Blog Entry 5

In 1937, the world of animation changed forever thanks to one dedicated and talented man, Walt Disney. Walt Disney took a leap and made a full-length animated featured film. He recreated Snow White originally written by the Brothers Grimm. Through his adaption, some elements to the story remained the same, while several elements differed from the original tale.

The characters in both the film and the original tale are similar but also different. There are Snow White, the prince, the huntsman, and the seven dwarfs. The seven dwarfs are all given names related to their personalities in the movie. A major difference in the characters was the queen. In the version by the Brothers Grimm, the evil queen is Snow White’s mother but in the movie she was her stepmother. Another change in characters is the addition of animals. The animals played a much larger role in Disney’s version. They were her friends, helpers, and protectors.

Along with characters, it’s important to note the events in each and their differences. The evil stepmother in Disney’s version uses magic in a more pronounced way. She makes a magic potion that morphs her into an ugly old woman and makes a poisoned red apple and takes it to Snow White. The queen only comes to the house once compare to three times in the original tale. Snow White falls into a deep sleep because of the poisoned apple in both, but she awakes differently. In the original, a servant drops her coffin and the apple comes out of her throat. In Disney’s film, Snow White awakes from true love’s kiss. The queen dies in both adaptions but in completely different ways. In the original, she is forced to dance herself to death on hot iron shoes. Disney made his queen die from a freak accident falling off a cliff. In both, Snow White is able to live happily ever after with her prince charming. There were many differences in the film because it veered from the original tale in more ways than other adaptions.

Walt Disney did a great job portraying the original Snow White but he varied from the tale in several ways for several reasons. According to Jack Zipes in Fairy Tale as Myth (Zipes, 72), Disney had his own spell when he created his magical movies. He used the ideas of contamination and appropriation. What makes Walt Disney’s fairy tales so unique and memorable? He made his tales appropriate for all ages. His fairy tales are relevant to all ages and stay with people the rest of their lives. This allows him to gain a larger audience and make a larger profit. Walt Disney created an empire and made his name famous around the world.


  • Zipes, Jack. Fairy tale as myth/myth as fairy tale. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994. 72

Blog Entry 4

Cinderella has been my favorite fairy tale since I was little. I never read the Brothers Grimm version, but I loved Disney’s adaption. I love the use of magic, the talking animals, and the beautiful ball gown. My favorite character was the fairy godmother. She made me believe that in the darkest of times, someone was to be there for me and help me get through it. To this day, I love the message that Cinderella sends and its rags to riches tale of a young woman rising and prevailing to a better life.

Cinderella is a “rise tale”, which features the motif of “rags to riches through magic and marriage”. According to Jack Zipes, the fairy tale of Cinderella by the Grimm Brothers and Charles Perrault are not rags to riches tales. He believes that is based upon the motif of the triumph of the underdog. I do believe that the underdog can overcome odds stacked against them and triumph with determination and belief. Based on my analysis and my own reflection of the fairy tale, I believe that Cinderella contains both of these motifs. I think that they both go hand in hand.

The motif that is portrayed in Cinderella is complex and interesting. It shows that people who are put in difficult and challenging situations can achieve success through magic and marriage. It’s a great message but isn’t realistic. Cinderella transformed from a servant maiden into a princess in just a few days. For me, I’m not sure how I feel about this. Of course this is a fairy tale and it makes perfect sense, but is it completely true in real life? Sure, when you get married your status can change and you can gain wealth and success but not necessarily complete happiness. There are people who have married into wealth just to become successful and powerful but not because of love. It depends on the person’s definition of success to determine if they have truly overcome their odds and transformed from “rags to riches”. They certainly can’t reach success from magic because that only occurs in fairy tales.

Blog Entry 3

It is very rare for a movie to be identical to its original story. Sure there can be a similar plot line and similar characters, but there are often differences in details. This is the case with the Brothers Grimm Hansel and Gretel and the MGM cinematic version


The MGM movie was based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, but it had many differences and ventured away from the original tale. One difference that can be noted is the tale around the village that kids were disappearing into the haunted forest. Hansel and Gretel, in the movie, are not taken into the woods by the father. Their mother sends them to get berries and they are sent out into the forest only once compared to twice in the original Grimm fairy tale. The children make a trail with cookie crumbs instead of breadcrumbs. One of the biggest differences in the film is that the mom wants the kids to live when she thinks they went into the haunted forest. She exclaims she doesn’t know what she would do if something happened to her kids. She also doesn’t die in the end. The father goes in search of the kids. There was also a music element whereas in the tale there was no music. The father and the witch are given names. These differences are mainly all in detail, which had to be added to provide a cinematic appeal.

There are a few similarities between the movie and the original tale. The similarities are found in the plot line. The family is poverty-stricken and there is nothing to eat. The mother is strict and mean and the father is protective of his children. The children try to find their way home but find a house made out of candy. There is similar symbolism in the house as it represents their greed and hunger. The witch has the same intention to eat Hansel. Gretel, in both, kills the witch; the witch dies the same way that she was going to kill Hansel. This expresses the idea that evil consumes itself. The kids receive an award for killing the witch, which makes the family rich. The similarities help preserve the message of the original fairy tale.

The movie directors made these differences for several different reasons. One of the most obvious being that a five and a half page story cannot take up 90 minutes. In a movie, characters need to have more depth and there needs to be a lot more detail. The directors also need to find a way to appeal to a larger audience in order to make a profit from the film.

My favorite part in the MGM version of Hansel and Gretel is when the witch, Greselda, reads to the children the story of Briar Rose before bed. It is an ironic scene since we just read that fairy tale last week. It made me laugh out loud.

Blog Entry 2

A fairy tale is a magical, short story that has been derived from cultures and the word-of-mouth. It is understood to be fictional. A fairy tale grasps the essence of magic and imagination with its style, pattern, elements, and themes. Fairy tales stay with us until we are old and become a part of us as we grow. Some of the most popular fairy tales have come from the Brothers Grimm. These tales were written based on stories people told them. The fairy tales are close to oral tradition while including stylistic, formal, and thematic changes to appeal to the growing middle class.

The most important part in determining what makes a fairy tale different from legends and myths is what is in the heart of the fairy tale. In the heart of a fairy tale is magic. Without magic, a fairy tale wouldn’t be a fairy tale. The magic allows for the imagination to run wild. It is what fascinates so many people from children to adults.

Fairy tales incorporate the supernatural to explore life’s meanings. Of course a fairy tale doesn’t need to have fairies, but they contain other mystical beings from talking wolves, birds, and other animals to dwarves and witches. No one questions why a wolf speaks or why birds can sew because that is the essence of a fairy tale. It’s the magic!

Each fairy tale has a specific style in which it is written. A fairy tale has clarity, neatness, and precision. There is a major lack of detail and description. This means that every word counts and is meaningful to the story. Another aspect found in fairy tales is repetition. Certain actions are repeated as well as numbers-3, 7, 12, and 100. Repetition allows for a rigid and strict form. Fairy tales are written in an abstract style. “The steady progression of the action, the dispensing with a detailed portrayal of the background or the characters, the predilection for everything clearly formed, the tendency towards extremes and contrasts, the tendency to make feelings and relationships congeal into objects, so to speak, and thus become outwardly visible- all these things give the fairy tale definiteness, firmness, clarity. The fairy tale bestows on its hearer, without him being aware of it, something of its unaffected precision and brilliance.” (Lüthi, 53)

Along with their style, most fairy tales have a specific pattern and include certain elements. Most plots follow the same progression. Zipes explains the five common plots in each of the Grimm’s fairy tales. First, the protagonist goes out to explore the world. Then, the protagonist encounters some helpers and receives advice and gifts. Next, the protagonist encounters a powerful person who threatens to stop the protagonist from success. Then, the protagonist uses the gifts and advice the helpers gave her. Finally, the protagonist is rewarded. Fairy tales include the elements of timelessness and isolation. They also include symbolism, motifs, and archetypes. Most fairy tales contain archetypes of the hero, the villain, and the helper just to name a few. Fairy tales have themes and teach lessons, which make them so fascinating to not only children but also adults. They share the theme of good versus evil. They teach that good will always defeat evil. All of these characteristics make up a fairy tale.

From toddlers to teenagers and even adults, fairy tales are an important part to our lives. They give us hope. The magic that unfolds gives us encouragement and entertainment and allows our imagination to soar.