Compare and Contrast Essay: Rapunzel and All Summer in a Day
Telling someone there’s a shocking amount of similarities between the classic children’s fairy tale Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm and Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi short story All Summer in a Day could be hard to believe, at first. For starters, Rapunzel was written in 1790, how similar can it be to the 1958 post-apocalyptic story? The answer is a lot. This essay is going to prove that Rapunzel and All Summer in a Day are extremely similar in terms of characterization, setting, and the stories’ underlying themes using quotes and proof from the two stories.
First, let’s talk about the characters. Rapunzel and Margot are as similar as two characters from two completely different backgrounds and time periods can manage to be. Although it can be hard to see at first, both are portrayed as fairly weak, helpless, and ultimately unable to change the course of the story on their own. They rely completely on side characters. The two of them were also taken away from what would have presumably been a happy, fairly pleasant life and thrown into one of misery. They’re mistreated, alone, and unaware of a lot of “the outside world”. Rapunzel is completely cut off from society, but Margot refuses to interact with her classmates, which is understandable, given the way they treat her. The two girls also undergo a similar predicament, having been locked up. Because of this, they completely miss crucial parts of their lives. For Rapunzel, it would have been her teenage years, and Margot missed what could have been her only chance at seeing sunshine again. All that, just because they were locked up, which brings us to setting. The setting often plays a big role in the theme and plot of a story.
Although these two stories take place in two very different time periods and places (Germany, Venus…? ) there are some resemblances, starting with the feelings they invoke. These settings inspire feelings of isolation and sadness through their portrayals of solitude. The “locked in” part of the story is extremely crucial, and that’s because of the setting. Both Rapunzel and All Summer in a Day recall happier times, Rapunzel’s being her time spent not in the tower, and Margot’s being her brief time on Earth. You can almost feel the nostalgia, and the feelings of homesickness that seep through into the more somber settings. The story of Rapunzel doesn’t go into much detail about her tower, saying only: When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower in the middle of a forest. The tower had neither stairs nor door, but near the top was a little window. Although that doesn’t tell us much, it gives the reader what they need to visualize her tower. It’s much easier to find the theme in a short story than a regular book, because they are often more condensed. This seemed to be especially true with All Summer in a Day, and using those themes, I was able to find parallels in Rapunzel.
All Summer in a Day has a particularly dark and dull mood, but I found it extremely easy to see the underlying misery conveyed through the word choice and portrayal of Margot. Just looking at this description shows you more than enough: She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. Solitude is also prominent in both stories. Just look at Rapunzel, who was so close to escaping her misfortune, but was then sent to: the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. She is obviously no longer completely alone, but she’s probably not enjoying that very much, having no company other than her children. Weakness is also unfortunately constantly present, as was mentioned earlier in this essay. Rapunzel only made it out of the desert because of her prince (“He led her to his kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and contented. ”) and Margot was completely forgotten until the very end of the story (“They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out. ”) which does imply that they weren’t strong enough to escape their predicament on their own. Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the resemblances between the two stories, it’s hard not to see the parallels.
Although it wouldn’t be wise as to say they are “the same”, they do appear to be undeniably similar in the way they depict their protagonists, their choice of setting, and the tone and theme. Altogether, reading these stories with a new perspective changed my perspective on these tales. Hopefully, after reading this essay, you see this as well. No matter what, Rapunzel and All Summer in a Day are great stories, and will remain timeless classics.
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