Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rags to Riches

In all the tales we've read of "Cinderella" a girl is faced with misfortunes at the hand of her evil stepmother and stepsisters. She works in a low position and is extremely unhappy with the way things are going for her. That is until she goes to a ball (or in other cases, a feast) and ends up marrying a prince and living happily ever after while her stepmother and stepsisters usually don't receive such a gracious ending. But is this a realistic theme? Even in the movie Pretty Woman, Vivian, a prostitute, leaves her previous life when she meets Edward, a rich business man, and they fall in love. Is this idea so far-fetched and impossible? A person is completely capable of finding happiness and wealth in someone through the aspect of marriage. It's not impossible to marry someone of a better standing than you, especially in our society today. Charm can definitely make you a more successful person. If you're more charming than the average person, people will take that into account and you'll find yourself in more positive situations and you have the opportunity to better your life just through the idea of optimism. But magic on the other hand, does not exist in our world. So we cannot rely on that to bring us to a wealthier/richer standard. That is the only part of Cinderella that I am not fond of. I understand that this is a fairy tale and magic is a huge aspect of it. But since we live in such a world where we can't rely on magic, I find this story hard to relate to. We have only ourselves and our hard perseverance to get us to a higher standard of life. I have no fairy godmother to rely on to give me lavish gifts so I can "woo" my prince charming in the hopes that he'll whisk me away from my dull life into a world completely unlike my own. I only have myself. I can only depend on myself to make my dreams and inner desires come true. And that's the reality that I feel we should be teaching children. Through hard work and perseverance  all your dreams can come true.

Monday, April 1, 2013


In all the variations of Bluebeard we read for class, I noticed the heroin was not particularly smart. She let her curiosity get the better of her even when her menacing husband told her not to do something. Go against the creepy guy with the blue beard? I don't think so. However, there was one tale where the girl was actually rather witty; The Robber Bridegroom by The Brothers Grimm. In the very beginning of the tale, the girl is being married away by her father, to a man she does not trust. This is the first thing I like about this tale. In all the other tales, the girl does not question the Bluebeard figure's trust. This tale, she finds no reason to trust him. And all in good reason! The girl follows the trail her betrothed left for her with ashes deep into the forest. Along the way, she drops peas and lentils so she can find her way back. These items she drops signify life as later in the story they grow into huge plants that guide her way home when the ashes have all but blown away. The ashes symbolize death and the fact that nothing good will come of her going to his home. She reached the house and it appeared abandoned. Nonetheless she went inside and found that no one was there but a voice called out to her and told her to leave the house because it was the house of murderers. She wandered around the house until she found an old woman. The woman was horrified that this poor and innocent girl had happened upon such a terrible place. The woman herself had been plotting her own escape for the house and planned to help get the girl out as well. The girl is told to hide behind a barrel until the murderers fall asleep, then they will make their escape.

Then all the murderers come into the house with a poor girl and in their drunken stupor, they gave her so much wine that her heart burst. They then tore off her clothes and chopped her body into pieces to make her into a fine feast for them. One of the men saw a ring on the girl's finger and tried to pry it off but to no avail. He took an ax and chopped her finger off and it went flying right into the girl's lap behind the barrel. The man went to go looking for it but the old woman stopped him and said that there was no use because the finger wasn't going to go anywhere. The woman put a few drops of sleeping potion into the men's wine and in no time they were asleep and the two women made their escape. As the ashes had blown away with the winds, the peas and lentils that were dropped sprouted and marked the way for the women. Upon the girl's return, she told her father everything that happened.
On the day of the wedding the girl's husband appeared with all of his "friends" and they sat down for dinner. Everyone was prompted to tell a story and the girl decided to reveal her husbands misdeeds in a witty tale. She unraveled the tale saying it was a dream and in the end she revealed that the story was in fact true, by pulling the finger of the dead girl with the ring upon it out for everyone to see. The man tried to escape but the wedding guests stopped him and he and his group of murdering friends were executed for their crimes.
This story makes sense! Along with the help of a character who helps the girl escape the house of murderers, she actually uses her common sense to get herself out of this predicament; which is something you don't see in the other tales. She never lets her curiosity get the best of her and she foresees something going wrong with her shady fiance and decides not to trust him. I feel like this is the only story that doesn't make the heroin out to be a disobeying bimbo and actually makes her a well-rounded and witty character.