Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's the Final Countdown...

After reviewing my posts, I feel like I have grown a lot this semester. I gained new analyzing abilities, learned about themes and motifs in fairy tales, and began to utilize these skills to compare movie adaptations and the original tales. I learned about the start of fairy tales and a lot about German history. I learned new tales to tell my children and I got to see new movies that I enjoyed. One of my favorite parts of the semester was when we got to explore our creative selves and do graffiti on the fairy tales. It really helped me understand and picture different aspects of the tales. I also liked the research paper we were assigned - I wrote mine on Horror Films and Fairy Tales. It was very interesting to see the similarities between horror films that I knew and tales I loved. I loved this class and am very sad to have it end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rapunzel Cartoon Spoof

I found this cartoon very humorous. When I was reading the Grimm's version of "Rapunzel" I actually wondered to myself what type of condition Rapunzel's hair would be in. If she had people climbing on it and yanking it wouldn't it get really damaged? I feel like it would be the same as if someone constantly straighten their hair all the time. Also, in today's society girls are more concerned with their looks over anything else. It's funny that this Rapunzel won't see her prince because she doesn't want split ends.
I think this cartoon is most like the Disney version rather than the original version. In the Disney version the princess isn't saved by a Prince and her savior actually just climbs up the tower himself. That would correspond to this comic because no one climbs up Rapunzel's hair.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Tale of Three Bluebeards

The three tales, “Bluebeard”, “Fitcher’s Bird”, and “The Robber Bridegroom” are similar yet contain many differences. All centralize around the idea of a young girl going with an older man and finding dead people.  At the end of each tale the men die.  In the tale “Bluebeard”, the man has a blue beard, the young girl and blue beard actually get married, and there are numerous Christian motifs. In “Fitcher’s Bird”, a sorcerer comes to the home of three young girls and enchants each one one at a time and brings them home with him in a basket he carries on his back. He kills the first two because they were curious and they dropped their egg in blood. The third tricks him and disguises herself using honey and feathers. In “The Robber Bridegroom”, a robber tricks a girl into thinking he is rich, and when she comes to his house she realizes he’s evil and hides behind a barrel. The robbers bring in a girl, kill her, and chop one of her fingers off to get her ring. The ring lands on the girl’s lap but she eventually escapes with the old lady that helped her. In both “Bluebeard” and “Fitcher’s Bird” the girls are told not to go into a specific room yet they do and they drop an object (a key or an egg) and the object is covered in blood that the girl can’t wash off.
My favorite version of this tale is “Bluebeard”. “Bluebeard” is actually my favorite tale of all time even though it gave me nightmares when I was younger. I enjoyed reading the other tales like it, but “Blue Beard” holds a special place in my heart. I love the idea of the key never being able to be cleaned, and how the young girl’s brothers come and save her. As a child I was most afraid of Blue Beard because, unlike the young girl, I had no older brothers to come save me. If I had married Blue Beard I would’ve been screwed because I am very curious and I have no one to save me. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood

For this assignment we were asked to find a cartoon on Little Red Riding Hood online and as I was scrolling through google this one caught my eye. I thought it was very clever. During this age, we are all about computers and typos are a huge issue. By keeping the classic structure "My what big ______ you have" just makes it more humerous. This cartoon is a social cartoon. This cartoon is clearly not "updated" however. Who uses deskstops anymore and why is the laptop rounded? I like how the artist kept the wolf dressed as the grandmother however. It's nice to see that people still consider old tales like "Little Red Riding Hood" in their comedies these days.

Cartoon courtesy of Mark Parisi,r:17,s:0

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cupid, Psyche, and the Frog King

The tale of “Cupid and Psyche” and the Brothers Grimm’s “The Frog King” are similar and different. “The Frog King” follows the story of a beautiful princess that is playing by a well one day and loses her favorite golden ball. A frog approaches her and tells her that he will fetch her ball if she allows him to eat with her, sleep in her bed with her, and be her companion. The princess agrees, but hastily forgets the frog as she runs home with her ball. The frog knocks on the princess’s door during dinner that night and the king orders the princess to keep her word. The princess obeys all throughout dinner, but when it comes time for the frog and the princess to go to sleep, the princess throws the frog up against the wall in disgust. Then the frog turns into a handsome prince and the two get married and live happily ever after.
The tale of “Cupid and Psyche” is similar in that both the princess and Psyche were the youngest daughters of the King and were extremely beautiful. Another similarity is that both Psyche and the Princess have to complete three trials. For the princess, she lets the frog sit next to her, eat from her plate, and she takes him to her room. Psyche has to sort grain, gather fleece, and obtain beauty. Another similarity is that both of their husbands are in disguise. In “The Frog King”, the prince is disguised as a frog and only the princess can break the spell. In “Cupid and Psyche”, Cupid doesn’t allow Psyche to see him and is thus in disguise.
The tales have many differences however. In “Cupid and Psyche”, Psyche has to complete her three trials because she disobeyed Cupid and took a candle and looked at him. She has to win him back by completing three trials for his mother Venus. The princess obeys her father and has to complete her trials because she promised the frog she would. Another difference is that Cupid poked Psyche and himself (accidentally) with one of his arrows, which ties them together for eternity. In “The Frog King”, a witch had cast a spell on the frog and only the princess could get him out of the well – this is the factor that binds them.
Both stories contain elements of the husband searching for his wife, and the wife waiting for her husband. The theme of Beauty and the Beast is also evident in both, even though is is more of an underlying theme in “Cupid and Psyche”. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Road so Far...

Coming into this class I wanted to learn more about The Brother's Grimm, more about their tales, and I wanted to further explore Disney's movies. So Far I believe I am doing a great job accomplishing those goals. Comparing  Disney's version, the original tale, and Rammestein's version of Snow White was incredible! I got to research the particular theme or motif that interested me, in my case the poisoned apple, and write a scholarly paper about it. I also learned how to find symbols and themes in tales and movies, so now when I watch movies I can pick up on them and it makes my viewing experience much more pleasurable. I absolutely love when we get to "graffiti" about the tales. it really helps to better understand the symbols and themes by drawing them and discussing them. I think the most challenging part of this class will be the midterm - I looked over the study guide and it  looks like I have a lot of studying ahead of me. I'm not a very good test taker to begin with, so this will be extra challenging for me. I am looking forward to our next tale, The Brave Little Tailor, and I am even more excited to start Little Red Riding Hood!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Disney vs The Brother's Grimm: The Battle Continues

The original Brother’s Grimm tale of “Snow White” differs greatly from Disney’s version in many ways. The original version was much more graphic and lacked the romantic side that Disney had. For example, the evil Queen asks the Huntsman to bring back Snow White’s lungs and liver when he kills her so she can eat them. In Disney’s version she just asks the Huntsman to kill Snow White. Another difference is the ending when Snow White is revived from her death-like slumber. In the original version the prince sees her for the first time asleep and carries her coffin away. On the way to his castle one of his men carrying the coffin trip and the bit of poison apple in Snow White’s throat is dislodged and Snow White awakens. It is much more romantic in Disney’s version. In his the prince comes back and finds Snow White asleep. He awakens her with true love’s first kiss.
Even though the versions differed, they still had many aspects in common. In both versions the evil Queen relied on her magic mirror to tell her who was the fairest of them all. Also, in both versions it is the poisoned apple that the Queen gives Snow White that is her downfall. The dwarfs then place her in a golden coffin and stay by her side.
There are two main reasons that Disney made the changes he did. One was that his movie would be directed at children so he took out the really graphic parts. He changed the Queen’s death that was implied instead of actually viewing her dying. Another reason he changed it was because of the time period in which his movie was produced. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” came out during the Great Depression, a time when people needed hope not more sadness in their lives. That is why Disney added the romantic and hopeful ending. It was exactly what the people of the Great Depression needed. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Cinderella Fantasy

Almost every little girl’s dream is to grow up and become a princess. When the little girl turns fifteen and the magic of fairytales fade away she wants to grow up and marry a rich man. She doesn’t want to have to work and wants to live off her husband’s fortune. However, this really only happens once in a blue moon – when was the last time you heard of a poor girl marrying a rich man?
The story of Cinderella has many elements in it that make Cinderella’s story unfathomable. Magic isn’t real - you won’t have a fairy god mother come grant your wish to go to the ball or save you from your tyrannical step mother. It simply isn’t possible.  Gaining riches by marriage is only slightly possible. It’s one of the classic girl-meets-boy story where the girl ends up marrying the boy THEN finding out he has money. It rarely happens where the girl seeks out the boy because he has money. And in reality, the girl is probably middle class and not dirt poor like Cinderella was.
This motif was created to give girls hope. When they have nothing, they want to listen to a story where a girl in their similar situation comes out on top. They want to hear a story where that girl gains everything she wants and desires. The only way to do this though is through magic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grimm vs. MGM

The Grimm tale of “Hansel and Gretel” differs greatly from the MGM version.  In the original version the mother is a stepmother where as in the movie it is their biological mother.  In the movie, the blacksmith gives Hansel two flints which Hansel uses to make a fire the night he spends in the wood. Also the baker gives Gretel cookie crumbs that they end up using to mark their trail back from the berries. In the Grimm tale, Hansel never gets flint, and instead of cookie crumbs Hansel uses pebbles the first time and bread crumbs the second time. In the Grimm version the mother convinces the father that they need to leave the children in the forest to fend for themselves. In the movie the children accidentally let the donkey in the house where he eats all of their mother’s custard. The mother becomes so enraged that she tells Hansel and Gretel to go gather enough berries for everyone and to not bother coming back unless they have them.
Even though the film and the tale differ in many ways, they both have similar features as well. In both the movie and the original Grimm tale the witch puts Hansel in a cage and makes Gretel her slave.  Also in both versions the mother is the one that makes the decision to send the children into the woods.  Lastly, in both versions the witch is killed by being put in an oven.
These changes were necessary so the story would make more sense. For example, because they made the mother their biological mother, they couldn’t use the same method of getting the children to go into the woods. It would seem to mean, and the views would detest the mom. However, because they did they set up the scenario with the donkey and the custard. They made the mom feel remorse when Hansel and Gretel didn’t come back that night, making the viewers sympathetic towards the mother.  Also because of how they get into the woods, they needed to set up the bit where Hansel receives his flint and Gretel gets the cookie crumbs. All the changes were needed to make the story flow. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is a Fairy Tale?

Throughout the years scholars have been trying to find a definition for the term “fairy tale”. Men like the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen have developed a general outline for things that should be included to make a story a fairy tale, and others have built off of said ideas.
To be considered a fairy tale, a story should include a few things. One would be that the story is a narrative; it is told in third person and always has a narrator. The characters should never be telling the story using first person. The story should also contain aspects of magic and be fictional. This would include phenomena like talking animals, witches, warlocks, goblins, orcs, and other magical beings. These magical aspects tend to create a feeling of “beyond reality”, where anything is possible. Fairy tales tend to make children and those who read them use their imaginations, making magical beings like witches and dragons seem plausible.
Fairy tales also stress the importance of the hero versus villain plot line. For example in the Brothers Grimm’s tale “Briar Rose”, the 13th witch is the villain because she puts a curse on Briar Rose, but the Prince is the hero because he ends up saving Briar Rose and awakening her from her slumber. Children also identify with the hero because they too feel like the underdog in most situations. Children feel oppressed by their parents, and are often put into difficult circumstances throughout their lives. It’s nice to have someone to relate to and aspire to be through fairy tales. All little boys want to grow up strong and courageous like princes while all little girls want to be beautiful princesses.
Lastly, fairy tales contain morals and motifs. A moral teaches children lessons and how to overcome obstacles. This links with the concept of children relating to the hero of the story because the hero is normally the one who learns the moral of the tale. Motifs are objects that have a special meaning. This could range from a wide variety of objects, and all tales have them. Again, and example of a motif is the briar patch that grows and covers the castle that Briar Rose is sleeping in. This briar patch is where Briar Rose gets her name.
All of these aspects are essential to creating a fairy tale, and all are necessary if one wants to tell a story full of imagination to teach children valuable life lessons. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why This Class....

My love of Disney movies started at birth and has continued to grow and expand to other children's movies. Just the other day when I was packing my things for college I noticed more than half the movies I was bringing with me were children's movies. So when it came time to choose what First Year Seminar I wanted, From Grimm to Disney was the obvious choice. When I was sad, sick, happy, or bored I would sit down and watch a Disney movie - Disney was my childhood. But now that I'm growing up and leaving for college, it's  nice to be able to hold on to a bit of that childhood by participating in this FYS. I hope to expand my knowledge of the Grimm's Tales, and to further educate myself in the Disney movies so I can enjoy them more. 
My favorite fairy tale is actually one by the Brother's Grimm. Their tale Bluebeard caught my attention when I was younger and I had gotten their book out of the library. At first I thought it was the scariest thing I had ever read, yet I couldn't put it down. It was so captivating and magical. My favorite Disney movie is a three-way tie between Tarzan, The Lion King, and Tangled. Only one of these is really a Grimm tale (almost), but I guess it counts.  Disney movies teach great morals and lessons, lessons that everyone have taken to heart.  It gave those who had nothing something to believe in, and everyone needs that every once and a while.