Final Blog

Somehow, my time in this FYS is coming to an end. It’s so surreal that my first semester of college is nearly over. But I am glad to have spent it in the Grimm to Disney FYS.

This has really been a very interesting class. I learned a lot about the Brothers Grimm and their history and lives, which I enjoyed, and which helped me better understand the influences of their tales. Gaining such in-depth knowledge about different analytical viewpoints of the Brothers Grimm tales was a great experience.

As I look over my blogs, I can see the progression of my learning. I improved in articulating my thoughts into clear ideas and analysis of the tales. It was fun and interesting to compare and contrast the tales. From all the comparisons made about various tales, I was able to form a clear picture about how and why Disney changed the tales the way that they did.

Disney made a lot of changes to the tales. I learned that the zeitgeist is a huge factor in this. People want to appeal to large audiences and produce stories that will be very popular. When looking at all the differences in tales like “Hansel and Gretel” or “Rapunzel,” I saw this idea manifest over and over. Reading and discussing all the tales helped me understand Disney’s adaptations. 

I enjoyed reading all the tales and learning about the lives of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. I also enjoyed being able to analyze the tales from all different kinds of viewpoints. This helped to create a fuller interpretation of the tales. Also, it showed that one can interpret tales in many different ways.

Overall, I have learned a great deal from this FYS. I enjoyed the discussion set up of the classroom as well as the oral reports. This was a really great experience and introduction to college.

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Blog #10: Rapunzel and Tangled

The Disney film “Tangled” differs greatly from the original tale, and one can see this just from the change of titles. It’s clear Disney wanted to go their own way with the tale and really add their own spin on it. 

 Main Plot Comparison:

Original “Rapunzel” Tale “Tangled” Disney Film
-Husband steals rapunzel lettuce from a fairy’s garden to fulfill his pregnant wife’s craving

-He is soon caught, and the fairy lets him take as much rapunzel as he wants but he must give her his child

-The fairy names her Rapunzel, and when she turns 12 she locks her away in a high tower

-Rapunzel lets down her long hair when a prince visits her, and at first she is afraid but then they enjoy each other’s company

-Rapunzel accidentally tells the fairy, Mother Gothel, that she is pregnant

-Mother Gothel chops off her hair and banishes her

-She then tricks the prince and he throws himself off the tower; he becomes blind

-After wandering around Rapunzel and the prince find each other, and two tears restore his vision

-Rapunzel is a princess, whom possesses magical qualities due to a magical flower that has healing powers

-Mother Gothel is an old woman who steals Rapunzel to harness her power, which brings back Mother Gothel’s youth when she sings. Rapunzel’s hair glows at the song.

-Rapunzel grows up in a tower thinking Mother Gothel is her mother.

-Flynn Rider, a thief, takes shelter in the tower and Rapunzel is surprised and scared by him

-They go on an adventure to take Rapunzel to see the “floating lights”, and they end up falling in love

-Mother Gothel ends up stabbing Flynn, and re-kidnapping Rapunzel

-Flynn cuts off Rapunzel’s hair so Mother Gothel will die, and then he dies

-Rapunzel cries a single tear over him and he is brought back to life

-She is returned to her true family, and her and Flynn marry and live happily ever after

Disney added their own backstory and adventure, as well as more detail in the romantic subplot of the story. Disney added the entire story with the magical song and youth-restoring hair; none of this is found in the original tale. The core similarities really include; “Rapunzel’s” name, her long hair, and ending up with her “prince.” Mother Gothel is not killed in the original tale, but Rapunzel and her prince still have their happy ending anyway. In this case, Disney adds that violent justice of killing the villain, even though they usually eliminate violence. An interesting detail, however, is the magical element of Rapunzel’s tears. Two tears restore her prince’s vision in the original, and one tear brings back Flynn in the Disney film.

Bluebeard, The Robber Bridegroom, and Fitcher’s Bird

All three tales, “Bluebeard,” “The Robber Bridegroom,” and “Fitcher’s Bird” are very interesting and equally disturbing. They have a few similarities, but the plots and little details are all very different. The actual bluebeard feature is only in “Bluebeard”, but the ugly and evil traits that man possess is in both “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Fitcher’s Bird”. So, the bluebeard is more symbolic in those two. Another critical similarity to highlight is the blood that won’t wipe off the key in “Bluebeard” and on the egg in “The Robber Bridegroom”. Either way, the permanent stain of blood can represent loss of innocence or premature menstruation. I have outlined the plots of all three tales for further comparison below.

All the tales are unique in how they play out. They all hold up the core theme of being “married to a nightmare”, which is important. Also, these tales are pretty much backwards to typical fairy tales. These three tales start with the “happy ending” of marriage and really give a look into marriage, whereas in typical fairytales the stories end with a marriage. Also, one very glum moral in all three tales includes how women should stay out of men’s business. Another moral can be the perils and challenges of marriage in general.

I think my favorite tale is “The Robber Bridegroom”. I liked reading about it for my oral report, so I knew the tale before we had to read it for this lesson. I think it’s very disturbing and violent, and the different editions of it showcases the Brother’s Grimm’s adding of violence. “Fitcher’s Bird” is my least favorite, mainly because it seems sort of random and out there. All the random things like with the skull and decorating herself in honey and feathers are just so odd.

Plot comparisons:

“Bluebeard” “The Robber Bridegroom” “Fitcher’s Bird”
-A man’s blue beard makes him ugly and scary to others

-Mystery of what happened to his previous wives

-Bluebeard throws an extravagant party to get one of the neighbor’s daughters to like him; she does and they marry

-After one month, Bluebeard goes on a trip and leaves his wife with a key he says she is forbidden to use to open the little room

-Wife is overcome with curiosity and unlocks the room, and finds dead women hung all over the walls and the floors covered in blood

-She drops the key and the blood does not wipe off as the key is bewitched

-Bluebeard returns and discovers this and is going to kill his wife, but she begs for time to pray

-He gives her 30 minutes

-Wife calls to her family and her brothers arrive just in time stab Bluebeard dead

-Wife receives all his riches, using it to marry her sister and pay her brothers

-She remarries a good man

-A prince wants his bride-to-be princess to visit his castle

-He ties ribbon on the each tree for her to follow, and eventually she does

-An old woman is at the house and tells the princess the prince wants to kill her and eat her

-The old woman feels pity and tells the princess to hide behind a barrel in the cellar

-The robbers and her bridegroom kidnapped the princess’s’ grandmother and kill her

-One robber cuts off a finger to get a ring but it flies into the princess’s lap

-She escapes and the next day the prince comes over and she tells him what she witnessed (As a dream)

-The robbers and bridegroom are executed

-A thief and sorcerer knocks on a maiden’s door and kidnaps her to be his wife

-He goes on a trip and leaves her with an egg and a key, threatening her not to go into the room it opens

-She does and sees a large basin with butchered people in it; she drops the egg and the blood won’t come off

-The man kills her and marries the second daughter, giving her the same instructions and the same thing occurs

-He marries the third daughter, whom outsmarts him by leaving the egg in a cupboard before going into the room

-She puts her sisters back together and they’re alive

-She covers them in a basket and tells the man to bring it to her parents

-She decorates a skull

-She invites the man’s friends to the wedding

-She dips herself in honey and feathers to disguise herself

-Thinking the skull is his bride the man goes back into the house and the helpers fetched by the sisters burn the house down

Blog #8: Little Red Riding Hood Cartoon

Cartoonist: John Ditchburn

Cartoon published by: INKCINCT cartoons. Their website: 

This is a very simple cartoon at first glance, but it holds a lot of commentary. The themes in “Little Red Riding Hood” can often relate back to things like stranger-danger, innocence, and naivety. These core themes are reflected back in this cartoon. The “in the past” caption shows how the contrasts of good and evil used to be clear-cut. There used to be a clearly innocent, naive child, and the big bad wolf. But now, in current times, things have begun to grow more unclear. More grey areas exist as these “big bad wolf” characters become harder to sniff out. This relates to young women getting entrapped into schemes by typically older men who seem to be good guys…and turn out to really be the bad guys.

It is also clear the innocent Little Red character has been changed into a much older looking girl, with full makeup and dressy outfits. The outfit may typically be considered provocative or “trashy” in our society. The wolf being shown as a person working for the fashion industry is commenting on that industry as a whole and how women are being represented. It can also be more specific towards the manipulation and exploitation of younger girls especially. Young women can become entrapped by the fashion industry and can be taken advantage of. The exploitation of women and girls is a key theme in this cartoon. This is a pretty important social commentary, as this issue is extremely relevant in current times.

I overall found this cartoon shocking and provocative at first, but it does hold a deeper theme and meaning which was interesting to explore and think about. It uses the themes of “Little Red Riding Hood” as a basis for getting their point across.

The Frog King vs. Cupid and Psyche

“Cupid and Psyche” is an interesting tale to compare to “The Frog King” by the Brothers Grimm. “Cupid and Psyche”, just from the title and background clearly feature Greek Mythology. Both stories feature similarities as well as many differences.

Both stories begin introducing the beautiful daughter, whom is only given a name in “Cupid and Psyche”. The overall character of the daughter is similar, as she is described to be the most beautiful and alluring. The daughter is also a princess, and her two sisters are not as beautiful as she. This gives the youngest princess a certain uniqueness and allure to suitors. Differences in the rising action are all in the detail here; the core detail of the princess is introduced, but differences arise in the little things. The golden ball is a detail only found in “The Frog King”, and in “Cupid and Psyche”, the inciting incident is instead about Venus’s jealousy and ordering Cupid.

Venus represents the evil character, who is jealous of Psyche and wants to punish her. Her punishment involves cursing Psyche to have her future husband be a monster. This introduction of a beast/monster occurs in both stories, as the frog in “The Frog King” is the monster there.

Another interesting point of comparison is the parental figures. In “The Frog King”, the king forces the princess to keep her promise to the frog, as it is not very honorable to break one’s promise. And in “Cupid and Psyche”, Psyche’s parents make her go to the mountain and await her fate. In both stories the parents do the right thing, no matter how tough or unlikeable their decision is.

Of course, both stories feature a happy ending. Psyche at last is happily united with Cupid, and they even bear a daughter. And in “The Frog King”, the frog is transformed into a prince and he and the princess marry happily. Both these endings feature rewarding the princess, with her true love and happiness. An interesting difference is that there is no Faithful Henry character in “Cupid and Psyche”, as it is not relevant to that version of the story.

While these are two very different stories, they share a few common motifs and details as mentioned above. They are both interesting to read and compare, and lessons can be learned from both. Perhaps most importantly, they share the common motif of a beast. Both stories are rooted in very different, influential backgrounds, causing the stories to take their own shape and form.

In reference to the pictures featured, all the cupid and psyche pictures are very intimate, sexual, and often feature nudity. I find this interesting, as the frog king pictures are usually just featuring the frog with a crown or non-sexual interaction with the princess. This probably is related to the many sexual overtones and themes that often accompany Greek mythology and tales, whilst the Grimm’s downplayed sexuality more often than not.

Blog #5: Compare and Contrast Snow White

The 1937 Disney film upholds a lot of the key plot elements. Disney tends to add a lot of little details or little changes. As usual, Disney takes away the most graphic details of the original Grimm tales. The Queen’s death is an accident in the movie, but in the Grimm tale she has to brutally dance herself to death. This, among many other changes, are made in order to make the tale their own and to attract a wider range of audiences. Little kids, for example, probably do not want to watch a movie where the Queen is basically tortured to death. But they do want to watch a classic love story with a prince and a princess; the kiss is added in the movie to provide more romance and get people interested. Disney likes to take the original tales and adapt them to their liking, and to gain popular attention. Below, I compare and contrast the plot in more detail in the Grimm tale and the Disney film

Similar

  • “Mirror, Mirror, On the wall…” phrase is the same
  • The Mirror reveals Snow White is fairer than the Queen
  • Queen orders huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her
  • Huntsman lets Snow White go and kills a wild animal instead
  • Snow White is afraid in the forest
  • The cottage is empty; Snow White falls asleep in their beds
  • Dwarf’s are mesmerized by Snow White’s beauty
  • Queen asks the Mirror who is the fairest and she realizes she’s been deceived
  • Snow White is placed in a glass coffin
  • Prince and Snow White marry
  • Queen is punished
Grimm Disney Movie (1937)
-Queen wishes for a child; Little Snow White is her biological daughter
-LITTLE Snow White; she’s young
-Queen orders huntsman to specifically stab Little Snow White to death, and bring back her lungs and liver for her to EAT
-Snow White runs the entire day until she stumbles upon the Dwarf’s cottage
-Cottage is not dirty
-Goldilocks similarities
-Dwarf’s just a function of the plot
-The Queen uses paint to disguise herself
-The Queen attempts to kill Snow White on 3 different occasions: with tight lace, a poisoned comb, and a poisoned apple
-The apple is half poison
-Prince gets the dwarfs to give him Snow White in her coffin
A servant accidentally knocks Snow White and the apple chunk comes out of her throat; she’s alive
-Queen forced to dance in hot iron shoes until she dies
-Snow White is the Queen’s step-daughter
-Prince meets Snow White in the beginning
SNOW WHITE is much older in the film
-Queen gives orders to huntsman to bring back Snow White’s heart in a box
-Many friendly animals comfort Snow White and lead her to the Dwarf’s cottage; the animals play a bigger role in the movie
-Snow White and animals find the cottage dirty and empty so they clean it together
-The 7 little dwarfs are cutesy, and they all have names and personalities
-The Queen makes a magic potion to disguise herself
-The Queen only attempts to kill Snow White once
-Poison Apple is in a spell book; it is to close victim’s eyes in the sleeping death, but True Love’s kiss will cure it
– Snow White prays at the end of the night
– The apple is dipped in the Poison
-Animals continually try to intervene and protect Snow White
-The Queen tells Snow White the apple is a magic wishing apple, one bite and all her dreams come true
-The Queen dies as lightning strikes and she falls off the rocks; it is an accident
-Prince finds Snow White and awakens her with a kiss

Blog #4: Rags to Riches

We are all familiar with the transition of “rags to riches through marriage” in stories and movies (Ruth Bottigheimer). We as the audience tend to love to root for the underdog; we yearn to see the suffering protagonist finally get what they want in the end. Cinderella is a rise tale and  is one of the best examples of this narrative arc. She gains her happy ending and princess-status with the help of a magic tree (or fairy godmother) and her marriage to the prince.

I think while this process works well for Cinderella, it is not the same for real life situations. People reach their goals through their own hard-work, skill, and determination. People often have to use their own wit and skill to get into college, get a job, etc. And as we all know, there is no fairy godmothers or magic trees for people in the real world. We can’t rely on magic to help us out of tough situations. Marriage, however, is another factor that is applicable to the real world rags-to-riches situations.

Many famous icons marry people who perhaps weren’t famous before or weren’t as rich. It is very possible for people to marry into money and power. The Royal Family are a prime example. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, otherwise known as William and Kate, are happily married with two kids. But the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, was not royalty before her marriage to the Duke. Kate’s family was already wealthy, but in the eyes of others she was still a commoner to marry into the Royal Family.

http://media3.popsugar-assets.com/files/2011/04/17/5/192/1922398/426d4aa9Duke and Duchesscb2ffbc4_113266648_10.xxxlarge/i/Prince-William-Kate-Middleton-Wedding-Pictures.jpg 

I believe achieving success through magic or marriage is a complicated ideal. It is plausible that ordinary people marry famous people or even royalty. Marriage can then be an active factor in someone gaining fame, happiness, or wealth. I think that is fairly realistic. Magic, however, is not as applicable in the real world.

In my opinion, I feel it is up to a person’s inner strength and knowledge to help them succeed; we can not always rely on outside forces to swoop in and save us. Therefore, Cinderella remains only as a hopeful story that features the underdog coming out on top; a theme we can all relate to.  Cinderella was very passive though, as things sort of just happened to her and she went along with it. But in reality, more often than not we have to do the work ourselves.