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.

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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.

Blog #3: Hansel and Gretel: Original Grimm Tale vs. MGM Film Version

The original Grimm tale and the MGM film version exhibit a lot of differences but also similarities. The basic, core plot is mainly the same, while a lot of the little details vary.

Similar

-Poor, starving family

-Mother’s idea to send them away

-Hansel and Gretel use crumbs to mark their path which are eaten by birds

-Evil witch in an edible home

-Witch deceives and feeds them to get their trust

-Witch has bad eyesight

-Gretel forced to cook and Hansel forced to eat

-Hansel sticks out a bone instead of finger

-Husband is the good guy

-Family no longer poor in the end

Differences

Grimm MGM Movie
-Wife orders husband to agree with her to abandon the children in the forest; he is reluctant but does so

-Children overhear this plan and prepare by gathering pebbles and using them to find their way back home the first time

-Once again no food is at home when they return and they are abandoned the second time, with no opportunity to hoard pebbles

After 3 days lost they stumble upon a house of bread and cake and sugar

-Witch arrives, deceives the children that she is kind. She wants to kill, cook, and eat them.

-They eat well that evening and sleep; the next morning the Witch reveals herself and captures Hansel in a small coop

Month passes

-References to God protecting them

-Gretel tricks Witch and she burns to death in the oven

-Find jewels and pearls

-Find their way home alone easily

-Father is happy to see them, mother is dead

– Mother not openly cruel, sends them out of her sight to get berries as they knocked over the gifts of milk and custard

-The Witch’s house has a gingerbread fence; which is actually the other missing children

Witch is discovered to be evil from Gretal overhearing and spying on her that night

-Hansel captured in a cage

-All of this only happens within a day or two

-Father goes into the forest to search for them

-Lots of singing

Witch killed by Gretel getting ahold of her magic staff, rope tieing her up, and dipping her in batter then in the oven.

-Magic is reversed, and the cooked duck comes back alive

-Missing children break out of the gingerbread (Meaning the Witch never planned to eat them??)

-Magic Staff dissolves into gold coins

-Father finds them in the forest and they all go home

Mother is alive and well at home

I believe the differences exist in the movie to appeal to the viewers. Movies are all about pleasing the viewers and making money. The little twists add more interesting detail, like with the missing children trapped in the gingerbread people. This is nowhere to be found in the Grimm tale but it adds a bit more detail and plot points for the viewer to be interested in. Also, the movie is less graphic, as the Witch is not horribly burned to death like in the Grimm tale. This is probably to ensure the film appeals to children. Another big difference is the mother is not as cruel as she is in the Grimm tale; in the movie she is harsh, but she is not blatantly evil. She does not want to abandon her kids so she can eat, she just gets mad at them and sends them away. Overall, all the changes are to appeal to a wider range of viewers and to add more interesting detail.

BLOG #2: Working Definition of a Fairy Tale

One can analyze fairy tales ( or “Märchen”) from a million different perspectives, but it all boils down to one important aspect: magicFairy tales are “narratives of magic and fantasy, which are understood to be fictional” (Zipes, 167). In addition to the overall theme of magic, all fairy tales share many common traits that make them what they are.

  • They will begin with “Once upon a time”, which sets the scene in a world with “no if and no perhaps” (Lüthi, 47). This phrase is ambiguous in exact time settings, yet it gives off a sense of certainty that these events have occurred, and could occur once more (Lüthi, 47). 
  • The fairy tale world is also one of timelessness. As seen in “Sleeping Beauty,” the princess falls asleep for 100 years, and wakes up the same age she was when she fell asleep. This shows the blocks of time passed in fairy tales are merely numbers, not actual impacting truths. Fairy tales “conquer time by ignoring it” (Lüthi, 44). 
  • Another element is characters in isolation; like Sleeping Beauty in her long sleep. But, “after the isolation, a new form of contact and community will follow” (Lüthi, 24).
  • There are no detailed descriptions. Fairy tales stick with illustrating the essential actions to the plot and do not get sidetracked with complicated detail (Lüthi, 50).
  • They are (or can be) forms of myths, as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm “saw in fairy tales remnants of ancient myths” (Lüthi, 23).

All these common characteristics strew hundreds of stories together and connect them under the label of Fairy Tales; plot-driven, magical, fictional tales we’ve all come to know and love.

Bibliography

Lüthi, Max. Once upon a Time: On the Nature of Fairy Tales. Trans. Lee Chadeayne and Paul Gottwald. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1976. Print.

Zipes, Jack. The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World. 2nd ed. N.p.: Mac Higher, n.d. Print.

Picture 1 (MAGIC):