Messages, Themes And Symbols In The Novel And Movie Snow White
Recreated by Disney in 1938, the original novel by Jacob Grimm was written in 1812 titled ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. Both the novel and the film are quite similar. Snow White looks the same in the novel as the film, however the way in which the seven deadly sins are portrayed is quite different, in that the novel it says that the Seven Dwarfs represent each sin, but most of the dwarfs actually represent different personality traits. Whereas In the movie the sins revolve more around the Evil Queen. Another key event that changes is how the prince meets Snow White. Throughout the film, there were many references to the original novel. There are three key events which happen in the novel that were changed in the film. The most well-known scene in Snow White is the magic mirror scene however, this one of the scenes that is different in both novel and film. The second scene which changed is the number of times the queen tries to kill Snow White, in the novel, the queen attempts to kill Snow white more than once however in the film, it shows the queen killing Snow White once.
One interpretation of these texts is that the seven dwarfs represent the seven deadly sins, however each dwarf’s name actually represents different personality traits of mankind, with only Happy and Grumpy representing two of the deadly sins. This is different to the Disney film as there are moments where the seven deadly sins revolve mostly around the Evil Queen or are portrayed by the Evil Queen herself. The first deadly sin shown in the film is the magic mirror. The mirror symbolises the pride or vanity of the queen. The second sin is lust/extravagance this is also symbolised by the queen as she is royalty. “framed is thy beauty, Majesty.” The next two sins are very much represented by queen these are greed and envy which are heavily shown, not just in the film, but in the novel as well. The queen very much demonstrates the amount of power that she wants all throughout the film and the novel. At the start of both the text the audience is immediately shown audience the envy she feels towards Snow White and how much she wishes to look like her. The last three sins are represented by the dwarfs, the first one represented through sadness. In the film the audience sees the dwarfs mourn over Snow White and in the novel, it says “they wept for three whole days”. This very much represents the sadness. Wrath, this is where the film and the novel have the same ending but the plot is different. As in the novel the queen is invited to Snow White’s wedding and she attends they end up putting iron slippers on the evil queens’ feet and she ends up dancing to death, however, in the film all the dwarfs and the wild animals end up chasing the queen up a mountain the queen then ends up falling to her death. The last sin is Gluttony however, these are completely different to each other. As in the original tale of Snow White, the queen wants to eat Snow White’s heart. This is the closest thing to gluttony within the novel, however the closest example of Gluttony within the film is when the seven dwarfs are sitting at the table eating.
In the film Snow White sees the prince at the very start of the film. The prince also sees Snow White but they don’t talk to each other as White runs away. At the end of the film when Snow White is laying in the coffin the prince appears this is the second time the audience sees him. In the novel it only tells the audience about seeing the prince once and this is at the end, as he isn’t important until the end of the novel. When the prince sees White for the first time in the novel he says to the dwarfs “let me have the coffin, and I’ll pay you whatever you want.” But the dwarfs decline, the prince then replies with “then give it to me as a gift. For I can’t go on living without being able to see Snow White. I’ll honour her and cherish her as my dearly beloved.” However, in the film the prince gives Snow White a kiss which is the most well-known cure in the land of fairy tales as a kiss from true love will always awaken or bring back the dead.
There are three main symbols that are well-known in Snow White is the description of White, the mirror and the poisoned apple.
In both texts, the famous words that describe Snow White say “skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, hair as black as ebony” this line has a lot more to it than just explaining what Snow White looks like. There are little differences between the meaning of the novel and the film. In the novel the white represents Snow White’s purity, the red represents the life and adventure that she is about to face and the black represents death that she is going to experience. However, in the film the white represents Snow White being a young woman, the red represents her growth of maturity not just at the start of the film but also all throughout the film and the black is when she experienced death.
However, in the novel they continue to use quote. “white and snow, red as blood, black as ebony wood! This time the dwarfs cannot wake you up!” this was used when the evil queen had disguised herself has an “ugly hag” and gave Snow White a poisoned apple.
There are many different symbols when it comes to the magic mirror however, the mirror is always meant to tell the truth. One of the biggest situations in both the texts was when the evil queen would ask the mirror “who in this realm is the fairest of all?” the mirror would always reply with “you my queen, may have a beauty quite rare, but Snow White is a thousand times more fair.” This caused the queen to get quite jealous. However, the role of the magic mirror was to represent what the person standing in front of the mirror sees in themselves and also how others see them. Even though in the novel it doesn’t give a clear description of what the mirror looks like. The film dose it shows a floating mask and is quite dark, it also shows smoke around it. This would be how they reascents the queen as a dark and dangers person
The plot point where the evil queen offers Snow White an apple is the scene that is shown in both the novel and the film. There are a few differences such as the script is slightly written different however, the symbolism behind the poisoned apple is the same. It shows more of a religious symbol as the apple refers to a story of Adam and Eve. Snow White is Eve and she is tempted by the “forbidden fruit” or the apple in Snow White. Eve was told not to accept the fruit and in a similar way Snow White was told not to accept anything from strangers. For both of them it didn’t end well as Eve ended up taking the fruit and it had resulted in death and the same happened when Snow White took the apple.
All throughout the novel and the film the evil queen tries to kill Snow White because Snow White is the fairest of the land. In the novel the evil queen attempts to kill Snow White three times. In novels and films, they normally will have three events that will happen this is to affect the audience and emphasize on the idea.
The first attempt that queen does is by getting a huntsman to kill Snow White however, the huntsman ends up letting Snow White go. This attempt happens in both the novel and the film, without this part of the story Snow White would never find the seven dwarfs and it would be a very short story
The year that the Grimm brothers Snow White was created and released kids weren’t as ‘protected’ this is why the novel has more scenes where the queen is trying to kill snow white. Even when it comes to the death of the evil queen it is quite harsh. The film only has two scenes where the queen attempts to kill Snow White and both of these have been sensed for the younger audience so that it doesn’t show too much violence. Even the death of the evil queen has been sensed. All that the audience sees is the queen just fall off the cliff and a boulder follow, it then shows the dwarfs and two vultures, the audience never actually sees the queen.
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