Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final Fairy Tale Blog

     As I come to the end of my my folk/fairy tale class, I have learned so much.  The best way to describe what I have learned is that I now know to "read between the lines".  These tales are so much deeper than just the words on the paper.  There are motifs and meanings hidden within the story.  In my opening blog I mentioned how I was one sided in my views of fairy tales.  Growing up on Disney, I really only knew these animated versions.  One written tale I knew though was that of Little Red Riding Hood.  To be honest, it was difficult for me at first to read these different tales and analyze them.  The idea that there are sexual inferences in these tales sort of corrupted my childhood images of these tales.  As the class continued, I became more accepting of these new tales.  
     I now know, that when I have children of my own, I will have them watch Disney movies, while also reading them other versions, such as the Brothers Grimm.  This class has taught me so much and I would highly recommend it to others.  Dr. Esa did a great job of bringing in guest speakers and organizing the material in a logical way.  
     I really enjoyed the second half of the semester, more-so than the first.  The first was interesting as they were mostly stories of which I know, but the second was even more compelling because it incorporated tales from around the world.  Different cultures amaze me and it is so interesting to me to see how these cultures use tales differently.
(World Mosaics Fairy Tale Logo 3)
     The story, Beauty and the Beast is still my favorite.  After all the tales, this one defeats them all.  The idea of love growing through obstacles is one that I connect with for some reason.  When I think about the story, I still tend to ignore the sexual symbols and “dirtiness” of the language.  I still love the innocence of childhood, and that is something that I will never try to forget, the “inner child” if you will.  This class was a great experience for me.  It taught me to not be so innocent, and also taught me about different cultures through the entertainment of tales. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tales of Bangladesh

 This Thursday it was great to have Dr. Mian present to our class his powerpoint on "Folk and Fairy Tales from Bangladesh".  I have him for Physics this semester, and it was interesting to see him out of his "physics" element.  I really enjoy having him as a professor this semester.  He covered a lot about major characteristics of Bengali tales as well as the geography and terrain of the country and its influence on the tales.  The watercolor pictures he used to display the terrain and culture.  This is different than the other tales which do not specify the geography.  The tales from Germany did have the forest, but there are forests all over the world, so you can not specify the location.  

     This culture prominence is a major difference in the Bengali tales.  Some of these stories also have religious meanings to many people.  As we learned in Tuesday with the Ramayan, which also was mentioned by Dr. Mian in class on Thursday.  Some of these stories are believed to be true by the certain people.  
     Dr. Mian also made a point of “transformation”.  Although transformation was seen in other tales such as “The Beauty and the Beast” and “The Tiger’s Bride”, in these tales a character is transformed, but their identity is not hidden.  In “Neelkamal and Lakamal” the two titled characters were almost “reborn” and took on new names.  
This picture is from a Hindi movie featuring the character Neelkamal, who we read about in Bengali Tales.  This shows that they are interconnected and seen as religious figures and real.

I very much enjoyed Dr. Mian’s presentation.  The tales he told and links to other tales were interesting.  The wicked stepmother is interchangeable with the jealous co-wife.  Food is also a major part of these tales, such as the magical rice bowl, which was not seen in other tales.  These characters are all representative of the culture of Bangladesh.  
Dr. Esa, I would like to thank you again for having us at your home.  The cookies were delicious and thankyou for the gift.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arabic Folktales

     This week, Professor Zaru came to speak to the class regarding Arabic Folktales.  From the beginning I realized that I had some misconceptions about exactly what countries were included in  the Arab world.  I was in the rough ballpark, but included some countries of which did not belong, as well as exclude some that did.  

     It was very interesting to see the connections of Professor Zaru's lecture with the lecture of Dr. Ochieng' K'Olewe's presentation last week on story telling in Kenya.  There were a lot af parallels between the two cultures.  Kenya, where Dr. K'Olewe is from borders two Arab countries, Sudan and Somalia.  This may be a reason for so many similarities.  In both of these places, the Arab world and Kenya, story telling is an art.  It is a tradition that is used as entertainment, insight, and to get a moral across.  

     I enjoyed when Professor Zaru talked about the magic carpet.  It is an item of which now that I think about, is very prominent in culture, even today.  It made me think of Vivien Deitz's presentation in which she talked about the magic lamp, and we had to imagine taking a magic carpet.  It is such a prominent part of culture.  There is a great song by Stepponwolf called "Magic Carpet Ride" .  
     This cartoon pokes fun at the American culture.  I think it is so funny because it mocks the fact that Americans use cheap linoleum in their homes rather than beautiful rugs.  It is just a witty cartoon.  Professor Zaru's presentation was very informative, leaving me with much more knowledge than I had entered with.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Story Telling Tradition from Kenya

     This week we had a presenter who I really enjoyed, Dr. Ochieng' K'Olewe.  It was great to have that storytelling experience in class.  Dr. K'Olewe was kind enough to share a handful of stories with the class, and even involve us through song!  I greatly enjoyed how he used the different stories to make his points of  importance: 
1) Entertainment (use of song)
2) Values, beliefs, rules, taboos
3) Morality
4) Wit
5) Understanding Phenomenon

     It was great to see how he used the audience and setting to make the best of his stories.  By turning the lights off and getting the audience involved through song made the stories even better.  The drum pictured above is one very similar to the one that Dr. K'Olewe used when we sang.  It really made a difference in helping me really paying attention to the stories and made the whole experience better.  I loved all the stories, and the goofy endings they all had.  The reasonings for the phenomenon were so funny, the tortoise shell, the ostrich neck, the rabbit ears, and others!

     The tale I liked the best was probably the one about how the tortoise got the pattern on its shell.  I thought it was a great way of explaining the back of a tortoise, something I never thought much into.  It displayed entertainment, values, morals, wit, and the understanding of a phenomenon.  The wit of the tortoise I found most entertaining.  The fact that he changed his name to, "all of you" was so witty and funny.  
     I also thought the riddles that Dr. K'Olewe told the class.  I found a website with some Kenyan Riddles, of which I thought were very funny.
The one I like the best is:

I have travelled with one who never tells me to rest                                         
Answer: My shadow

     All in all, Dr. K'Olewe was a great presenter, one of whom I will never forget.  It was just so entertaining and intrigued me to find other stories told in a similar fashion through youtube, but none matched the live tales of Dr. K'Olewe.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Presentation by Dr. Johnson-Ross

     This Thursday we had the pleasure of having Dr. Johnson-Ross present on the African American Storytelling Tradition.  The presentation left me feeling as though I did not know enough about American history as I should.  The Brownies Book was a publication of which I have never heard.   In learning more about this I began to think that I did not know much about a major part of American History.  I greatly enjoyed her presentation and the history of how folk tales were used in the African American culture.

     I was more expecting her presentation to focus on actual tales of which were prominent in African American culture, but it was much more interesting than that.  It was so interesting to learn how The Brownies Book used folk tales, games, and songs from around the world to help African Americans with the great segregation in America.  By sharing knowledge with each other in the African American community through publications such as this as well as among neighbors.
     These stories are unique in that all the stories that we read were featured around animals as characters unlike the European tales in which humans were the characters.  This may be, for one major reason, that animals are not discriminated by color, but they are just whatever animal they are.  There is no distinction of the frogs in, "How Mr. Crocodile Got His Rough Back" being of different races.  But rather, they all work together and trick the greater beast, being the crocodile.

     One thing that Dr. Johnson-Ross made a point of was the cover of The Brownies Book.  It was something that I initially disregarded as being relatively unimportant.  But after she pointed it out, I realized that the cover makes such a huge statement.  A statement that can not go unnoticed.  This cover that I found from January 1920 is representative of that.  It depicts a young African American woman wearing white and she looks just so happy.  It is showing that the future does bring happiness and unity. I greatly enjoyed her speech and hope to learn more about a part of history which lacked in my textbooks.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rise Tails...A Reality or Fairy Tale Magic?

     For me, rise tales are hard to find in reality.  These rag to riches stories have many characteristics to them.  There is the character who, like Cinderella, is of a low class, possibly mistreated, and has a life changing experience that makes her life significantly better.  Cinderella meets a prince, and soon marries him and becomes instantly wealthy.  As I searched for real life rags to riches stories, they are difficult to find.  Many of the results are athletes, actors, and singers of whom all worked hard and used their own talents to get to where they are.  These people I would not categorize as a rise, rag to riches, tale.

     The above is a link to the "Top 10 Rags to Riches Stories".  I will agree that they do go from rags to riches, but not what I would characterize as a great rise tale like Cinderella.  All of these people worked hard to get to where they are today.  None of these people earned their wealth over night, but persisted to make their lives better.

     Here I attached a great song by Tony Bennett titled "Rags to Riches".  He is singing that he will be a king in his heart once he has this special girl to whom he is singing.  It gives a different view on this common phrase.  Riches is not in the wealth that one has, but the love and happiness that they have.

     The one rags to riches story I can think of is an old television show, "The Beverley Hillbillies". It is a story of a poor family that found oil on their land, and moved to Beverley Hills with their new fortune.  I still watch the show when I find it on television.  It always makes me laugh, as it is a great rag to riches story which pokes fun at the idea that the people who go to riches adjust automatically.  In this case, they do not.  They greatly enjoy their new money, but do not fit into their new society, which makes the show so comical.
     The other day my mom was actually telling me about a show she saw on T.V. about lottery winners.  The one man was homeless, living on the street, when he won the lottery.  One would expect him to go buy a house, but rather, he lives in a motel.  It was such a big difference and change, that he doesn't even know how to spend the money.  It can be a great change to win the lottery, or strike oil, but also difficult.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Midterm "Folktale and Art"

My Folktale:
     Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl named Pearl.  She had a stepmother of   whom was jealous of her beauty and adoration by her father.  One day, the wicked stepmother took Pearl out into the woods to help collect berries, but abandoned her there.  Pearl, in her innocence, was terrified, but relieved when she met a bear.  This bear seemed pleasant enough, and offered to point her in the right direction.  She followed his direction, but the path he sent her on led her right to the bears home, where he was waiting with a pot on boil. 

     Pearl enters the home that was radiating the smell of freshly baked bread.  She is so hungry, she does not even notice the bear fixing up the pot and staring at her, mouth watering.  Just as Pearl is about to get thrown into the pot, she sees a spear and kills the bear with his own weapon.  Pearl ran off into the woods, jumping at every noise.  In the darkness, she ran into a tree.  The tree moaned and creaked, but seeing her distress, dropped a golden apple from its branches for the girl.   Then came a white dove out of the tree.  The lovely bird flew towards the castle of the King.  Pearl willingly followed with the golden apple.  

     As Pearl arrives at the castle, she meets with the King, telling the tale of her abandonment and of the bear.  The King is very intrigued by the story, but sees a glistening item in her pocket.  Angry because he thought her a thief, demanded she show what she had taken.  She revealed the golden apple to everyone's astonishment.  This apple was a magical token bestowed upon her by the tree of giving, something that only happens to the purest of heart.

The golden apple, and all that it symbolized, resulted in the King giving Pearl his son’s hand in marriage.  Her and her husband had a beautiful rose garden, and come spring, along with the flowers bloom, Pearl became pregnant and later had a beautiful son.  After some time, the story of Pearl’s pureness reached the evil stepmother.  Her jealously returned in full rage.  She went to the giving tree, hoping that she would receive a pure apple, but instead, the tree dropped a millstone on her head, killing her.


(Click to Enlarge)
The image that stuck out to me the most was one from, “The Tiger’s Bride”.  Beauty and the Beast has always been one of of my favorite tales, and this version was anything but the innocent tale that I always remembered from my childhood.  It may be that I am shy and conservative in the way I dress and behave, but it shocked me that the Tiger’s bride revealed herself out in the woods next to a river.  

     Even though revealing, the scene depicts bareness and trust.  It is at this moment that the Beauty, the Tiger’s Bride, opens herself up to the Beast, after he does the same.  It is such a tranquil and peaceful moment where they trusted each other and felt safe. This scene stood out most to me, firstly because of the shock, but then also due to  peace they felt with each other, and no judgement being passed amongst them.

(Click to Enlarge)

This is my "graffiti"of "Little Thumbling".  I really enjoyed the story and his journey (depicted by the boots) and chose to depict this journey through my picture.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

ASL Presentation

I really enjoyed the presentation on ASL  Storytelling by Dr. Rust and Dr. Rose.  It amazed me that American Sign Language became an accepted language in 1996.  That was about 14 years ago.  For a language that is so developed, it is strange to imagine that it was not an official language prior to ’96.  The background on ASL was very interesting to me, as I never knew or understood that ASL was its own language, with a different grammar style, and does not translate word for word into English.  
The stories and tales that the two professors told were incredibly interesting and vivid, especially lacking the spoken word.  They were more vivid than the spoken word in many ways.  The stories had so much movement and emotion.  It was very interesting to see the different view points (sky view, ground view, pan view).  It would take many words to describe a scene that Dr. Rust and Dr. Rose showed in their approximately 2 minute stories.  The story about the baby getting spiked by the football player was one that I have heard but the ASL version was much more interesting and vivid.  

I also really enjoyed the ABC and number stories.  They were so interesting because they were telling stories, not using their hands to sign words, but their motions and movements to depict characters in a story.  Here is another ABC story that I have found depicting a shoot out between two cowboys.  
Here is another one that I found when the man is depicting a chess match.
I found it quite funny that the deaf community, and many ASL stories crack jokes and make fun of those who can hear.  It was funny as many who can hear see the deaf as having a disability, while the deaf make jokes about how hearing is a disability at times.  I enjoyed the story about the hitchhiker as it poked some fun that the deaf can get away with some things that others can not.  

(Gallaudet University Seal)
It was so interesting to hear information about Gallaudet University during the presentation.  Last season, we had a softball game at Gallaudet University and it was amazing how they communicated during the game.  It was difficult for them to communicate during plays, but it was interesting to see.  I am very excited to play them against this season here at McDaniel!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hansel and Gretel at the Zoo

     On Monday over Fall Break, my mom, Leigh, and I took a day trip to the D.C. Zoo.  They were decorating for halloween and right in the entrance was this Hansel and Gretel decor!  We immediately took out our camera and shot two pictures.  The other one of which is on Leigh's blog.  It was a very well done scene, it seemed that it was depicting the Brother's Grimm version, as Hansel is in lederhosen (characteristic German garb), and the witch in the doorway welcoming them inside of cottage made of sweets.  It was exciting to see this display, especially at the National Zoo, as I would never have expected to see a fairy tale display there!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Imagination...Vivien Deitz Presentation

This past Thursday, I was lucky to attend Vivien Deitz’s presentation, “Imagination: The Playground of Fairy Tales”.  I found her presentation to be very interesting.  I have to say that it was very different than I was expecting.  It seemed that it was going to be more of a breakdown of the two fairy tales, “Aladdin and the Magic  Lamp” and “The Velveteen Rabbit”.  But, the presentation was actually much more interesting than a simple synopsis of the tales. 

She introduced a new word to me in her presentation: Shamanism.  Her psychotherapy outlook on fairy tales brought me a new outlook on fairy tales that we have read.  Her somatic guide imagery was something very new to me.  At first when she asked us to close our eyes and imagine ourselves going to pick up our shamanic inner child, I thought…”This is crazy”.  But, I did give it a shot, and found it to be beneficial in understanding the tales she then went on to break down into symbols and motifs. 
She did speak about how great the years 8 and younger are great years, where everything seems real.  Although I never had an imaginary friend as she did, I do understand exactly what she was talking about.  That innocence and belief that everything was real was great.  I never had a feeling of doubt, if I thought I saw it, it was real.  There was one year where on Christmas Eve I thought I say Santa and his reindeer flying around the street, and I swore by it.  No one could convince me that I saw otherwise, and I still hear about it till this day, “Do you remember when you told everyone you saw Santa…”.

I really enjoyed her retelling of the two stories, “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” and “The Velveteen Rabbit”, as they seemed to come to life.  She pointed out a lot of symbolism throughout the stories, specifically colors, which often are overlooked as being unimportant.  The emotions felt by the characters are another point she made an effort to point out.  Deitz made the stories more connectable through the listener (me) gaining a better relationship with the characters through a better connection.
Vivien Deitz’s presentation resulted in me now really opening up my imagination when reading these fairy tales.    

Rammstein vs. Snow White

Youtube Link for "Sonne" by Rammstein
The song “Sonne” by Rammstein uses many motifs from the Snow White stories that we read in class this week, yet it also varies in many ways.  Throughout all of the versions of Snow White that we read in class this week, Snow White was depicted as passive and innocent.  She was a tortured girl by a stepmother or aunt who found safety when sent out into the woods.  In this music video, she appears to be the absolute opposite.  Rather than exhausted and in need of refuge, she enters the dwarves home and takes charge.    It is apparent that the dwarves all idolize her for her beauty and continually give her what she wants, but in return she is harsh.  When she first enters, they give her gold, and she hits one with it, and later spanks them. 
The song makes Snow White out to be a terrible person.  She abuses the dwarves and takes advantage of them, as well as doing drugs (gold).  In the stories, Snow White is killed by an evil character, but in this video, she is killed by her own evil characteristics.  In the video, there is no prince to rescue her from her death, but an apple that falls.

Disney Depiction of Snow White: Snow White takes care of the Dwarves
There are also many similarities in the motifs in the folktales we read as well as “Sonne”.  The dwarve in “Snow White” by the Grimms and the video were miners.  The video also takes two of the motifs for the attempted killing of Snow White.  In “Snow White” by the Grimm’s, the wicked stepmother tried to kill Snow White three times, once with lace, once with a poisoned comb, and once with an apple.  The comb and apple made appearances in the video, but there was no sign of lace.  Although no lace, Snow White did fix her stockings, which may have been hinting at the lace.  There was also a glass or crystal coffin that entombed Snow White after her death and she was placed on top of a mountain to be mourned by the dwarves.

Snow White accepting the apple which kills her
In the end of the video, it was an apple that saved Snow White, rather than kills her as in the Grimm’s version.  As she lay dead, an apple fell from the tree, breaking the glass/crystal coffin, and she catches it.  The video is very relatable to the folktale versions we have read in class, yet very different through the evilness of Snow White. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

“Cupid and Psyche” vs “The Tiger’s Bride”

Both “Cupid and Psyche” and “The Tiger’s Bride” are versions of AT 425: Search for the Lost Husband.   They both entail a beautiful girl, who, in the end, is transformed into the form of her lover.  In “The Tiger’s Bride”, the heroine is transformed by the Tiger King into a woman of tiger form, while Psyche is transformed in the conclusion into an immortal by Cupid.  

The Beast in each story, both Cupid and the Tiger King, choose to conceal their image.  It is the the Tiger’s Bride who convinces the Tiger King to reveal himself out of curiosity as well as a fear from not wanting to show her virgin body to a terrifying beast.  On the other hand, Psyche is content with her loving and caring husband, but her evil and jealous sisters convince her that she is married to a horrible beast who will kill her after a certain time.  

Both of the beauties go on their own journey’s to win the “Beast”.  Psyche goes and tries to win Cupid back through his jealous mother Venus.  The Tiger’s Bride does not have a journey that is similar to Psyche, but has a journey through her own emotions in which she has to make a decision to stay with the Tiger King and goes and re-reveals herself to him after giving permission to leave the castle.

“The Tiger’s Bride” is a more recent tale, written in 1993 by Angela Carter, and based of off an  Italian poem.  “Cupid and Psyche” on the other hand is an ancient greek tale.  Even though they are so far apart in culture and time, they are similar in their motifs although they vary in certain characteristics.  The Greek tale deals with the deities and immortality, while Carter’s tale is very risque and revealing in comparison. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood: A Forever Interpreted Story

There are so many different versions, adaptations, and parodies of Little Red Riding Hood.  It is amazing how the story has traveled through the centuries.  When I was younger I never thought much into some of the ridiculous aspects of a the fairy tale that I do today, and see through different cartoons and videos.  

I found this print cartoon to be very funny.  The cartoon is a social cartoon which pokes fun at how things are seen to be easier for younger generations.  It relates Little Red Riding Hood, the story we all know, to another situation we also are all familiar with.  Everyone has a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, or elderly figure who at one point makes a comment about how much easier things are nowadays.  I am familiar with hearing, “I used to have to use books for schoolwork, not the internet”, or “I never had a cellphone”.  This cartoon brings back that familiarity with the idea of frozen foods and how available it is to get a good meal without the time and effort.
I also found a great video about Little Red Riding Hood.  When I was young, I really enjoyed the muppets as well as Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.  This video incorporates both of these into one skit.  The moral of Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood” is that children, specifically ladies, should be careful of who they talk to, and the gentle ones are usually the most dangerous.  The moral of this Sesame Street clip is that if you want to stay healthy or get better from being sick, cookies will not do the trick...but rather healthy, nutritious foods.
What is great about this video, is it has so many characteristics of the original story, yet it is so different.  Little Red Riding Hood brings goodies to her grandmother to make her feel better, the contents of the basket, though are more characteristic of the Cookie Monster.  Kermit as the reporter also brings a new aspect to the story.  The main aspect of the story that changed was the wolf.  In the versions of Little Red Riding Hood that we read, all of the Little Red Riding Hood characters showed no fear when confronted by the wolf in the woods.  But in the end, the wolf turned out to be villainous.  This Sesame Street version, on the other hand is the complete opposite.  The Cookie Monster was scared of the wolf, as well as Kermit when the wolf answered the door.  While in fact, the wolf was the doctor who was helping the sickly grandmother.
Both the cartoon, and the video clip were hilarious to me.  They both brought forth a more relatable aspect of the story for younger generations.  It brings out my curiosity of other versions and parodies of other fairy tales.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Psychi of Fairy Tales

I have never thought of psychoanalyzing fairy tales, but fairy tales work well with psychology.  For a form of art that has a “depthlesness”, these stories have such depth from a psychological standpoint. 
This Tuesday, Dr. Mazeroff, a psychology professor here at McDaniel, gave the class a very interesting presentation, and myself, a new perspective on fairy tales.  It was my first time being exposed to psychology, having never learned much about it before.  He detailed Freudian and Jungian theories and how they both can be be applied to folk tales.  The Id, Ego, and Superego can be applied to all tales, be it specific instances or actions by a character.  Dr. Mazeroff’s explanation of Freud’s theories and applications to these tales surprised me.  The sexual connotations, innuendos, and psychosexual stage theory that Dr. Mazeroff pointed out, and the Freudian theories of such connotations in these tales was a view I did not expect.  Maybe it was my naiveness or that I ‘turned the other cheek’, but I never thought about fairy tales in this light before. 
Jung’s ideas, on the other hand, I was more familiar with.  Archetypes and symbols are things that I have learned to watch for in literature, but never applied this investigation to fairy tales.  Jungian’s basic archetypes are ones that can be seen in most tales, be it the evil stepmother or the trickster.  The Jungian concept of the hero’s journey, which Dr. Mazeroff described, seemed consistent with as many tales that come to my mind.  In Hansel and Gretel, the two children start off as normal, they go on a journey, deny it the first time by returning home, but the second have no choice but to take the journey, and in the end succeed in killing the evil witch and taking her riches, then returning to their ordinary world, richer and happier.
It was very interesting to me to have Dr. Mazeroff break down Hansel and Gretel through his background in psychology for a tale that when I read it, I read it mainly as is.    As I continue through the course and continue to read more tales, I will attempt to apply some of the Freudian and Jungian theories and concepts in my analyzation of these tales.
As a side note...This is a video from one of my favorite television shows.  The show is a comedy about a pair of friends from New Zealand trying to succeed in New York as musicians.  It is a joking clip making fun of television in New Zealand, but I found it similar to folk tales.  It pokes fun at folk tales, and the unrealistic qualities that we tend to ignore.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fairy Tales: A Running Definition

     After this week’s preparation to our soon reading of fairy tales, I gained a great deal of knowledge and background on the structure, format, and motifs of these tales.  A lot of the information seems so apparent now as I look back on fairy tales that I know but a lot of the characteristics I have never noticed or payed much attention to in the past.  So today, I am going to try to write a rough definition of what a fairy tale is...

     A fairy tale originally was an orally told story, most of which are now written, but the origins of them are unknown.  Fairy Tales have their own distinct formula, different from any other literary work.  These tales are “timeless”, and not just in the way that they have been around for ages.  These tales have no distinct time, and can be adapted to any century as many have.  For example, there are countless adaptations of Cinderella, where the stepdaughter ends up with the high school quarterback or celebrity.  The stories themselves have no timeline as seen in Sleeping Beauty, where she sleeps for 100 years, yet is awakened as if it had been only a day.  
     These tales also have a “depthlessness”, “one-dimensionality”, and “isolationism” qualities.  The characters and settings are as simple as possible.  Details are only added if necessary to the plot.  There is no depth or dimension to the story lines.  A castle in a folk tale can be any castle you imagine it to be, it leaves room for the imagination.  The characters are isolated as they do not have any relationships to people or time.  Folk Tale characters fail to learn from mistakes that they, or others make.  This allows for the purest and morally right character to do the right thing, rather than a villainous character become victorious.
     Folk tales have such precision in them unlike any other literature, yet they go unquestioned.  It is not coincidence that things happen at a specific moment, but precision.  For example, maybe a magical gift will make itself known at the precise moment it is needed.  Normally someone reading this would say, “really, what are the chances of that!”  This is the style in which fairy tales are written.
     Fairy Tales are old tales and folklore passed down for ages, the originators unknown.  They are their own specific art form, that allows the imagination to grow by reading and hearing them.  The stories can be changed and tweaked in order to suit one’s preferences unlike other literature that is published and copyrighted.  I look forward to reading some of these tales, ones I know and ones I do not to put this definition to the test!

Fairy Tales Come To Life, This Artist Gave Used Their Imagination to Bring Books to Life!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Fairytales...?

Entering my sophomore year, I was basically looking for a class to cover requirements.  That is when I found this class!  It is very intriguing to me to learn about different folktales and similarities and differences amongst them.  Growing up I have always loved children’s stories and movies, but have only heard one version of most of them.  For example, some time in elementary school, I remember reading the story, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”.  This story just blew my mind!  I could not imagine the way I heard the story up to then was not right...the whole time, of course I knew it was fictional, but it still seemed so real.  It made me think, are all the stories I know not real? This really intrigued me to take the class as it will hopefully bring new perspectives to the stories I know and love from my childhood. 
“The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” Wikipedia Page with Short Summary
I am hoping through this class to gain an understanding of many fairytales I know and the histories and versions of them.  Currently, I feel one-sided in my knowledge of these stories, but in reality, there are many sides to a story, such as “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” and I am hoping to learn them.
My favorite fairy tale of all time is probably “The Beauty and the Beast”.  When I was young I always loved the Disney version of the story, not having heard other versions.  It  teaches that there is more to someone than first appearance and impression, and doing what is expected of you may not always be right.  By not marrying the egotistical local hero in the town, Belle, the heroine, breaks the code of what others have done before and what they expect of her.  She is heroic in taking her father’s place as prisoner to the Beast, and eventually, falls in love with him.  It taught me many lessons growing up, to be brave, selfless, and understanding of people’s differences as first impressions and appearance are not completely defining of a person.