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.
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 the 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.
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 helpers 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.
Personally, 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
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/