Upon review of all of my blogs, I realized that I have not learned material in this class that will help me in the real world, which is primarily why I am in college. Yes, this class was fun for the most part, and reading and learning the history behind the Brothers Grimm fairy tales was extremely interesting. However, all of the textual analysis we did throughout the semester I had previously done in high school. In addition, this class did not contribute to my majors or my program of study, so I feel that this time was wasted for the most part. Given, this conclusion seems harsh but it is true. I do not believe I will ever apply the materials I learned is this course to the real world. Therefore, because of this class, I have developed an opinion on Luthi’s idea that a fairy tale is the real world in miniature. I agree that there are struggles in these stories that represent the world in which we live. However, they are romanticized and idealized so that the endings of fairy tales are either extremely happy or extremely horrific. These tales are not realistic, nor do they help me solve my everyday struggles. In all, they are too optimistic for my taste.


 What I have gathered from this class is that fairy tales are extremely sexual, racist, misogynistic, and bigoted. After taking this class, the fairy tale is ruined for me. Disney’s movies no longer hold the childhood nostalgic charm that they once did because I am forced to consider what sinister undertone Disney implicated in every movie he developed. In my opinion, this class was much too opinionated for me to be able to effectively formulate my own ideas about the true meaning of these fairy tales.


Given all of these critiques, there is one thing that I will never forget from this class and that is the word zeitgeist. Realisitcally, that is the sole concept that will stay with me throughout the rest of my life because I like that word.






The Brothers Grimm (2005) Punks Your Favorite Fairy Tales



“Rapunzel” in Society Today

The story of Rapunzel is one of timelessness; it is present in almost every culture and pervades virtually every time period since the Brothers Grimm first published it. Its plot and morals are even present in America today in the form of Tangled, that operates on the same premise of that of the fairy tale. In both stories, a witch takes a newborn child away from her parents and raises her in a tower in the middle of nowhere where she cannot be found. Yet, a dashing man does find her and they end up living happily ever after. However, it is the very beginning of the story and the parts in between when Rapunzel and this dashing man first finds her, and when the story ends.

Tangled3 The initial difference between the story line in the fairy tale and the movie is that, in the movie, there is an explicit reason as to why Mother Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel; her hair is a manifestation of the only flower in the entire world that keeps the witch young and vital. However, in the book, there is no clear understanding for why the witch trades her cabbage for the couple’s first born child, though there are implications. Quite possibly, she is lonely and is unable to conceive a daughter of her own so she sees this exchange as a way to acquire a child. Or, she is simply a sociopath who enjoys inflicting pain on this couple by taking away their only child. Whatever the reason, it is never revealed in the story like it is in the movie.

In addition to this variation, the Prince who discovers Rapunzel’s castle in the fairy tale is nobility; he is a kind-hearted man who visits Rapunzel often and practically marries her. There is no turmoil in their relationship, aside from the witch banishing Rapunzel and tormenting thTangled2e Prince after she finds out about her betrayal. In the movie, on the other hand, the “prince” that finds Rapunzel’s tower is actually a cut-throat, selfish thief who does not fall in love with Rapunzel until after they go on a long tenuous journey that allows her to find out who she really is and cope with this discovery. There is adventure and turmoil unlike that which can be found in the fairy tale. In the movie, there is significantly more elaboration and this gives the characters more character, in essence. In the story, there is no development, aside from Rapunzel’s transition to motherhood. The movie allows each character to grow spiritually, to find their purpose, unlike in the fairy tale.





Bluebeard and its Adaptations

The story of Perrault’s Bluebeard is an interesting one in that it invites dialogue on the concept of a women’s curiosity and how it may lead to disobedience in her marriage. This idea is quite the popular one, as it there are variations of this story in the Grimm Brothers’ The Robber Bridegroom and Fitcher’s Bird. In Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird, the menacing husbands give their wives tests to see if their wives will remain loyal while they are away. In both stories, the wife is not permitted to go into a certain room; Bluebeard, in the self-titled fairy tale, gives his wife a key that remains stained when she drops it in a pool of blood in the murder room she enters against her husband’s wishes. This happens in Fitcher’s Bird as well, only in this story, the maiden is given an egg instead of a key and the wizard tests three women instead of just one. Nonetheless, the theme of disobedience and the underlying implications of adultery are present in both stories. The Robber’s Bridegroom takes a different spin on this story in that the princess ends up watching her fiancé murder and chop up an innocent woman with his accomplices. In the first two stories, the women merely see the aftermath of their husbands’ maliciousness while in this story, the bride witnesses it first hand. The Robber Bridegroom is, therefore, evidently more sinister than the other two stories.

Perhaps the most significant similarity between these three fairy tales is that the woman is always saved by a man. In Bluebeard, the wife of Bluebeard is in the process of being murdered by her husband when her brothers save the day, killing Bluebeard and saving her life. In Fitcher’s Bird, while the third wife to be escapes from the wizard’s house with her sisters, the male helpBluebeard3ers she meets during her escape are the ones that burn the wizard’s house down with him and his friends in it. In The Robber Bridegroom, the bride’s father kills her fiancé after she has tells him the story of what she saw in his home. Though the female lead may have orchestrated parts or all of her male counterpart’s death, she never deals the death stroke, thus reinforcing the patriarchal undertones that are present in many fairy tales written in the time of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.

Each of these stories is unique in their own ways. The tale of Bluebeard is unique in that Bluebeard literally has a blue beard, a characteristic that, in hindsight, foreshadows his wife’s discovery of his menacing secret later on in the story. Fitcher’s Bird is unlike the other two tales, and other fairy tales in general, because of the symbolism of the egg and the fitcher’s bird. In this story, the egg being drenched in blood symbolizes the destruction of innocence while the third daughter dressing up as a fitcher’s bird implies a rebirth, of sorts, away from the wizard. The Robber’s Bridegroom is unique in that the bridegroom witnesses firsthand the horrible crimes her fiancé commits against humanity.
Bluebeard2Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed er’s Bridegroom because of how the princess tells her father about what she saw in her fiancé’s home. She speaks about a dream she had and keeps insisting that this story was just a dream. I cannot help but imagine the look of horror on the bridegroom’s face as his fiancé goes deeper and deeper into the story, slowly coming to the realization that his days of murder and thievery are about to come to an end. This seems a fitting end to such a malicious man’s life.The Robb



The robber bridegroom

Fitcher’s Bird

“The Walking Dead” Meets “Little Red Riding Hood”

Dead-Riding-Hood-4             Fairy tales have always fascinated society and, subsequently, many become intent on reworking them and stamping them with their own personal labels. This is the case in the comic above that depicts the storyof “Little Red Riding Hood” but has turned it into “Little Dead Riding Hood.”

I thoroughly enjoy this comic for various reasons. Primarily, this cartoon plays upon the social phenomenon of the zombie. We have shows like “The Walking Dead” that we are infatuated with, but why? Why are we so obsessed with the undead? This may be because of our fear of death. In living, we know we must inevitably die one day so we unconsciously occupy our thoughts with creatures that have died but still live. This is what we hope will happen to us. This viewpoint on the living dead also relates to religion in that believing in a higher power implies a life after death. However, our society has turned away from religion and is now consumed with zombies.

The social aspect aside, this comic is interesting because it is a complete role reversal. The helpless little Red Riding Hood is now preying upon the once feared wolf. While in the fairy tale the wolf is construed as a sexual predator, here he is anything but. Here, Red Riding Hood is not the naïve, ignorant girl who thought that straying from the path and taking up with a wolf were not such bad ideas. Instead, she is looking for her next meal and has conveniently stumbled upon the wolf cross dressing as her grandmother. This begs another question; was Little Red on her way to eat her grandmother?


Comic by Jason Scott: http://site.daftgadgets.com/blog1/warped-humor-zombie-comic-strip/


Though “The Frog King” and “Cupid and Psyche” initially appear to be incomparable stories due to their immense variations, they do in fact share a few overarching commonalities. For example, in both stories, the maleCupid and Psyche characters do not reveal their true forms until halfway through their respective stories, though these conversions happen in different ways. In “The Frog King,” the King is transformed from a frog into a human when the princess throws him “crash! against the wall” (Zipes 15). The frog’s transformation is brought about when the princess becomes violent with him, angry that she must sleep with him, even though this is what she promises him in the beginning of the story. In “Cupid and Psyche,” Cupid’s appearance is incited not by violence, but instead by Psyche’s curiosity to see her husband’s face. This event is a result of Psyche’s sisters “filling her bosom with dark suspicions” (Apuleius). Though she tries to resist this want to see her husband, she finally gives in and, in doing so, forces her husband to leave her due to her breach of trust. Whereas the princess in the Brothers’ Grimm story views her future husband’s true appearance because of her hatred for him, Psyche does so because she loves Cupid, but lets her curiosity get the best of her.

In these stories, both of the female characters have flaws that inhibit their ability to be content with their companions. In “The Frog King,” the princess’s superficiality makes her task to be the frog’s companion so daunting. In fact, this is what initially causes her to make such a deal with the frog in the beginning of the story. Her most treasured possession, a golden ball, falls into the well where the frog dwells. She cries aloud that she would give everything, “my clothes, my jewels, my pearls, and anything else in the world” (Zipes 13). Notice that she wants to give up her material possessions. This speaks to how superficial sThe Frog Kinghe is that she would willingly give these things up, but refuses to wholeheartedly be a companion to the frog, even though she promises him this in return for her ball. Though Psyche is not superficial, s
he is flawed in that her curiosity often bests her. It is her curiosity that breaks the trust she and her husband have, resulting in him leaving her. It is her curiosity that causes her to resort to “a sleepy corpse without sense or motion” (Apuleius). While delivering a box containing beauty to Aphrodite, she becomes curious and opens it, releasing a Stygian sleep that leaves her paralyzed. Had her husband not come to her rescue, she would have been left for dead. Though these two women have different flaws, their faults inevitably almost lead to their downfalls.

Undoubtedly, the main contrast between these two love stories is that “The Frog King” is only superficially a love story. “Cupid and Psyche” centers on the two lovers’ relationship, how they find each other, fall in love, lose each other, and then come together again. This is not the case in “The Frog King;” this story is primarily about how the King finds his way back to his servant, Faithful Henry. The Princess is merely a function of the tale; she is the mechanism that the King uses to become human again and reunite with Henry.






“Snow White” From Grimm to Disney

The two key differences between the Brothers’ Grimm and Walt Disney is that they each had their own motivations for developing their fairy tales. The Grimm Brothers sought to reunify Germany by collecting the stories that most accurately represented the history of the country. Disney, through his movies, aimed to put his stamp on Hollywood and self-configure himself into his stories. Both The Grimm Brothers and Disney’s motives greatly affected their story-telling, especially in the case of “Snow White.”

The Brothers’ Grimm hoped to keep their writings as true to the actual fairy tales as possible. Thus, their story of “Little Snow White” represents the zeitgeist of their time. Like the Disney movie, Snow White is passive and domestic; she wholeheartedly wants to do the chores for the dwarves and she accepts a marriage proposal from snow white cleans upa man she barely knows. However, unlike the Disney move, in the Grimm fairytale, the agreement between the dwarves and Snow White, in which she cooks and cleans for them in exchange for a place to live, becomes more of a contract in the third edition. The relationship dynamic between these characters differs slightly in the two versions. Nonetheless, the Queen in both versions is obsessed with her beauty and constantly asks the mirror if she is the fairest of them all. When she is not, she strives to eliminate her competition. This demonstrates the Queen’s need for approval from the male-dominated society of her time, regardless of how it may affect others.

There are evidently more variances between the story and the movie for several reasons. In the fairy tale,snow white Snow White is attacked thrice by the evil queen whereas in the movie, this only occurs once. Disney only incorporated one attack into the movie because, for him, that plot was unimportant. Instead, the animation of the movie was his most prized work; through his first full-length movie, he hoped to show his abilities to animate. Also, in the fairytale, the dwarves and Prince are merely functions of the story so that it may continue with its patriarchal undertones. However, in the movie, Disney gives the dwarves names and personalities while also giving the Prince a larger role as the savior of Snow White and the center of attention. These changes reveal Disney’s self-configuration; he implemented himself into this movie in an attempt to compensate for the inadequacies and struggles in his life.

Finally, because this movie debuted during the Great Depression, Disney portrayed the dwarves as hard working people who reap what they sow; they work and the rewards make them happy. He did this in order to incite the hope in Americans that if they just kept working hard, everything would improve. The zeitgeist of Disney’s time also influenced how he decided to end Snow White’s story. Because Disney’s audience was all of America, including children, the witch accidentally kills herself instead of the Brothers’ Grimm version in which the Prince forces her to dance herself to death in hot-iron shoes. This contamination makes the story universal for every age group and thus better fits the 1930’s era.

Though Disney’s “Snow White” drastically differs from the Brothers’ Grimm fairy tale, Disney had his reasons for every single alteration, whether it be for personal reasons or to appeal to his audience.





Cinderella Then vs. Cinderella Now

Ruth Bottigheimer defines a rise tale as a “sub-genre of the fairy tale in which an impoverished protagonist first secures a marriage through magic and then acquires wealth.” In “Cinderella,” Cinderella, though she begins as a wealthy girl, spends most of her life impoverished and constantly working for her step-family. She is verbally abused and neglected for most of her adolescence. CinderellaHowever, she achieves marriage to the prince through several magical events brought upon by her dead mother, who manifests through the tree Cinderella planted above her grave years before. In marrying her Prince Charming, she then acquires wealth because she marries a prince. In the fairy tale world, this motif runs rampant. Kind, compassionate woman plus a little, or a lot, of magic equals fairy tale ending in which both love and wealth are attained.
In “Cinderella,” magic directly leads to marriage because without it, Cinderella never would have met the Prince. However, this does not necessarily occur in the real-world, CInderella2depending on the time period. In sixteenth century Europe, where marriage was the main way through which women grew in wealth and power, magic most likely directly facilitated marriage. Given, the magic I speak of here is not the same as in the story of Cinderella. In “Cinderella,” the dress and shoes falling from the tree were inexplicable phenomena that Cinderella had no control over. However, in Medieval times, women used their own magic to attract men. This type of magic was not the inexplicable phenomena I mentioned earlier, but rather the sexual prowess that women exuded in order to catch the eye of their future husbands. Their magic consisted of altering their physical appearance through clothing and hair styles, along with saying just the right thing at the right time to the right person. Women’s magic then directly led to marriage due to the fact that most marriages were arranged at that time, but in order to ensure that men would come through on their agreements, women had to make said men unconsciously desire them. They used sex appeal to attract their husbands and subsequently gain wealth through marriage.

Today, this is not the case, especially in America. Though women do utilize their sexual appearance in order to attract men, this does not guarantee marriage anymore. Rather, women initially attract men through appearance, but it is their personalities and compatibilities with their partners that will most likely lead to long-term commitment. Thus, the magic that women employ only indirectly affects marriage, if it even does that. Contrarily, men may employ the same means that women employ today to attract partners, therefore completely contradicting every aspect of the Cinderella story. Also, in contrast to utilizing magic and marriage to achieve wealth, in today’s society, women more often than not find other ways to acquire wealth than committing themselves to wealthy men. Instead, they support themselves financially more often than not because women today are more independent of others than they were in yesteryear. CarlyToday, we see women like Carly Fiorina who are self-made; it is she who is solely given credit for her success in a fortune 500 company. So no, this idea of “rags to riches through magic and marriage” is not realistic today because marriage is no longer a viable means of acquiring power and wealth.



Professor traces evolution of Grimm fairy tales, starting with ‘Cinderella’

Captivating Illustrations of Classic Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm



“Hansel and Gretel” versus “Hansel and Gretel”

Get this: a new movie comes out that is based off of a book. Everyone who has read the book flocks to see the movie, hoping it fully captures the plots and ideals in the book exactly. Of course, it never does, hence the horrible reviews claiming the movie was grossly underdone and overall awful. However, what most of these critics do not realize is there was a thought process behind every single deviation from the book. Perhaps money was too tight to film a certain scene, or the director had a certain direction for the movie and some aspects of the book did not fit into his or her vision. This is potentially why the MGM movie “Hansel and Gretel” varies from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

The primary difference between the movie and the story is that, in the first edition of the fairy tale, the mother realizes that she and her husband will starve if they keep taking care of her children. Thus, it is she who initiates the entire plot by attempting to leave her children alone in the forest to die twice. This cruelty, however, is not visible in the MGM version. In the movie, though the mother is upset at her children, when they are lost in the forest, she feels the same pain any mother who has lost her children feels. She insists on going after them, only to be stopped by her level-headed husband, who explains that it will be impossiblHansele to find their children in the witch’s forest at night. This reasonable father figure is another contrast from the fairy tale. In the Brothers Grimm story, the father is passive and easily manipulated by his wife. Although he, as is seen in the movie, loves his children, he still does the mother’s bidding even though it means him losing his children. These differences occurred for various reasons, the main reason being that the fairy tale was written over a century before the movie was produced. Therefore, the ideals of the time affected both parties. In the fairy tale version, the mother is portrayed as the instigator, the one in the wrong who takes advantage of the poor father. Keep in mind that this was a time in which patriarchy was sovereign. However, the MGM movie debuted in 1987, so the ideals of the time had changed drastically from the Brothers Grimm era. In the movie, the mother is more loving and the dad is stronger, unable to be used selfishly by the mother.

Another contrast between the movie and the fairy tale is that the movie is significantly more involved and takes longer to tell the story of Hansel and Gretel than the fairy tale. There is evidently more of a lead up to the children getting lost in the forest; the family dynamic is set up as well as the struggGretelles that the family faces being poor. Also, the rescue mission that Gretel heads in order to save Hansel is much more involved and takes longer. These plot differences were incorporated into the movie primarily to make the story longer. Virtually no one wants to watch a boring, ten-minute movie. The director of the MGM movie had to embellish the story and give it more detail in order to make it more interesting and involved. The director’s aim was to capture the audience’s attention because that makes money. Whereas the Brothers Grimm aimed not to make money, but to recount the history of Germany through their fairytales, the produces of the movie were in it for profit. As the saying goes, money makes the world go round.

Though there is a myriad of differences between “Hansel and Gretel” the movie and “Hansel and Gretel” the fairy tale, some similarities are still visible. For example, the character of Gretel is strong in both versions. In contrast to many fairy tales of the nineteenth century, there is a strong female lead in “Hansel and Gretel.” Though seemingly weak and reliant upon her brother at first, Gretel becomes clever and strong when Hansel is in danger. In both the story and the movie, it is she who orchestrates and subsequently causes the witch’s death. She is more mature than her brother and, in both versions, represents a transition into adulthood when in danger. The writers of the movie kept Gretel a leader mostly to show female empowerment; women can do anything when the need to act arises.

Though there are differences between the MGM version of “Hansel and Gretel” and the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the alterations do not take away from the plot or the overarching morals of the story. Though the parental dynamic differs, both variations still glorify the bond between siblings and their never-ending love for each other, as well as humankind’s need to survive.





What is a Fairy Tale?

img_0070 According to dictionary.com, a fairy tale is “a story, usually for children, about elves hobgoblins, dragons, fairies, or other magical creatures.’ While this is partially true, this definition nowhere near covers an actual fairytale. There is so much more to these kinds of stories than simply magical creatures; there is action and adventure, love, death. Had the Brothers Grimm seen this definition of a fairytale, they would be outraged because their tales tell so much more. As Heidi Anne Heiner puts it, when asked what a fairy tale is, she answers “I am not going to give a neat pat answer since I don’t think one exists.” Regardless of the inability to precisely define a fairy tale, working definitions exist that almost always include aspects of the story such as magic, comparisons to reality, and action.

This definition gets one thing right; at the heart of every fairytale is magic. However, this is not just any magic. In fairy tales, the “real fairy tale hero is not astonished by miracles and magic (Lüthi 46). Magic is an innate part of a fairy tale and, as such, almost no one in the story is surprised when a duck talks, when the hero has a supernatural power, or when a magical monster is terrorizing a town. There is no element of disbelief or wonder in a fairy tale when it comes to magic- the exact opposite of how it is in the real world. Ducks cannot talk, heroes are just ordinary people, and monsters are plain old humans.

However, ironically enough, fairy tales are considered utopian worlds in miniature. At first, one might question this assumption, deeming it absurd because magic does not exist in the real world. Although, upon further thought, this conclusion is not impossible to reach. Take, for example, the tumblr_m7a98uljNB1r9wwcoo1_500Brothers Grimm version of “Sleeping Beauty.” In this story, a girl is blessed with the best gifts anyone could ever ask for. Then, a curse is placed upon her in which she will fall asleep for one hundred years on her fifteenth birthday. Though this curse comes to pass, Aurora is saved by a handsome prince and they, and the rest of the kingdom, proceed to live happily ever after. In this fairy tale, evil is thwarted while good is triumphant. Aurora overcomes the curse that has been placed upon her and thus resumes her perfect life as a princess. Though the evil aspect of the story may not seem ideal, there can be no good without evil. Thus, this story represents an ideal world in miniature (Lüthi).

Another aspect of fairy tales that draws people to them is their disposal of description as well as their abundance of action, which go hand in hand with each other. The fairy tale lives for action. Especially in the Brothers Grimm stories, detail is done away with in favor of focusing most of the story on the action scenes. Therefore, characters’ appearances are not usually given, nor is the description of the scenery surrounding the hero. Instead, only the fight and rescue scenes are actually detailed so that the readers have a clear sense of what is going on. Action is what makes a fairy tale. Without it, there would be no plot.

Finally, what makes each specific fairy tale is the zeitgeist, or the spirit of a certain time. The zeitgeist accounts for almost all variations in fairy tales from different countries, along with different times. What goes into a fairy tale all depends on who the target audience is and what the writers hope to accomplish in creating the story. For example, the Grimm Brothers wrote their fairy tales primarily for the German middle class and aristocracy. Therefore, they focused on upholding the morals of the time so they did away with allusions to sex and other inappropriate behavior in favor of more refined, less provocative ideals, while also trying to retain the history of Germany in their stories. In comparison, Walt Disney’s version of the Brothers Grimm tales are even more censored because at that time, children were the target audience. Also, the first Disney movies were produced during the Great Depression, time of pain and sorrow. In order to counter this sadness, Disney incorporated themes such as hopefulness and happiness. Though the target audience was children during the 1930’s and 40’s, Disney’s movies are essentially for everyone and are timeless in the sense that they are still watched today.

Fairy tales are such versatile stories that creating a concise definition is futile and impossible. Doing so is the equivalent of attempting to verbally describe a color. Though fairy tales are not all alike, they all share similar characteristics that separate them from other stories, primarily that they are full of magic, action, are miniature realities, and represent the time in which they were written in some way, either directly or indirectly.





Once Upon a Time… When I was a Child

As I was rating all of the potential first year seminar classes, I stumbled upon “From Brothers Grimm to Disney.” When I first saw it, I was interested primarily in the Disney aspect of the class. I figured I would be able to watch Disney movies and look at them from different perspectives, and see how they pertain to my life and culture. After considering this section of the class, I then focused on the stories of the Brothers Grimm. This past Christmas, I had been gifted a book of the Brothers’ complete fairy tales that enamored me. For months, I had been reading at least a story a day. I even brought the book to school whenever I knew I would have downtime to read. I then thought about how odd yet exciting it would be to compare Disney stories to Grimm tales. Through this class, I would be able to bridge the gap between the innocence of my childhood and the more informed time of my young adult life. After mulling this over, I rated “Grimm to Disney” a 9, and thus was thrilled when I discovered that I would be able to reread these Grimm fairy tales and reevaluate my childhood in terms of my newfound adulthood.

In this seminar, I hope to analyze the differences between Disney and Grimm fairy tales in order to construct a cohesive idea of why each party wrote their stories the way they did. Personally, I love the story just as much as the reason behind it. For example, when I first read “Hamlet,” I was fascinated by how each critic viewed Hamlet’s insanity and his struggle for closure from his father’s death. I am similarly interested in seeing how culture and the writers’ opinions influenced their work.


My favorite fairytale is “Beauty and the Beast” due to the fact that, when the movie came out, Belle was the only Disney princess that was like me. She was a brunette, like me. That was the initial connection because up until seeing that movie, I believed that only blonde girls were pretty or were able to be princesses. In addition to similar looks, she loved books. That stunned me. No other princess I had seen before then had any sense of the world around her or any deep character traits. Belle was the fictional character who encouraged me to delve further into the world of books and I thank her for that to this day.

Image Reference