jung’s collective unconscious ideas into consideration. Jung explains how myths developed among different cultures and how they play an essential role in those cultures’ literature (Jung 23).
Mythological approach to Perrault’s Puss in Boots entails identification of various archetypes and what they represent. Fairytale is a concept many people, especially children admire although it is highly considered as a myth. Puss in Boot qualifies to be a fairytale as it has a protagonist, antagonist, magic, transformation, and archetypes such as number three. The archetype number three is evident several times in the tale. Firstly, the miller had three sons; then Puss came up with three plans to trick the king, and finally, the ogre transforms into different animals three times. The number three is often associated with unity, and often children identify themselves as number three in the family after their parents even though there may be other siblings.
Puss in Boots also explores progression from one stage of life to another. The archetypes manifest the sequence in the story that draws attention to miller’s youngest son. Millers are known for grinding maize or other grains to flour which is used to make bread, often associated with childhood. The son, therefore, is sufficiently fed and consequently no need to become independent. However, things take the wrong turn when the miller dies. The son cannot have bread and thus cannot eat which is an archetype indicating he is unprepared for the next cycle of life as a result, he turns to Puss for help. The Puss, therefore, plays a crucial role in his transformation by planning for him to swim in the river to meet the king. After swimming the miller’s son transforms into a confident Master Marquis. He also gets clothes from the king thus reinforcing his new stage of life. It also represents his acceptance in life which makes Puss, a hero of the fairytale.
One of the advantages of archetypal criticism is that it examines different symbols and what they represent in literature. Many literary works portray events which have various meanings. The archetypal approach, therefore, identifies these meanings and other symbols in a literary work. For instance, the princess in Puss in Boots is a typical aspect of a fairytale. The approach plays a crucial role in expressing various universal beliefs, feelings, and ideas concerning literature. However, the theory ignores the author’s contributions to literary work. It also tends to ignore societies influence in literature. There is also the aspect of confusion in interpreting different symbols in myths as people are often interested in concrete ideas. For instance, fairytales may be interesting for kids, but adults may question their existence.
Formalist criticism and mythological criticism complement each other in various ways. Firstly, they both entail a close reading of a text to identify multiple elements. Formalism involves close reading to determine the form, themes, and imagery in literary works. Mythological approach, on the other hand, entails close reading but in pursuit of the meaning of symbols and objects used in literature. Also, both approaches ignore author and society’s contributions in literature as they focus on literature itself. For instance, in Perrault’s Puss in Boots, readers applying both formalism and mythological approach will ignore the author’s place of birth, education, work and relationships. The two approaches have brought to light some aspects I had not considered in the text. For instance, the formalism approach has brought out the central theme of the fairytale which has also helped bring out the style of personification which is the act of attaching human characteristics to inanimate objects and animals. In the tale, Puss is an animal that can speak and walk in shoes. The mythological approach helps to understand the concept of archetypes and the various types of archetypes ranging from numbers to symbols.
In conclusion formalism and mythological approach are necessary for understanding various aspects of Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault. Formalism approach entails the study of the structure and language of literary text without examining the external factors such as social cultural or political influences. Mythological approach on the other hand often focuses on the recurring archetypes, images and symbols found buried in the human mind such that they result in the same response in everyone. Some universal archetypes include; colors, numbers, and symbols such as the Chinese Yang-yin. In Perrault’s Puss in Boots, formalism helps in understanding the plot as well as literary stylistics such as personification. Mythological approach assists in the identification of various archetypes such as number three and the Puss as a hero.
The Brave Rebellion of Women in the Story of Blue Beard and the Arabian Nights
When one accomplishes something on their own, they are praised much greater than those whom are merely handed it. Individuals who take it upon themselves to make a significant change to better themselves or others, are greatly praised or looked up to. We can label these persons as role models. A role model is one who is looked to by others as an example to be imitated. These epitomes are at work for the greater good of everyone, and are usually selfless. They are leaders and encouragers, while molding the perfect example of a hero. Not only do we find these heroes in everyday life, but we discover them through analyzing literary characters as well. In Perrault’s tale “The story of Blue Beard” and Muhsin Mahdi’s “The Arabian Nights” we are introduced to a handful of characters each with their own particular role in regards to the moral and theme of the work. In both works, we find two “role models”: The Wife in “The Story of Blue Beard” and Shahrazad in “The Arabian Knights”. Both are considered heroines to these tales, and possess contrasting roles as women in their society.
In Perrault’s “The Story of Blue Beard” we are swept into a world of disobedience, shock and sorrow. Blue Beard is a wealthy man, cursed by his ugly appearance; A blue beard. “Once on a time there was a man who had fine town and country houses, gold and silver plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilt all over; but unfortunately, this man had a blue beard, which made him look so ugly and terrible, that there was not a woman or girl who did not run away from him.” (5, Perrault) It is said Blue Beard had been married before, but no one knew of any of his wives. Though we are made to sympathize with him, he later finds “love” in the character of The Wife. The Wife’s character is not colorful, nor does she possess any distinguishing qualities. Despite this, they marry and she becomes Blue Beards partner and confidant. After their marriage, Blue Beard tells his wife that he is to take a journey and that in his absence, she is to care for his home. He gave her free run of his castle, except for one room that if she opened, she was to be severely punished. Of course she opens the door finding the dead bodies of his previous wives, and upon his finding out, she is to be put to death. Our tale ends with her creating a distraction, and hailing to her sisters and brothers to save her. Her brothers barge into the castle and kill her husband, Blue Beard. Post death, The Wife is awarded all of Blue Beards fortune. “It was found that Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his widow remained possessed of all his property. She employed part of it in marrying her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had long loved her; another part, in buying captains’ commissions for her two brothers, and with the rest she married herself to a very worthy man, who made her forget the miserable time she had passed with Blue Beard.” (56, Perrault) The Wife is considered our heroine here. She is looked at as a savior because she rid her town of this evil villainous man, and in the end prevailed with not only her own safety, but his riches as well.
In Mahdi’s “The Arabian Nights” we are set in an Arabian society where we are introduced to a tale of sorrow, anger and a surprising savior. In “The Arabian Nights” we hear the tale of King Shahryar, a great ruler betrayed by his wife. During a visit from his brother, our kings sibling inquires the knowledge that his ruling brother’s wife had been cheating on him every time he went away to hunt. Upon telling his king brother this, Shahryar is so angered, he not only puts his wife to death, he makes an oath that for as long as he rule, he is to marry a different woman every night, and in the morning put her to death. His self-vengeance became a plague to all the women in his land. “He continued to do this until all the girls perished, their mothers mourned, and their arose a clamor among the fathers and mothers, who called upon his head, complained to the creator of the heavens, and called for help on him who hears and answers prayers.” (14, Mahdi) After his constant routine, we finally see a hero arise in the character of Shahrzad. Shahrzad was the daughter on the king’s vizier. She insists on her father marrying her to the king because she believed she can put an end to this merciless killing Shahryar insisted upon. Even though her father refuses, she in persistent about this matter as if it is something she was made to do. She barters with her father by saying: “Such tales don’t deter me from my request. If you wish, I can tell you many such tales. In the end, if you don’t take me to King Shahryar, I shall got to him by myself behind your back and tell him that you have refused to give me to one like him and that you have begrudged your master one like me.” (20, Mahdi) Shahrzad takes it upon herself to save the lives of hundreds of innocent women and is confident that it will be her whom saves them from demise. Soon after her marriage, she unleashes her plan to tell the king a never ending story every night to keep his curiosity afoot and have him wanting to hear more the next night. Her plan is successful, and for endless nights she tells her stories, with the help of her sister encouraging each tale and ends up saving the many maidens of her country for nights on end until finally the king trusts her and marries her. Shaharzad is viewed as a hero to women, and to her nation as a whole as a savior from a brutal, ruthless king.
When examining the two works, we are approached by two very different characters. Though both are different, the two are considered role models in both of their tales. Relating back to an earlier statement, a role model is at work for the greater good. They are selfless and honorable. In Perrvalts “The Story of Blue Beard” we are encouraged to see The Wife as a hero because she contributed to the death of this dangerous, evil man. However, we skip over quite a few key facts. One huge factor is that it is not her that kills him, it is her brothers. Not only that, but her husband would of never wanted to kill her if she hadn’t disobeyed him. Her breaking the “rules” led to her close encounter with death. Not only is she deceitful, but she claimed all of his wealth in the end, and through her “trauma” became wealthy. When considering a role model, some words that come to mind are honest, loyal, kind, selfless, encouraging, loving and sense of self. The Wife does not possess any of these qualities. Even though her disobedience did lead to the events that brought Blue Beard to his end, it was not her who set an example in this story. She was disloyal and deceitful, and through that ended up rich in the end. Money seems to be the overall “winning” here, and not the development of a hero.
Shahrzad however, is a different kind of hero. After seeing firsthand what was happening to the women in her country, she took it upon herself to make a stand. Not only did her wit and intelligence help her concoct her plan, but her selflessness put the wellbeing of the women of her country before the well-being of herself. Humble about her intelligence, she knew on her own that telling her stories would make a difference. She maintained confidence the whole time, while secretly possessing the role as a leader for women. She made her decision on her own, and stuck to it, not for her, but for everyone as a whole. Showing respect and concern for others is just two of the many qualities Shahrzad possessed that labeled her a hero. Shahrzad is the perfect example of what a real “Role Model” is. Her actions are those that should be admired, and her selflessness and kindness is that which should be mimicked.
Shahrzad is depicted as a greater role model in these works over the character of The Wife. The Wife’s character is almost one that is entitled and arrogant. She is deceitful and lacks any quality a role model should possess. She should not be considered a hero at all. Shahrzad on the other hand is everything a role model she be. She demonstrates a perfect example others should follow, and in doing her good deed, she never once thought about it being for herself. Everything about her character should be praised and admired, not only from other characters in the book, but by readers as well. She is the perfect example of a female hero and role model. Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating. This is exactly what Shahrzad does. She educates us, the king and her people in order to prove a point. Shahrzas is presented as a heroine more successfully+*- and efficiently in The Arabian Nights than The Wife in The Story of Blue Beard.
Dark Fairytale:a Midnight Dynasty Anthology Kindle Edition
In her poem “Goblin Market”, Christina Rossetti uses rhyme and structure to create a childlike presence within her twisted tale. This childlike presence allows Rossetti to cause tension and dread within her audience as the innocence within the rhyme and structure of the poem merges with the poem’s darker context. Her use of structure and rhyme also allows Rossetti to further highlight the dark nature of her characters, such as the goblin men.
Rossetti creates a childlike presence from the very first stanza of her poem. She first introduces the goblin men as they entice people, specifically young maidens, to buy their wares as they cry “‘Come buy, come buy’”. The rhyme established in this first stanza creates a childlike song that contradicts the goblin men who sing it. This song within the first stanza adds an innocence to the piece and is first dismissed by the audience as they grow tired with the song, as one eventually dismisses and grows tired of a child’s song. However, this dismissal is soon removed within the next stanza as one of the sisters, Laura, cautions “We must not look at goblin men,/ We must not buy their fruits: Who knows upon what soil they fed/ Their hungry thirsty roots?” A childlike essence is still present within the rhyme but the darker undertones of the piece are now introduced. This continues throughout the piece, a simple rhyme tainted by a darker context, which allows Rossetti to create tension within the audience through the unnatural contrast of innocent form and corrupt context. This also creates dread within the audience as the innocence brought on by the childlike essence of the piece is slowly corrupted until the goblin men’s true nature is revealed.
This unraveling of the goblin men’s true nature is greater highlighted by Rossetti’s use of structure within the monumental scene between Lizzie and the goblin men. The goblin men display their false front when they first see Lizzie. They “Came towards her hobbling/ Flying, running leaping” and “Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:/ Squeez’d her and caress’d her:” They welcome her as she tries to buy one of their fruit but when she refuses to eat the fruit, their greeting is cast aside to reveal their true nature in the next stanza over as “Their looks were evil”. Rossetti effectively positions the false front of the goblin men and their true nature side by side. This use of structure causes a greater impact within the audience as the illusion that the goblin men first presented is removed not only through reading the poem but also by allowing the audience to visually see the distinction between the false front the goblin men present and the corruption that they truly are. Rossetti’s use of rhyme within this section is also effective in highlighting the goblin men’s true nature as the stanza describing their cruel actions towards Lizzie breaks away from the childlike rhyme that dominates the poem. Rossetti effectively uses both rhyme and structure to create a childlike presence to her poem that contradicts its darker context. This allows Rossetti to cause tension and dread within her audience, as well as effectively highlight the true nature of the goblin men.
Red Riding Hood Essay – Innocent Or Guilty
Joselyn Riding is innocent in the killing of Harold B. Wolf. Even though her actions might not have not been ethically correct, they were suitable and fitting for the circumstances. Therefore Miss Riding is fully justified for doing harm to the wolf as he was a threat to her, and her grandmother and the wolf had committed the crimes of: stepping foot on the grandmother’s private property and identity theft. Additionally he incriminated the little Red Riding Hood on the way to her grandmother and therefore she only used self-defense to protect herself. In Little Red Riding Hood retold by Mary Ellen Liebheit, Joselyn Riding is a young and caring girl from Heath Meadows that has very advanced archery skills and that shows lots of love towards her ill and bedridden grandmother.
One reason that supports the thesis that the Little Red Riding Hood is innocent is that Joselyn Riding had felt threatened by the wolf, after the altercation on the way to her grandmother’s house. The Red Riding Hood had a very persistent and dependable Saturday morning. She “often walked through the forest on a Saturday morning” to visit her Granny who “was confined to bed” and who was like every Saturday expecting her visit. Therefore the grandmother “asked her physiotherapist to leave the door unlatched when she left early Saturday”. After a long walk through the “great forest”, little Red Riding Hood arrived at her grandmother’s house in “Alderly Edge”. Promptly after entering her granny’s house, she noticed that something was wrong, after hearing the “unusually gruff voice” and the “series of deathly scary coughs”. Seeing the wolf in her granny’s bed, scared her and created the emotion of worry for her grandmother. She therefore acted quickly, by opening “the closet door beside her” and got out her bow and arrow. The wolf had already “staggered out of the bed” and had moved closer and closer to the window, seeking for an escape. Due to him trying to escape the situation by “leaping toward the window” , Joselyn Riding shot him down, through a reflex, with her arrow. The thought of the wolf killing her grandmother and the wolf standing in the same room as her, scared the Little Red Riding Hood and therefore stressed her, which led to this human and natural response in such a difficult situation. Therefore she cannot be found guilty, because the wolf had created a threat and the wolf was lying in the bed instead of the grandmother who normally does when the Little Red Riding Hood comes and visits.
Another point that proves that the Red Riding Hood is innocent for killing Harold B. Wolf, that the wolf had bothered her along the way to visit her grandmother and that the wolf had intended to seek revenge on her the entire time. On her way to her grandmother’s house, the wolf had interfered by asking “Hey, what do you have in that basket, little girl?”. Since she did not allow him to have a peek at what was inside the basket for her granny, due to the fact that she is an intelligent and polite young lady, the wolf aggressively “extended a paw toward[s] the basket”. The little Red Riding Hood felt threatened and was scared of the wolf, as he had used aggression and therefore “slapped[the wolves hand] back sharply”. The wolf responded with: “I see you’re in a hurry, Red Riding Hood, so I’ll be seeing you later!”. This indicated that the wolf knew where she was going to and shows that the wolf had already been following her before, disturbing her privacy. As the wolf was attracted by the “scent of a human” and the “apple pie”, this shows that the wolf was in search for food. As the wolf did not receive any from little Miss Riding, he decided to go to her grandmother house where he would be “seeing her later”. When she arrived at Granny’s house and couldn’t find her, but found the wolf in her bed, everything made sense to her and she had the feeling that the wolf had eaten her grandmother. She panicked and tried to save her loving grandmothers life and therefore she shot him down when he was on the way out, hoping she could save her granny. The wolf had brought himself into this situation by acting aggressive and blood thirsty on the path walk and finally by creating a scene in the house.
Another valid point that convinces the wolfs guilt is: he committed multiple crimes. Joselyn Riding had found the wolf lying in his grandmother’s bed, after he trespassed into her house. By intruding into the house, the wolf went against the law from section 9 of the Theft Act 1968: breaking and entering. The law states: “entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force without authorization”. The wolve’s actions obviously fit to this definition. Additionally, he also committed of identity theft, by impersonating the grandmother when saying “Come in, dear” and by wearing her “nightgown”. These examples show that the obviously had the intent to apply bodily harm the Red Riding Hood, as he had shown that she was considered to be his lunch. This allowed her to use self-defence, as in her opinion, she was protecting herself from this creature wolf, who created a threat by illegally entering her grandmother’s house. It is indisputable that Joselyn Riding is innocent in the killing of the wolf because she just used self-defense, to protect herself from this wild and aggressive creature, after it had committed several crimes by illegally entering and impersonating her grandmother, incriminated her and disturbed her privacy whilst her walk and created a truly dangerous threat.
There is no debate that killing in general is never the right solution, but in this case it was the only way out for this little girl who was scared for her life and who took the right measures to stop Harold B. Wolf from doing further harm.
The Difficult Situation in the Land of the Eastern Fairy Tale
On March 20th, 2003 president George W. Bush and his administration, with fears of nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction had declared war on Suddam Hussein and his regime. The majority believe that the removal of Hussein was for the best, but the question of “was war with Iraq really necessary?” Still persists. I believe that war must only be used if there is immediate danger to those going to war. I have a just war theory view on the war with Iraq and I believe that the war was not just as I can’t see how it meets all the criteria of the just war theory. For a war to be just it must have a just cause, it must be a last resort, must have a reasonable chance for success, have proportionality, right intention.
The first of the criteria for the just war theory is that that there must be a just cause. With over 16 years since the war began and 8 years since it had officially ended, there is still an overwhelming lack of evidence of so called weapons of mass destruction. David Kay who at the time of the war was the head of the CIA’s Iraq survey group, which is tasked with finding the alleged weapons of mass destruction. stood before congress 6 months after the war had begun and reported his teams findings thus far. Kay stated that the team had not found any substantial evidence of stockpiling any weapons while also cautioning that there could still be a threat as the investigation had not yet been completed. It is no doubt that Hussein needed to go but according to the Council on Foreign Relations, the administration had exaggerated how much of a threat he truly was. Omar Taspinar told the CFR that nobody in the bordering countries of Iraq and those in Europe found Hussein to be a real threat as the felt that he could be contained.
Jhon Nixon who is a former CIA analyst which interrogated Hussein on multiple different occurrences, Nixon reported that when asking Hussein about his intentions with chemical and nuclear weapons he admittedly didn’t expect to hear what he did, the supposed leader of the biggest current threat to the American people had no intentions in using weapons against us. Hussein told Nixon that the American people had made a major misjudgment because we did not listen or try to understand. This to me is evidence enough that Hussein and his regime were no immediate threat to us and those around him. Along with a just cause there must also be comparative justice. This means that the outcome of going to war with Iraq must outweigh the benefits of not going to war and leaving them be. There is no doubt Saddam Hussein was an evil human being that repressed his people, but Iraq before the US invasion is considerably better than it is today.
The amount of lives lost as a result of the war is rose to over 4,000 and close to 32,000 injured according to the casualty status provided by the US department of defense, This is a tragic fact of war that could have been avoided. There must also be right intention. According the general Tommy Franks the US wanted to end Husseins regime, eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction and drive terrorists from the lands and lead Iraq down a democratic path. Hussein was eliminated and the world is better off for that, but weapons of mass destruction were never found. As a result of Husseins execution the amount terrorists and the organizations controlling them had risen considerably. A study done by Jessica Stern from Harvard found that terrorism was relatively low up until the war started, from there on the rates of terror rise dramatically and continue to stay at these levels even today. Instead of decreasing terrorism it had been increased, and lets not forget the fact that Iraq was an oil hotspot. CNN reports that in 2000 oil conglomerates such as Shell, BP, and Exxon spent more money on Bush’s campaign than they ever have on any other campaign. According to CNN and Paul O’Neil, the treasury secretary, Bush had already begun asking questions not about why to invade Iraq how they could and how quickly they could do it. According to the guardian, at the time of the war Hussein controlled a quarter of the worlds oil which 60% of the worlds total reserves.
President bush plainly said that the war would be paid with Iraqs oil. In 2007 general John Abizaid says “of course it’s about oil, we can’t deny that”. Next there must be a probability for success. If you look at the lives lost and the money spent in the war it’s obvious there was no real hope for success long before the war was over. According to reports from the US department of defense the casualties neared 1,000 in 2005 and would continue to rise which is not a sign of success. Before the war had begun president Bush stated that Iraqs oil would pay for the war but according to the Washington Post terrorists and insurgents received 40-50% of the oil profits. In another report from the San Francisco Chronicle, in the 20 billion in reconstruction funds given to the concrete plants in Iraq they were working at a capacity of 25% with an average of 9.9 hours of electricity due to terrorist attacks. According to Ethics Daily the US army was had become a thin green line and could not continue the same deployment patterns long enough to defeat terror. The fact that there vision of success shows in the support the continuation of the war. The Council on Foreign Relations stated that polls conducted by ABC news and the Washington post found that in the months following the beginning of the war, the 71% of people who favored the way president Bush was handling the war had dropped to 58%. Jump forward 15 years, another study done this time by the Pew research center found that 48% of the American people feel that the war with Iraq was obsolete, while only 43% of people felt that the war was justified.
If you look at the studies done by gallop just four days after the war had begun the was an overwhelming 72% of Americans in favor of the war with 59% strongly in favor and 13% not strongly but still in favor and the remaining 28% not in favor. 3 years later gallop reassess the views of the war finding that the majority of Americans see the war as a mistake. War must also be the last resort. From earlier statements about the exaggeration of evidence of weapons of mass destruction and the threat level of the Hussein’s regime clearly shows that war with Iraq was not the last resort. Finally there must be proportionality, the gains from going to war must be even with the losses no less than the losses. Economically, what should have been an easy smash and grab for the US army turned into an endless pit that would end up costing the US government billions. At the start of the war Bush had an estimate of between 50 and 60 billion, while in fact it cost upwards of 2 trillion dollars with speculation saying that number may be closer to 4 trillion which he stated would be paid for by massive amount of oil located in Iraq as I stated earlier. We can look back at the loss of not at only American but also Iraqi lives, and lack of success in our goals in Iraq. For many of us it would be hard to feel the true impact of war as it has never been in our front yard other than Pearl Harbor. For those that are living in the epicenter of a war it is a different story. In an article done by the global policy forum, an estimated 2 million Iraqi citizens were displaced by the 8 year conflict. This total translates to a whopping 50,000 who have to abandon their homes and lives a month according to Iraqs government.
Interpretation of Gender Roles in Fairy Tales
Who Has The Power: Males or Females?
In the 21st century, feminism is an emerging topic, which can be seen through various artists’ works. When examining fairy tales, one can see that gender roles are different. For example, Cinderella has been considered too passive as a heroine, Little Red Riding Hood is too promiscuous, and the Little Mermaid is too unselfish. On the other hand, men are portrayed positively, where fortune and power appear to be inherent in males. Like the stories “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Little Mermaid,” “Cinderella” is also not a very feminist tale because females are generally subject to misfortune and rely on male characters for power, and males have the ability to reverse these unfortunate situations.
In “Cinderella,” the heroine is a typical example of a female who is subjected to misfortune. The story describes how a girl is forced into a mistreated situation by her stepmother and stepsisters. At the beginning of the tale, Cinderella’s role is immediately demoted from someone’s daughter to a servant: “This meant the beginning of a hard time for the poor stepchild… every day, she got up before daybreak to carry water, start the fire, cook, and wash” (Tatar, 117). Cinderella’s role suddenly turns into a very passive character; she allows things to occur to her rather than actively attempting to change her situation. She is incapable of altering her fate and must instead passively wait for the Prince. This pattern is recurrent in fairy tales: “The beautiful girl does not have to do anything to merit being chosen” (Lieberman, 386). What this suggests is that the females in fairy tales don’t have the ability to reverse their situations. In the case of Cinderella, she has no other way to leave the family except to wait for the Prince to come. Thus, she accepts her situation passively by fulfilling the demands of her stepfamily.
One could argue that Cinderella does attempt to reverse her situation, making her role more active in the fairy tale. Cinderella is resourceful in trying to place her energy towards going to the ball (Lecture Notes, 5/11/17). Cinderella’s persistent effort to go to the ball is representative of her taking action to take charge of her fate. More importantly, Cinderella’s greatest contribution to her freedom might be her ability “to take control of the situation… [and] make the prince completely dependent on her” (Rohrich, 118). Furthermore, the plasticity nature of fairy tales enables certain versions of Cinderella such as that of Disney to present a more feminist point of view. For example, Disney’s “Cinderella” has a protagonist who is “adept at engineering [her] own rescues” (Tatar, 102). Cinderella is self-sacrificing, and at the same time, she is an individualist (Lecture Notes, 5/18/17). There’s also small passive resistance embedded in the storyline when she’s ordered around: “Yeah, yeah; now what do they want (Lecture Notes, 5/18/17).”
Although Cinderella takes actions that help her find freedom, these actions are largely reliant on the Prince. Without the Prince, Cinderella would still find herself trapped within the abuse of her stepsisters. This idea is characteristic of fairy tales: “This duty to find her lost husband or to win him back again… is often the fate of women in fairy tales” (Rohrich, 111). Females don’t have power in fairy tales, but instead, whatever power they have is bestowed upon them by the male counterparts. For example, Cinderella’s stepfamily is entitled to their authority because Cinderella’s father decided to remarry and share his power. Consequently, the characters in “Cinderella” have gender roles that resemble “a patriarchal world in which… the woman has a servile function” (Rohrich, 113). Although the Disney adaptation features a more feminist view, ultimately, Cinderella still serves as a servant for the family. Thus, in this tale, gender roles for males and females are truly different because regardless of what Cinderella attempts to do, her efforts are largely unsuccessful until a male character appears.
On the other side of the spectrum, characters who don’t fit the female gender role are punished. Often, domestic skills are all-important, while those who don’t exhibit industrious and domestic skills are not typical of the female gender roles (Lecture Notes, 5/18/17). Domestic skills are not character traits that the stepmother or stepsister has. Feminine power is seen through the stepmother and stepsister; however, their ambition for power is so great that they’re willing to trade their own body parts for power. In particular, when the Prince wants to marry the person who can fit the shoe, one of the stepsisters tries on the shoe that doesn’t fit her, and the stepmother responds, “Cut the toe off. Once you’re Queen, you won’t need to go on foot anymore” (Tatar, 121). Notably, this access to power for the stepmother and stepsister is not from within their own abilities but reliant on the Prince, a generic male role. The stepmother and stepsister characteristics are nonconforming to the ideal female gender role, and consequently, they are depicted differently: “Women who are powerful and good are never human; those women who are human, and who have power or seek it, are nearly always repulsive” (Lieberman, 393). The stepsisters are depicted with “hearts [that are] foul and black” (Tatar, 117) and have repulsive behaviors such as throwing lentils and peas into the ash for Cinderella to pick up. Females that have both good personality and power are also depicted differently: “Powerful good women are nearly always fairies, and they are remote” (Lieberman, 392). This woman is the fairy godmother who has power and kindness. Unfortunately, she is depicted not as a human being but as a mythological being. In contrast, the stepmother and stepsister with repulsive personality who have power are depicted in a detestable way. At the end, the stepmother and stepsisters’ power is rather insignificant because they have lost their power to demand Cinderella to do house chores. The stepmother and sister return to being passive characters without the presence of the Prince.
The same distinction between females and males as seen in “Cinderella” can also be seen in “Little Red Cap,” the Grimm version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Little Red Riding Hood is already powerless against the wolf, resulting in her being swallowed, but the Grimm brothers “transforms [Little Red Cap] even more into the naïve, helpless, pretty little girl” (Zipes, 33). More specifically, Little Red Cap, without protection, doesn’t have the power to survive because “she is lost and unable to cope with foreign or strange elements in her surrounding” (Zipes, 33). Subsequently, a male presence, such as the Huntsman is necessary to arrive as a powerful entity and rescue Little Red Cap. As a result, Little Red Cap’s “salvation comes only in the form of a male patriarch who patrols the woods and controls the unruly forces of nature” (Zipes, 36). The male character is the only person who controls the power, and Little Red Cap is subjected to misfortune until his arrival. This resembles Cinderella being forced under countless misfortunes caused by her stepfamily before her Prince shows up and sets her free from their grip.
Similar to Cinderella, the selfless Little Mermaid from Hans Christian Anderson’s tale is also an example of a powerless individual. In the tale, the Little Mermaid is given power to “achieve access and mobility [to the human world]” given that “[she] remains silent and… sacrifices [her] connection to the feminine” (Sells, 181). With fairy tales, characters obtaining “autonomy… is never easy” (Sells, 179) because, for the Little Mermaid, she is dependent on the Prince’s power to successfully remain as a human. The Little Mermaid is forced to rely on “true love” from a male to even obtain access to the human world. Unfortunately for the Little Mermaid, this is not enough; after being betrayed by the prince, the Little Mermaid, once again, sacrificed herself so he could stay with his newlywed. Although it seems that the Little Mermaid is free, what she actually obtains is far from freedom. “Anderson’s reward was never power over one’s own life, but security in adherence to power,” (Sells, 180) so her sacrifice of 300 years of good deed is not at all emancipatory but rather safety by being subservient to God. Cinderella was granted safety from the abuse of her stepmother and stepsisters by the Prince, a higher power than her, if the shoe fits. Suffering the same fate, the Little Mermaid was granted safety by God, also possessing higher power, after serving 300 years of good deeds. This goes to show how female characters in fairy tales have to depend on a male figure with more power to grant them their haven, further highlighting the hierarchy of gender roles in fairy tales.
Upon reflecting various classical fairy tales, one can see these stories share gender roles that reflect a traditional patriarchal view. Across the three fairy tales of different plot, a common trend of males and females role recurs. “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Little Mermaid” both show dependence of the females upon male figures. The tale “Cinderella”, too, contains gender stereotypes such as Cinderella needing power from the Prince to shape her destiny, and because of this, it leaves its mark as an anti-feminist fairy tale.
Female Protagonist in Fitcher’s Bird by the Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Fitcher’s Bird,” provides a look into a tale of three parts: what men are capable of, role reversal, and good versus evil. Both primary characters in the story fall under either evil or good. For the sake of tradition, in the end the heroes are male figures. However, the characteristics that the heroes have are demonstrated by the female protagonist. For instance, the wizard embodies characteristics that men hide – a womanizer and a killer – while the third sister is everything that a man should be – smart and brave. In the end this controversy is resolved when the brothers and kinsmen reclaim their position as heroes and kill the evil wizard, while the women are returned to a position where they need protecting.
To the readers, the wizard displays a form of serial womanizing when he continually kidnaps women and forces them to live with him. He seems to have the idea that only the ‘perfect girl’ will do for his bride. Thus, he constructs a test in which the girl must pass or be executed because she is not ‘good’ enough for him. It is not until he abducts the third sister that the cycle is broken. When the girl looks around her ‘prison’ and enters the forbidden room she finds the mangled remains of the other women the wizard had ensnared and killed. She realizes this is what happens to women who let themselves be taken captive by a womanizer. They end up torn to pieces. The third sister realizes this is what could happen to her so she decides to do something about it – decides to overcome the evil. Once she passes his outrageous test the wizard tells her, “You have passed the test, and you shall be my bride” (150). Because the youngest sister did pass, she was able to stop the cycle of kidnapping and killing.
All the body parts that the wizard leaves behind reveal not only that is he a serial womanizer, he is also a serial killer. If he did not revel in the act of removing limbs from torsos, he would have simply slit their throats and removed the bodies. However, he both mutilated the women and left their corpses in the ‘secret’ room. From this, the reader may infer that the wizard enjoys the acts of torture and killing and also enjoys returning to his ‘trophy room’ of women. These actions of the wizard show who men can truly be on the inside: someone who would destroy a woman if given the chance.
These qualities that the wizard displays are qualities that all men potentially possess. Men who act on these characteristics are capable of seducing women and leading them to their demise. They are also able to mercilessly kill those same women. Men such as the wizard, are heartless, ruthless, and should be feared. These men see most women – until they find the ‘perfect’ one they are to marry – as their victims. Thankfully, most men choose not to act on these desires. Instead they choose to suppress them and have their more amiable attributes more prominent in their lives – attributes that the female hero in the story provides.
As implied earlier, the youngest sister was the smartest and most level-headed of all the women the wizard had encountered. She was able to realize that it was foolish to carry something as breakable as an egg around in her pocket. By keeping it safe off her person, she was free to find the mystery behind the man, which turned out to be the fact that he had mutilated women in his spare room. The sight of all the blood and guts did not deter her from finding the correct pieces of her sisters, nor did it stop her from putting them back together. Her ability to place her sisters’ body parts together correctly shows that she is clever on her feet and knows what she is doing. In addition to this, she is able to trick the wizard into carrying her sisters – now put back together – home to their family. She accomplished this feat by placing “them in a basket and cover[ing] them with gold until they could not be seen” and then sends the man on his way (150).
In addition to outwitting the wizard, this unconventional girl can be seen as brave. She faced the evil and become the unsuspected hero. Towards the end of “Fitcher’s Bird,” she has completes her hero-like ‘quest’ and thus has power over the ‘beast.’ This can be seen when she tells the wizard to bring the basket of gold (containing her sisters) home to her mother and father. The only way she was able to do this was because the wizard “no longer had any power over her and had to do her bidding” (150). If the sister had not been in the role of hero, she would not have had that power. She shows the reader that being smart and brave provides a person with the ability to be a hero. Meaning, in order for a man to become the ‘rightful’ hero, he must realize his potential for both before he can assume the role.
In this traditional tale of good versus evil, tables are turned for most of the narrative. Usually men are seen as guardians and protectors – the hero types. In this story, however, the women – the third sister in particular – had been the hero. For example, she was the one to figure out what the wizard was doing and how she could stop it. At the story’s finale, the men are set back in their traditional role of being the heroes when they are the ones to finally destroy the evil. This outcome places women back where they ‘should be’ as the ones who need to be protected. They once again become the damsel in distress.
The feedback I received on my draft was mostly about placement of words, word choice, narrowing focus in paragraphs, and adding some more supporting quotes in places. To fix these issues I’m going to read through the comments given to me again and decide what I want to agree with and what I am going to ignore. Then, I’m going to go back into my essay and correct the problems starting at the beginning working my way to the end. After that, I will read my essay one more time to make sure it flows and is all fixed up.
In addition to all of the minor language changes, I completely removed a paragraph in which I talked about the wizard being stupid/consumed with desire. I would have talked about how he could not recognize the girl’s voice from the basket as not the one he was going to marry and also how he saw a skull in the window and thought it was his bride-to-be. I took the paragraph out because it did not flow well with the rest of the essay, and I could not find much evidence to back up my claims.