Sunday, February 24, 2013

Red Riding Hood Cartoon

This image is from one of my favorite comic strips in the newspaper: Mother Goose And Grimm. When we were told to look for a cartoon, my mind immediately went to Mother Goose and Grimm. It's a twist of Fairy Tales in the name itself. Mother Goose and The Grimm Brothers. These comics however, are not all based on Fairy Tales but I knew that someone in their archive they would have had to do Little Red Riding Hood at some point. And in fact, they had several. But I found this image to be the most profound.
The image depicts red riding hood at a bar with a martini glass in front of her. The bartender is telling her that her drink has already been paid for and we see the wolf sitting on the opposite end of the bar with a blank expression on his face.
In our society we know that if someone is to buy you a drink at a bar/club, they have an interest in you and would like to pursue something whether it be dancing, talking, drinking together, or even "hooking up". Through analysis of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, we know that the wolf is a symbol of seduction. He wanted to eat the little girl up and he did, to satisfy a hunger. In the story he uses his cunning and wit to earn the trust of the girl so he can lure her in and eat her. In this comic, he attempts to lure her in by winning her over by buying her a drink.
I really think this comic was actually well thought out due to the fact that this could be a modernized version of the classic tale. Essentially both are conveying ways of earning the trust of a pretty girl. One way was tricking her into thinking the wolf was someone she could trust (grandmother) and this comic is essentially bribery. A tactic which women of this day and age are all too familiar with and fall for much too easily. Because they crave the attention of the person who is buying them a drink. Just like Little Red craves the attention she desires from her Father.

Cartoonist: Mike Peters

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Child as a Hero

Usually when one thinks of the hero of a story, they think of the heroic prince rescuing the princess from impending doom. One usually doesn't think a child: pure, innocent and untouched by reality could take on the form of a hero. However stories such as Hansel and Gretel and Little Thumbling prove that a child could be just as much of a hero as an ethereal prince from a fairy tale.
In Hansel and Gretel the two children are deserted in the woods by their parents due to lack of food. Hansel's wit leads them back to their home but only works once and again they are stranded in the middle of a forest. As the meander around the unknown woods they come upon a house that is made of bread. The children begin to nibble on the house and they come to find that a witch lives there and uses her house made of food to lure children in. She plans to eat the children and locks Hansel in a barn and forces Gretel to cook food to fatten him up. The witch has poor eyesight and Hansel uses this to his advantage to trick her. Instead of sticking his own finger out of the barn when they witch comes to see if he is getting fatter, he sticks out a bone. The witch is confused as to why Hansel isn't gaining any weight. She tells Gretel that she is preparing to eat him anyway. As she tells Gretel to turn the stove on and climb in to see if the bread will fit. Gretel uses the wit she has as well to fool the witch into leaning down enough so she can be pushed into the oven. Gretel runs to let Hansel out and tells him of the witch's demise. They take many jewels that the witch had back to their home where they find that their mother has died and they live happily ever after with their father.
Little Thumbling has much of the same premise as Hansel and Gretel. As the youngest and smallest of seven children, Little Thumbling's family was struggling to survive. The parents took the children and left them in the woods. Little Thumbling consoled his weeping brothers and told them that he could lead them back to the house because he dropped pebbles along the pathway. This only worked once because the very next day, they were abandoned in the woods once again. They wandered about until they came upon a house. The house held an evil ogre that prepared to eat the children. However, Little Thumbling took notice of the ogre's daughters and the golden crowns they had placed upon their heads. He switched his brothers hats for the golden crowns so when the ogre came to slay the boys he mistook his daughters for them. This allowed the children to slip away. The ogre, in a fit of rage, came after the boys but fell asleep from being so tired. Little Thumbling took the seven-league boots off of the ogres feet and traveled quickly back to the house and told a lie to the ogres wife so that she would hand over all of the jewels and treasures the ogre had acquired over the years. She did so and Little Thumbling returned to his father's house.
Instead of the heroic feats you associate with princes that rescue princesses from the villains lair we are told the story of child who uses the only weapon they possess: their wit. They are not equipped with swords or bows and arrows, all they have is their brains. "The child views existential dangers not objectively, but fantastically exaggerated in line with his immature dread...'Hansel and Gretel' encourages the child to explore on his own even the figments of his anxious imagination, because such fairy tales give him confidence that he can master not only the real dangers which his parents told him about, but even those vastly exaggerated ones which he fears exist" (Bettelheim 166). Both of these stories involve children who can no longer rely on their parents for help and must depend on each other (whether it be your sibling or even the support of "age mates") to survive. The children can no longer survive with their mothers (Hansel and Gretel show their need for their motherly survival through eating the house).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What is a Folk/Fairy Tale?

SIS 2015 is all about discussing different Fairy Tales or even different versions of a one tale. As we move through the semester we should gain a better understanding of various themes, motifs, symbols, etc in each tale we study. But what is a fairy tale in itself? What makes a fairytale different from a regular story?
As discussed in class a fairytale, by definition, is a narrative based on magic and fantasy which are understood to be fictional. But can’t you have a regular story or work of fiction that is not classified as a fairytale? Again, as discussed in our class the difference between folktales and literature is that literature is written down, unchangeable and has an author whereas folktales are spoken, subject to change from culture to culture and anyone can take credit for their version of a tale. If you were to tell a child their favorite tale, you might hear them say: “that’s not how so-and-so tells it!” That’s because folk/fairy tales have been so subject to change because if they were written down, it would differ from book to book. Anyone can tell a tale differently from someone else, making it their own. People can find that when you tell a tale, it is not just different from person to person, but culture to culture as well. The way people tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood in Germany differs than how you may hear it told in China. This is because the motifs in the tales are universal. No fairy tale belongs to a specific nationality. If it did, it wouldn’t qualify as a fairy tale.
In our culture, and many others, a fairy tale is a tale centered around a hero who must go on a life altering journey of some sort. They face off against evil forces and in the end, come out victorious and the tale ends with all being well. We tell these tales to mainly children (however no one is ever too old for a fairy tale) to spark their imagination. They could even begin to relate themselves to the hero and in the end are taught valuable life lessons through the tale. Good always triumphs over evil. And if you’re good, you shall be rewarded. We need to get these points across to children in a way that will make their minds works and spark imagination. These are what fairy tales are. They’re imaginative tales of magic and wonder that can teach someone a valuable lesson. Even though we don’t live in a world of magic and far-fetched creatures. We can reference the deeds the hero does to our own lives and put them to good use.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why I chose SIS 2015

Choosing classes can be an absolute nightmare when it comes time to create your schedule for the next semester of college. Especially when you are required to take a certain type of class much like the Sophomore Interdisciplinary Study course. You are given a list of set options and it can be difficult to sign up for the one that interests you the most when you have so many other sophomores signing up as well. The class you like can fill up very quickly and you might not be able to get the one you want. However, sometimes "lady luck" can be on your side and you have the opportunity to take part in the class you really wanted to take. For this semester, "lady luck" was certainly on my side. Being a German major I have learned a lot about fairy tales because The Grimm Brothers are a very important aspect of German history. It only makes sense to want to learn the most about this aspect as possible since there is not a specific course offered here about German fairy tales. Even though this course is not specifically dedicated to strictly German-based stories, there is a huge emphasis since The Grimm Brothers are known for, and really famous for their play on fairy tales. I look forward to diving into this class because I feel like it would really help my major and the fact that it sounds very interesting because each culture interprets each tale in a different way. I would like to know more about why they changed the story the way they did and what makes it effective. I look forward to taking this class with Dr. Esa, not just because he's been my German professor for four semesters, but because he knows how to teach, and teach well. Hopefully this course will meet all of my expectations and impress me like I know it should.