I can’t believe that my first semester of college is coming to a close. I have learned so much from this class that I will be able to use for the rest of my life.
After this class, I have a greater appreciation and admiration for the Brothers Grimm tales and original fairy tales in general. I never knew exactly who the Brothers Grimm was or that there were tales before the Disney ones. I love the Brothers Grimm versions and learning the original versions of the tales I love.
One of the biggest things I have learned from this FYS was how to read between the lines. I have always had trouble finding meaning in stories and interpreting them. I continuously would get frustrated because I couldn’t see past the literal meaning. I have learned how to find deeper meaning in not only fairy tales but also any story in general. I can now find hidden meanings, symbols, metaphors, motifs, and falcons.
It was so much fun to go back into my childhood and look at my favorite fairy tales again. It was interesting to read them from an adult perspective and notice certain things that I didn’t know before.
My favorite story that we read this semester was Cinderella. Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale and I loved reading the Brothers Grimm version. I had never read it before and I was surprised by the violence. It was very different from the Disney adaption that I grew up with.
This class has helped me tremendously with writing papers and giving me confidence in my work. Before this class, I was never one to be confident in my papers that I would write. I learned how to write concise, fluent, and articulate papers. Before, my papers were all over the place. Now, they are to the point and make better sense. I learned the importance of using quotes to support my points and make my paper more accurate.
The Walt Disney franchise adapted the Brothers Grimm Rapunzel in 2010 called Tangled. It follows the typical Disney characteristics. The story was embellished in several ways to appeal to children. The tale was appropriated and contaminated. The major motifs and lessons are similar, but Disney made several changes to the storyline.
Both versions have the same falcon (the most significant part of the tale that makes it stand out from any other tale)- the long hair. The long hair symbolizes beauty. The tower is another significant symbol that is shared. It can be a phallic symbol for sexual awakening or a metaphorical symbol to show heaven and earth.
Both versions share the idea and motif of knowledge through exploration. In both, Rapunzel is able to be truly happy after she learns what the outside world is like outside of her tower. In the Brothers Grimm version, she is able to live with her true family. In Tangled, Rapunzel takes adventures and learns things along the way that she never would have known if she was in the tower the rest of her life.
In both stories, a plant is unique in the plot, but it holds different meanings in regards to the way that Rapunzel is taken. In the Brothers Grimm version, the mother craves the lettuce and the father makes a deal with the evil witch that she can have the baby in exchange for the lettuce. In Tangled, the flower has magical powers. The queen needs the flower for her health. The evil mother in Tangled uses the flower to keep her young and youthful, so she takes Rapunzel because her hair now has the magical power.
Another unique difference is the idea of a prince charming and true love. In the Brothers Grimm version, the prince is the one who comes to the tower and gets Rapunzel pregnant. He is her true love. In Tangled, Flynn Rider is a thief who saves Rapunzel from her isolation in the tower. Each brings Rapunzel to her happy ending, but in different ways.
My favorite part in Tangled is the very end. I never understood the meaning behind the tear that saved Flynn before I took this class. I love how Disney added that subtle touch. Both versions show Rapunzel healing their husbands leading to the happily ever afters.
Some people think this movie symbolizes the death of the fairy tale and criticize Disney. I disagree. The movies are creative adaptions of centuries old beloved tales that teach life lessons and let readers enter each universe in miniature (Lüthi) to understand our deepest desires and fears.
The two versions of Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” that we read in class were “Fitcher’s Bird” and “Robber Bridegroom”. All three fairytales follow the same plot line. They tell the tale of a female protagonist who save themselves from an evil man who they have already married or are about to marry.
These tales share some similarities and differences. The similarity between the tales is the curiosity of the women. “Curiosity killed the cat.” The women in “Fitcher’s Bird” and “Bluebeard” are given tasks and orders to not enter one specific room, but their curiosity got the best of them. Another similarity is that the women saved themselves from being killed. In “Bluebeard”, the wife begged for her life as she waited for her brothers to come and save her. In “Fitcher’s Bird”, the woman saves her sisters and the man is burned alive in his home. The girl saves herself in “Robber Bridegroom” by escaping home to tell her father what had happened. The father sends guards to catch the thief. The difference between the tales is the men. In “Bluebeard”, the man is a rich but ugly man. In “Fitcher’s Bird”, he is a sorcerer. In “Robber Bridegroom”, he is a prince.
These tales are unique and different from any other Grimm tale. They portray the dark
side of marriage. The prince is not the reward or happily ever after. He is not the happy, rich, and loving man that they want. The tales express the idea of marrying a nightmare.
Out of the three tales, my favorite was “Robber Bridegroom”. I liked it because it was so different from the previous Brothers Grimm tales we have read. I liked that there was no magic, which made the tale more realistic and relatable. The prince turned out to be a beast, which is something that we are not used to. My favorite part was the way in which the princess went about telling the bridegroom that she knew his real self. Telling him that she had a “dream” and then showed him the finger was creative and unique.
It was fun to read tales that were different and expressed different ideas and characters then we are used to.