Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Read QuillandQwerty's Fairy Tale Paper!


Fellow blogger and fairy tale friend, known on the internet as amo, started her blog quillandqwerty as she was researching for her thesis. It's finally done and ready for public reading-if you hop on over to her blog and follow the instructions.

I have very much enjoyed reading the interesting tidbits she's shared with us and very sad that, now that the paper is done, she won't be blogging about fairy tales any more :(. 

But I highly recommend taking the time to read her paper-it's definitely longer than the average blog post, at 47 pages of text. Titled "Once Upon a Movie Screen: Four Favorite Fairy Tales and Their Disney Film Adaptations," the paper explores the history of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Frog Prince; from the classic older versions to their respective Disney films. I really appreciate her balanced approach; amo avoids the tendency to either hate on Disney or to be too defensive, but to really look at the cultures in which the various versions of the fairy tales were produced, and show how each version, from Perrault to Grimm to Disney, was a reflection of the culture.

There are so many fascinating things in the paper. As obsessed as I've always been with Disney's BATB even I learned many new things. Just one example:

Remember the scene in Cinderella when she feeds the chickens? In the whole film, we see Cinderella doing many domestic chores, and always singing sweetly and appearing like there's nothing else in the world she would rather be doing. When she does many of her cleaning tasks, she puts a scarf around her hair.
Beauty and the Beast, made 40 years later, was a much more feminist film. This heroine longs for adventure and loves to read. Rather than waiting for a prince to come find her, she turns down her suitor and ends up becoming the role of the rescuer, rather than rescued, as she finds love. In fact, we never see her do any domestic chores at all, with one exception: after Gaston proposes, she goes outdoors and begins to feed the chickens, like her predecessor Cinderella.

But her attitude is completely opposite. Not cheerful and complacent, Belle sings about how ridiculous it would be to be Gaston's "little wife" in his old-fashioned picture of domestic bliss. She even, at one point, briefly throws a scarf around her head, like Cinderella, but it's a mockery; in the end, she never even finishes the chore, running off to the fields to sing about longing for adventure.


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