Having Grimm to Disney be my first year seminar class was truly a great experience. I loved meeting and becoming friends with everyone in the class and learning and growing together.
In terms of the classroom discussions, I loved reading the original Grimm tales of the stories that our generation only knows as a Disney tale. It was very interesting to read the originals and find the differences but also find the similarities that they each have to the Disney films and also the similarities that they each have to some known biblical stories. I was fascinated when I read the original story of Sleeping Beauty because it was very much like the story of the death and rebirth of Jesus. Growing up in a family who has strong beliefs about the Lord and of God, I made the connection immediately.
As I reread my past blogs, I can see an improvement in the way I would talk about the story that we were reading and learning about that week. I can see how my knowledge of fairy tales have changed in a positive way. I know that my professor has said all semester that besides learning about the tales, this goal of this class is to improve our understanding, thinking, and writing skills because we have not peaked yet in terms of those skill levels or else we would not need to be here. I always enjoyed our time in class and discussions of the tales. I will definitely not watch those Disney movies with the same innocent interpretations as I did before coming here ever again. Overall, I would not want my first year seminar class to be anything other than Grimm to Disney and would not have wanted to share my experiences and growth with any other group of people.
When looking at the Grimm tale “Rapunzel” and the new Disney film “Tangled”, there are very obvious similarities between the two stories. The first similarity is the main plot about Rapunzel being locked away in a tall tower with her new mother who is actually an old woman who took Rapunzel when she was young.
Other similarities are that Rapunzel has very long hair and that she has magical healing powers. However, in the Grimm story, no one is aware that Rapunzel has magical powers until the moment when she heals the prince’s blindness. The prince becomes blind after the sorceress scares him out of the tower window and he falls into thorns that pierce his eyes and make him blind.
In Disney’s Tangled, Flynn Rider, who is not a prince but a wanted thief, does not go blind. Instead, Flynn is stabbed by Rapunzel’s mother figure. Rapunzel would normally use her magical hair to heal any wounds but it does not work in this case. However, she begins to cry and the tear rolls down to Flynn’s wound and heals him, just as her tears heal his blindness in Rapunzel.
There are also differences between the two versions of Rapunzel. A first difference is the fact that Rapunzel’s birth mother willingly gives her up to the sorceress because while she is pregnant with Rapunzel, she is craving the Rapunzel lettuce that the sorceress has in her garden next door. On the other hand, in Tangled Rapunzel is taken by the old woman (mother Gothel) because she wants to use her magical hair to keep herself looking young. Rapunzel is also not a princess in the book but in the movie she is the lost princess.
Another difference between the book and the movie is that in the movie, Rapunzel is able to escape from her tower and experience the world and meet new people, while in the book she only knows the prince and the sorceress.
The most important similarity between the two versions is that Rapunzel is able to heal the man that she loves and they both live happily ever after together.
While reading the three seperate stories Bluebeard, Fitcher’s Bird, and The Robber Bridegroom, we can see that the main storyline is similar in all three. All of the stories tell of a woman who is planning to marry a man that she thinks is a good man. The woman does not know that the man in each story is actually a terrible person. The men in each story plan on killing their bride by luring them into a room where he plans to follow through with killing her in a unique way. The man in Bluebeard kills the bride by slitting her throat, the character in Fitcher’s Bird wants to chop her into pieces, and in The Robber Bridegroom wants to cook and eat the woman. Each of these men share the characteristic of a criminal due to the murder that they each commit on the women in the three stories.
It is difficult picking which of the three is my favorite story because they are all pretty disturbing tales. However, I would have to say that Fitcher’s Bird was my favorite because it was the most interesting story to read overall. My least favorite tale of the three would probably be bluebeard because I felt like Bluebeard came off more creepy than the other men in the stories. Although the men in the other two tales were evil and obviously something had to be wrong with them mentally that would make them want to kill these women, I felt like Bluebeard was more creepy.
The cartoon that I found was the same story as the original fairy tale. The only difference was that it was more kid-friendly in order for it to be viewed by anyone. I could tell that it was more kid-friendly because of the fact that it was a cartoon and also because the narrator’s voice was the same tone that one would use to speak to younger children. Since the film was made for everyone to be able to view, it is a social film. There was no form of anything that would prove the video clip to be a political film.
I enjoyed this small clip because when Little Red’s mother is telling her directions to her grandmother’s house, she says “don’t talk to strangers”. The cartoonist made sure to emphasize the motif of the story, which is to not talk to strangers. It then shows Little Red Riding Hood meeting the wolf and she defies her mother by talking to him even though he is a stranger. She is easily lured into his trickery by picking flowers and straying from her path to her grandmother’s house.
In the clip, we can see Little Red is very oblivious and naive. It was only moments before she arrived to her grandmother’s house that she encountered the wolf. Yet, when she arrives at the house she has no idea that the person lying in her grandmother’s bed is not her grandmother, but it is the wolf she saw just a moment before getting to the house. It is also shown because of the fact that she does not know what her own grandmother is supposed to look like. Her being naive is also emphasized in the clip because in this video she has to ask the wolf twice “why is your mouth so big?” even though he told her the first time that it was so he could eat her up. Overall I think the cartoonist did very well at explaining the importance of not talking to strangers.
Kid Saga TV
The Frog King by the Grimm brothers and the story of Lucius Apuleius are very different from one another. The Frog King tells of a young princess who meets a frog when she loses her golden ball in a well. The frog agrees to retrieve the ball for the girl, but only if she promises to give up her companionship and be with him. Although she agrees to this, when he gets her the ball the princess runs away, breaking her promise to the frog. Later, the frog finds the princess and her father makes her stay true to her promise to the frog king. Out of rage, she throws the frog against her bedroom wall and he falls onto her bed. However, when he hits the wall, he is transformed into his human form again and the princess agrees to marry him now. After he is transformed, his servant is free of the iron bands that were wrapped around his heart.
The story of Lucius Apuleius tells the tale of another beautiful princess. However, the princess is punished for her beauty because Venus is jealous of her. Venus sends her son, Cupid to cause her pain with his arrow, but he cannot do so and instead gives her happiness. She is called to the top of the mountain where she ends up marrying someone whom she does not know beforehand. Once she is married she is the opportunity to wish for anything she wants. She wishes to see what her husband looks like; but he does not want to show her because he is afraid that she will think that he is ugly and will be afraid of him. In the end, Psyche calls upon Cupid to come help her and he does so and saves Psyche.
Although the stories are completely different, mostly because of their time differences and amount of creativity, they share a similar message. Each of the princesses in the two stories meets someone who they are not familiar with and they seem disgusted with at first. In the end they up falling in love with someone who they judged when they first met them.
The 1937 Disney film of Snow White shares the same main idea and plot as the original Grimm tale. The main plot of the story is that Snow White is living with a mother figure whom becomes jealous of Snow White’s beauty. Out of jealousy, she spends her days trying to kill Snow White so that the Queen may once again become the fairest of them all. Of course, there is the other main idea of love in the Disney version that helps the story end in the famous “happily ever after”. Similar to most, if not all of Disney’s revisions of the stories, he makes slight changes throughout the movie to make it appropriate for children to watch. In the Disney version, the Queen is still killed, but it is caused by her trying to kill the seven dwarfs. Although death in a Disney movie is still violent for children, it is not as bad when it is an accident like her falling off the cliff because it gives the kids a sense of victory that the evil witch has been destroyed. In the Grimm story the Queen is forced to dance herself to death which would portray a bad message to the younger viewers if Disney were to keep that in his film. Walt Disney makes the tales into cartoons and takes out graphic violence of the story in order for the movie to be seen and enjoyed by people of any age.
|· The Queen uses the mirror to find out that Snow White is fairer than her.
· Queen orders the huntsmen to kill Snow White and he does not do so.
· Snow White runs through the forest to escape from the Queen.
· Snow White finds the dwarf’s cottage.
· Seven dwarfs like Snow White as soon as they see how beautiful she is.
· The poison apple is the cause of her “death”.
· The dwarfs put her in a glass coffin.
· The Queen dies.
· The prince and Snow White get married and live happily ever after.
||1937 Disney Version
|· Snow White is younger.
· Queen tells the huntsmen to bring back her liver and lungs after he kills her to eat them.
· Snow White takes longer to find the cottage.
· Queen does not have magic to use for her disguises.
· The Queen has to try 3 different ways to kill Snow White before she dies.
· The prince buys Snow White in the coffin as if she were a “thing”.
· She regurgitates the apple and is alive.
· Queen is forced to kill herself.
|· Snow White is a bit older.
· The Queen wants Snow Whites heart as proof she is dead.
· Snow White finds the cottage within one day.
· There are animals that appear to understand her and do human-like activities (helping her clean).
· The Queen uses magic.
· The dwarfs’ names are their personalities.
· Queen only uses poison apple to kill Snow White.
· Snow White never regurgitates apple, but is woken with a kiss from the prince.
· Queen dies on accident.
The idea of “rags to riches” is used in many known fairy tales. The story often begins with a female character whom may be poor, or even living in middle class, and meets the male character who is in a higher class than others or often royalty. Fairy tales tend to use this story line as a way of grasping the reader or viewer’s attention and keeping it until the very end when we finally find out if the fair maiden does in fact get rescued by the prince or if Cinderella gets to prove the glass slipper is hers. Although it would be nice if we all had our own fairy godmothers to help us achieve the dream of rags to riches in real life, we know that is not possible through magic. Even though some people may have someone in their life that acts as a fairy godmother because they get everything handed to them, the reality of it is the work that you put towards something to achieve a goal. For example, in order to get hired for a job, you must present a resume and go through an interview to prove to the company that you are qualified and have done previous things to get to where you are and continue doing them to get to where you want to be. I believe that there is a difference in working for what you want and everything being handed to you. You feel a greater sense of accomplishment knowing that you EARNED it and not that you did nothing for it. In Cinderella, she is given a fairy godmother/magic tree to help her appear more beautiful in order to catch the prince’s eye. This is an example of something being handed to you. I think that fairy tales often use this and give kids the false idea that magic does exist and that you won’t have to work for something that you want.
In the real world, there is no magic for us to use to get us into the “riches class”. However, the use of marriage to become rich, famous, or royal is seen in the real world. Many people get married not out of love, but out of need/want of money, home, and power. There have been people in power who decide to marry someone who are not in power yet. The sad truth behind that is the royalty could be marrying out of love, but the person they are marrying may never love them and only be marrying them as a way to achieve power. There may be a small amount of situations that happen like that, but more often than not we all have to use our own power to achieve something that we want at least one point in our lives.
The main plot of Hansel and Gretel is mostly the same for both the original Grimm tale and the remake of it in the MGM film. The story line of Hansel and Gretel tells of a young brother and sister who are living in a lower class family. They have a very close relationship and they would do anything for one another. One day, they get lost in the woods and come across a deceivingly, delicious-looking gingerbread house that happens to be the home of a wicked old witch who lures children in with her tasty baked goods and candies. Once she captures the children she feeds them until they are plump and then bakes them in her large oven so that she may eat the children. This main idea of the story is shown in both the original book and in the more recent movie version. Although the story remains the same, there are many small differences that I noticed.
A difference in the film that stuck out to me was how Hansel and Gretel’s mother acted towards them. In the beginning of the movie she acts as a loving mother. She only shows her dark side when she is disappointed in the children for letting the donkey in the house but when they did not return from picking berries, we could see the look of motherly concern on her face. Another major difference in the movie is the amount of time in which the whole story takes place. In the original story, it takes the children about three days before they come across the witch’s gingerbread house; in contrast, they find the house the same day that they are sent out into the woods to pick berries. A less important difference shown in the film is that there is a lot of singing than in the original tale. Also, after they kill the witch at the end of the movie, her magic stick turns into the gold that brings them wealth whereas in the original tale, they find the gold and jewels in the gingerbread house.
Many of the differences in the stories are only small details. However, the similarities are shown in the main context of the story. For example, in both versions Hansel and Gretel’s family is a poor family with little food. The father in both of the stories appears to be the more loving of the two parents and the mothers, although not nearly as cruel in the movie as she is in the book, portrays a mean mother who does not love her children quite as much. In both of the versions the children get lost in the woods and find the witch’s gingerbread house where she traps them in order to fatten Hansel up so that she may later eat him for dinner.
The version of Hansel and Gretel that we watched was made in 1987 while the original Grimm tale was written in the early 1800’s. There is almost a 200 year difference of the two versions which is a big reason that the director of the movie would have made the changes that he did. Another reason there were changes made was just like many of the other fairy tales that were rewritten; they had to appeal to a wider audience. The original Grimm tales were often written for adults, not children. They usually had a more sexual innuendo behind them. When the Grimm tales were turned into movies, the directors would take that out and make it more appropriate for children by adding singing and talking animals, or in this case talking gingerbread boys and girls. They added the idea of children magically being turned into cookies and the witch’s magic staff magically turning into gold coins. By making these changes, the new version of the movie would be appropriate for children and still be entertaining for adults too.
The main definition of a fairy tale is a story that is often full of magic and almost always ends in a “happily ever after”. They are old tales come from people’s imaginations, experiences, or observations that are rewritten into a story that is appropriate for both children and adults. The basis of a fairy tale is usually the plot that is contained in the story. In most fairy tales the plot occurs close to the beginning of the story and the majority of the movie is spent showing how the characters try to resolve it. For example in Sleeping Beauty, the plot is that Briar Rose becomes cursed by the witch. The curse is announced very early in the story and most of the story tells of the struggles that happen while trying to break the curse and trying to protect her from the spindle. (Zipes p.163). Another characteristic of fairy tales is the repetition in the story. The purpose of repetition is to emphasize the main points of the tale. In the Brothers Grimm film, it repeatedly showed the wolf that was in the enchanted woods and how the main female character continuously recognized her and could see that it was actually her father turned into a wolf. It repeatedly showed this so that we could understand that her father had been put under a spell under the queen’s command. Many fairy tales do not contain detailed descriptions of items in the story. This is because there is often an understood symbolism in the items. A use of symbolism in Sleeping Beauty, or Briar Rose, is the curse that when she falls into a deep sleep from pricking her finger on the spindle at the age of sixteen symbolizes puberty and growing up. Pricking her finger is the equivalent of a female’s first menstruation and falling into a deep sleep meant that she was not ready for puberty and it was a way for her to wait until her body was ready for new changes. Fairy tales also only focus on a small amount of characters in the story. There may be up to six or seven important characters but the story mainly focuses on two or three of them. Often the two main characters are a female and male who in the end fall in love and live happily ever after. The possible third main character is something evil that is trying to make sure there won’t be a happy ending. In the Snow White film there is the prince, Snow White, and the evil step-mother who wants Snow White out of the picture so that she remains “the fairest of them all”.
I chose this class as my first year seminar class because I love anything that involves Disney. I think it would be very interesting to find out the original stories that the Disney tales came from. I am hoping to find deeper meanings to the fairytales that i have not noticed before while watching them. My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid because I like the message that it gives of Prince Eric liking Ariel regardless of where she came from or the type of person she was. I also like it because of the music.