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.


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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.

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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.