Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grimm's Grimmest

I don't know about you, but when it comes to reading new fairy tales, sometimes it can be intimidating to pull out a large copy of an edition of Grimms' complete fairy tales. Where to even start? It's not the sort of book you usually read cover to cover.

In fact, my copy of complete Grimm tales I use mainly for reference. I find it helpful to discover books in which tales are separated by categories such as themes or country of origin, which is why I was pleased to discover Grimm's Grimmest, edited by Marisa Bulzone, in my library. Not only did it introduce me to several tales I wasn't as familiar with alongside some of the classics, but the best part was the introduction by Maria Tatar.

She provides a little history of the Grimms and their process of collecting but also editing the tales to suit, what was then, modern tastes. Although the Grimms (and the general culture of the time) abhorred any mention of sexuality or pregnancy, altering the tales to remove such references, they actually tended to increase the violence when it was part of a character's punishment. Seemingly shocking and harsh punishments for what we might consider to be small misdemeanors were characteristic of not only the Grimms' collection but other children's literature of the time, such as Strewwelpeter.
Page from the book-Illustrations by Tracy Arah Dockray

For example, the short and haunting story "The Willful Child" would have been more or less typical fare for the time:

Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and would not do what her* mother wished. For this reason, God had no pleasure in her, and let her become ill. No doctor could do her any good, and in a short time the child lay on her deathbed.

When she had been lowered into her grave, and the earth was spread over her, all at once her little arm came out again and reached upward. And when they had pushed it back in the ground and spread fresh earth over it, it was all to no purpose, for the arm always came out again.

Then the mother herself was obliged to go to the grave and strike the arm with a rod. When she had done that, the arm was drawn in, and at last the child had rest beneath the ground.

*In the introduction, Tatar clarifies that in the German, the child is given no specific gender

Tatar also cited psychology and the fact that "children are rarely squeamish when they hear about decapitation or other forms of mutilation. Typical Saturday morning cartoon fare shows that grisly episodes often strike them as hilarious rather than horrifying." It's true that some of the stories, even with their gruesome aspects, I found mostly entertaining, such as "The Three Army Surgeons." Yet others were truly hard to read-I don't think anyone can read "The Willful Child" above and not find it disturbing on some level (and this collection didn't even include "How Children Played Butcher with Each Other," which I find the most horrifying).

For while we tend to think of fairy tales as simple, sweet children's stories, Tatar reminds us that they are also the precursors to other genres, such as urban legends and horror.

Yet, there are different categories when we look at violence in tales. There is violence that is punishment for a truly horrible villain-which we tend to be more comfortable with; children in America are familiar with the scene in which Gretel pushes the witch into the oven, whereas we have largely forgotten some tales that are still part of general knowledge in Germany today, such as "Juniper Tree" which involves a mother decapitating her son and feeding his flesh to her unknowing husband (and, another perfect example of cultural differences in approaching fairy tales!).
Tracy Arah Dockray-illustration for "Juniper Tree"

Then, sometimes, the protagonist is treated cruelly by the villain. This elicits sympathy from the reader and further establishes which characters we're rooting for and which ones we're against, and many of our most loved heroines in American culture fit into this category-Snow White and Cinderella, for example.

Then there's a different sort of story in which the violence doesn't seem to serve a purpose at all. In tales like "The Death of the Little Hen," the stories lead from one tragedy to another, with no happy ending. They seem pointless and depressing, but Tatar reminds us that if nothing else, these tales point to the harsh cruelties of peasant existence, where diseases spread rampant, mothers often died in childbirth, and poor harvest meant going truly hungry. Fairy tales blend truth with hope. Although the common perception is that fairy tales are all hope and no truth, that's a misconception; but it would also be misleading to present all Grimm tales as the creepy, depressing ones found in this volume either. We can point to the darker aspects of fairy tales but they are not the complete picture.
Albert Weisgerber-"The Death of the Little Red Hen"

I have to point out though-I was very disappointed that the book jacket description claims that the Grimms' "Aschenputtel" was "the original Cinderella story." It's a common thing to mistake Grimm tales for "original," but for someone responsible for creating a book description to make such a gross error, especially when Perrault's version is not only older, but arguably more famous? Whoever wrote it clearly didn't read Tatar's introduction, which not only referenced Perrault's "Cinderella" (with the year, 1697), but compared and contrasted the Grimms' version with Cinderella tales from around the world-some of which show forgiveness for the stepsisters and some of which are incredibly violent in their punishments. On the one hand this shows that violence is not limited to German or Grimm tales, but on the other it shows that violent aspects are not necessary for the tale type.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rampion- by Nicole Cooley

Arthur Rackham

Once upon a time
a woman longed for a child, but see how one desire easily
replaces the next, see her husband climbing the high
   garden wall
with a handful of rampion, flowering scab she's traded 
   for a child.
Look, my mother says, see how the mother disappears
as rampion's metallic root splits the tongue like a knife
and the daughter spends the rest of the story alone.

Nicole Cooley

Can be found in Kate Forsyth's Bitter Greens-review to come!
Page with poem available for viewing

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cultural Approaches to Fairy Tales

One of the books I've been reading lately is French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. Although at first glance it has nothing to do with fairy tales, one passage intrigued me. The book is about one woman's story of moving her family to France and encountering firsthand some of the cultural differences between the French and North Americans-mainly concerning food, but how we train our kids to eat is reflective of our general ideas about children and parenting; and beliefs about children and parenting will have a lot of influence on our ideas about fairy tales-what is appropriate for children, how to introduce them to kids and encourage them to interact with the tales, etc.

When Le Billon's two daughters were 3 and 5, she tried to find children's books for them that would be the equivalent of the many American child-appropriate books. She asked for fairy tales in the bookstores, and was given translations of the famous Grimm and Andersen tales, but as many of us are aware, the average Grimm or Andersen tale would not be considered appropriate for such young children in America.

So she asked her native French father in law, "Back home, childhood is viewed as a really innocent time. There are lots of books about magic and make-believe. The French don't seem to have the same sorts of books."

Her father in law's reply was, "Kids aren't innocent. They're like little animals. If they aren't disciplined, they'll never learn to behave!"

Though that statement may seem shocking, it reflects the general attitude the French have about parenting, and about their children's entertainment. And the French are, in general, very loving parents-but they tend to parent more authoritatively (not authoritarian) then their American counterparts, who have grown more indulgent as a rule.

The book didn't go into more detail about the culture of childhood and what would be considered appropriate verses inappropriate in France, but it reminded me that the attitudes I have about fairy tales and children which I assume are "modern" are really very "American" as well. We often look at the historical emergence of childhood culture as a way of understanding how fairy tales would have been told and received differently in the time of the Grimms and before, but sometimes I forget that even among modern, similar cultures, there can be striking differences.


Maria Tatar and Jack Zipes-American fairy tale scholars

Even in the blogging world, I think most of us fairy tale bloggers are American (shout out to Amy Elize Brown of Asleep in the Woods, way to represent the Brits!). Even some of the biggest names in current fairy tale scholarship, like Jack Zipes and Maria Tatar, are American-with Marina Warner, another Brit, being an exception. Of course there's the whole language barrier, but it makes me wonder-what other books on fairy tale history and evolution are being published in other countries that we aren't aware of because they're not being translated into English? (Speaking as one of the, sadly, many Americans who is not fluent in any second languages). And my guess is that they would have very different opinions on many of the things we discuss-when it comes to evaluating different versions of fairy tales, and looking at the messages they contain, in addition to beliefs about child appropriateness.

I think most Americans would be shocked at the Frenchman's statement above that kids are little animals. And I think we might define "innocence" in kids a little differently, and believe me I've worked with kids enough to know they're not perfect!-but that's a whole other discussion.

Many parents and educators around the world probably have a very different attitude towards what children should and shouldn't be exposed to, and what they're able to handle. Much of the violence and sex of early fairy tales wouldn't have been hidden from children in earlier societies, and perhaps that's still true in many current cultures. For example, although Americans find the romance in fairy tales troubling in that we're worried our kids will become too consumed with finding a significant other, French parents have a different attitude towards children and romance-they actually encourage it, asking them who there "amoreuse" (boyfriend/girlfriend) is and thinking that young children in "relationships" are cute. Therefore, I'm guessing the fact that fairy tale characters tend to get married as part of their happily ever after is not necessarily troubling to them. Clearly, the entertainment available to French children (or not available, as mentioned above) contrasted with American children's books speaks volumes to the different values these cultures have.

Illustration-Eleanor Vere Boyle, "Wild Swans"

And this is just the difference between two relatively similar cultures-so often in fairy tale studies, European and American stories get lumped together under the term "Western"- so even outside of other major cultures, which we expect to have contrasting worldviews, we have to remember how vastly different each similar country's philosophies can be! Honestly, in this world of mass media and globalization, I tend to be very ignorant of how distinctly different two very developed countries can still be on such basic things as attitudes towards food and parenting. I would love to hear from readers and other bloggers around the world on this topic-how do people in different cultures handle fairy tales and telling them to their kids?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From The Forest Discussion with Once Upon a Blog: April

Kristin & Gypsy discuss
UK Title: “Gossip from the Forest: The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales”

April: Saltridge Wood & a retelling of The White Snake
(See the first part of the discussion at Once Upon a Blog HERE)

On “The White Snake” ONLINE LINK: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/17whitesnake.html
SOURCE: Grimm’s Household Tales
SOURCE TALE SUMMARY: A servant steals a piece of King’s secret dish - pieces of a white snake - and receives the power to hear animals speak. Accused of stealing the Queen’s ring he finds and retrieves it by listening to animal speech. Rewarded, the servant sets out to find his  fortune. He comes across three sets of  animals in trouble and, understanding their distress from hearing them speak, aids each, who promise to return the favor one day. He falls in love with a princess and boldly takes on three impossible tests, during which the animals he helped, help him. The final test involves a piece of fruit from the Tree Of Life which he shares with the princess. She falls in love and they “in undisturbed happiness to a great age”.
FROM THE FOREST THE WHITE SNAKE SUMMARY: Maitland does a fairly straight retelling of the Grimm’s story, with  the addition of a lot of detailed description, the servant is without fault, any violence is written out, bar one act. This is a very gentle retelling.

Walter Crane


Main overall impression: why on earth did she retell it this way?? It’s a retelling with no new perspective, too much detail (not enough for an expanded story, but too much for a tale) and too much moralizing! Seriously heavy-handed didactic storytelling. And it feels like she took out this tales’ teeth. It seem in complete opposition to what she’s been talking about the whole chapter. I’m kind of flabbergasted. It’s shiny, detailed and bedazzled but despite having most of the main beats of the story, the purpose of it has been entirely changed. I’m really bothered by it.

The story starts off well and then it gets cumbersome in places - like over-explaining. Eg.the whole bit about him putting his affairs in order was unnecessary but OK, personal touch, but then she adds the thing about “paying such small debts as were outstanding so as not to inconvenience people afterward..” and then the part about “the woods which he loved”. Neither phrase had any bearing on anything. It didn’t add to the character in my mind, it was just a lot of ‘extra’ and seemed to be reinforcing this - already much stated idea - that the guy is a good guy.

Kristin: Yes I agree, it was a little bit beating us over the head with “he is so kind and gentle”

Gypsy: Then she gets to where the White Snake appears in the story and it deviates HUGELY from the original. In the first he, sneaking a bite from a secret delicacy, eats a piece of white snake and so ends up with these powers. He does it out of curiosity and showing he was susceptible to temptation (which fits with the whole snake thing). In the garden - oops, forest (it might as well have been a garden!) he meets the snake and she points out the connection to the Devil but he remains perfect and approaches smiling gently. Which is just weird. Why would he approach it at all? And with no exchange at all (which doesn’t fit fairy tales) he suddenly notices he can understand the speech of birds and animals on the way home. 

Kristin: Yeah I think it was all part of her attempt to make him the ultimate good guy. He would never judge a snake for appearing dangerous! He would never snoop and eat someone else’s food! I like the Grimm version better

Gypsy: With the religious implications this is kind of backward to me: Adam and Eve understood the speech of the animals in the garden because they were without sin/pure of heart. The snake talking to Eve tempts her to do something she knows she shouldn’t and suddenly, along with other harsh penalties, they can’t understand the speech of beasts anymore. it’s the opposite of what happens here. It feels confused to me but then that’s me I guess.

The things about the Grimm’s version is that there’s a change in him. He goes from being Ok but not perfect/susceptible to temptation to understanding more about various motivations of others outside himself. That’s learning empathy and he grows as a person.

Kristin: That’s a good point. Although I didn’t even necessarily read the eating of the white snake as a negative thing-more like satisfying his curiosity, which IS approved in folklore, even in folkloric versions of Bluebeard.

Gypsy: Satisfying curiosity does definitely open the door to understanding in pretty much all the tales - for males and females - and yes, even in the moral Perrault puts in there I think it’s implied that curiosity is a + not a minus is she would have ended up living with a serial killer forever, right?) I remember the perrault wording is kind of weird though. You had a post on it recently.

Kristin: And then there’s still the whole killing some animals but not others

Gypsy: Oh Man! That bothered me SO MUCH in Maitland’s version! Because it was the ONLY animal he did harm to. he went out of his way to not harm all the others (and there was a lot). On top of that she makes a huge point of saying: “the man had packed his goods into a saddle bag and ridden off - as the heroes of stories must always ride - ” I wanted to scream when he cut off his horse’s head here. In the Grimm’s version it just seemed like an odd thing to do at that point (was he not talking to his horse along the way?) But it seemed more in character, what with the duck ending up being supper etc.

Kristin: And a horse is an animal people develop relationships with more-they can know you and have affection for you and he had been with his horse for at least the length of the ride if not longer. I cry in the scene in Never Ending Story where the horse drowns in quicksand-HATE it (even as an adult)

Gypsy: “ARTAX!!” *is in a puddle of sobbing on the floor right now*

*Arthur Rackham illustration

Gypsy: I know it’s stylistic but I hate being talked down to as an audience, either with the facts about salmon (which are commonly known) or by spelling out something with has already been implied. And this includes the bright eyes, gentle heart, kindly mind bit.
Ditto the ants: “we solve complex problems by ingenuity and teamwork..”
Ditto the ravens - “we remember, we apply intelligence and strength and travel huge distances..”

Then we’re told he falls in love with a Princess and it’s pointed out how silly this is but is then hastily explained away with “he rejected all stereotypes” along with a wordy explanation or his personal reasoning. My total impression due to this is: he doth protest too much methinks!

Kristin:...except pride isn’t a stereotype! Especially that which leads to murdering all potential suitors, that’s just called evil

Gypsy: Good point. I amend “pride” to “psycopath.” *shudders* That apple better have had some transforming properties then!

Lots of proof, including something from the Tree Of Life and were circling back to the religious symbolism again except in eating the fruit we’re told her heart is flooded with love because of clear eyes, quiet mind, gentle heart. Seems pretty clear if she didn’t see that before it was because the fruit opened her eyes to it and that the tree of Life is fairly significant here and should connect with the snake but… it doesn’t.

And then we get TWO morals. In which the second moral repeats the sentiment of the last line of the first.

Argh! It’s so frustrating to me!

So the rest of my 1st impression notes: A LOT of moralizing, justifying and explaining in this version! Not a little bit of deceitfulness in this guy at all - he’s as pure as pure can be - except to his own horse. (!@!!)

Jean-Luc Bonifay

Kristin: To me, the most disturbing aspect of this story, in both versions, is how the hero will be so compassionate to certain animal groups but not others-like killing his horse to feed the ravens. Especially in Maitland’s version, when he could have just given them food from his bags! And then of course there’s the whole issue of, would he really live happily ever after with such a prideful princess who was willing to kill off all potential suitors who failed her impossible tasks?

Gypsy: Personally, the violence in the Grimm’s version doesn’t bother me as much. I think it’s because he starts out being less than stellar with the stealing, the duck is destined for the dinner table and although the horse is somewhat disturbing, it seems like something that would be in character for him. I see change in the guy during the Grimm’s story, becoming a better person. In Maitland’s he doesn’t change at all. overall, this Maitland’s retelling seems a very ‘led’ story unfortunately. Things are pointed out all the way through to explain the symbolic significance - not even hinted at but explained in detail - felt talked down to. Too much embroidery that felt was supposed to make the story more “pretty” but ended up being cloying.I like details but not to be told what they should all mean.

It felt like the very condition she complained about regarding beeches being pretty with no usefulness taking over the title of “queen of the forest”, was exactly what happened here; the retelling was all shiny and pretty but didn’t have a decent leg to stand on. And I have no idea if that was done on purpose to illustrate the point or if it’s completely ironic that the accompanying story turned out this way.

Come back next month to see Kristin & Gypsy discuss “May - The New Forest” and Sara Maitland’s retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin”.
Joel Lobo

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fairy Tale Hidden Treasures: The True History of Little Golden Hood

(Surprise! Gypsy and I are switching places, if you've been following the blog tour)

My fairy tale hidden treasure is technically a variant of "Little Red Riding Hood", but Adam graciously said I could share it anyway. I myself only stumbled upon this little tale rather recently, and I was surprised I hadn't read about it before. So when this opportunity came up to share a fairy tale hidden treasure, I thought this story would be perfect! It's really a shame that "The True History of Little Golden Hood" isn't more well known, especially considering its rather authoritative source (it's a French tale from Andrew Lang's 1890 Red Fairy Book).

The story begins: "You know the tale of poor Little Red Riding-hood, that the Wolf deceived and devoured, with her cake, her little butter can, and her Grandmother; well, the true story happened quite differently, as we know now. And first of all the little girl was called and is still called Little Golden-hood; secondly, it was not she, nor the good grand-dame, but the wicked Wolf who was, in the end, caught and devoured.
Only listen.
The story begins something like the tale."

The plot is very much like the classic tale, until the part where the wolf tries to eat Little Golden-Hood, and doesn't succeed, because of the magical hood that protects her.

Although this little girl isn't quite the modern heroine that whips out a gun to shoot the wolf-she is still tricked by his deception and frightened like a normal little girl might be. But the hood, which when red is so often linked to one of Red's faults and therefore her downfall, ends up being her salvation instead. Her grandmother is completely capable of trapping the wolf on her own and there is no need for a huntsman to save them. This tale is surprisingly feminist considering the time period and reads like one of the more modern twists on the fairy tale, yet sadly has been largely forgotten (much like second ending to the Grimm tale in which Little Red and her grandmother cleverly outwit the wolf without any help).
Jean Paul Gaultier, A/W 2008

I especially like this tale because of the positive light it gives fashion. Personally, I think fashion can be a beautiful art form, and if we all have to wear clothes anyway, why not have fun with them? However, in traditional fairy tales, women who like fashion are generally determined to be vain, and often harshly punished, and anything fashion-related is a temptation-especially in Hans Christian Andersen's stories that involve red shoes. Even in my favorite tale, "Beauty and the Beast," Beauty is contrasted against her sisters for preferring simpler, better gifts (a rose and her father's safety) than her sisters (who only care about dresses and jewelry). Although the older French versions make it more clear that Beauty's choice is directed not because she wouldn't like a wardrobe update necessarily, but because she's smart enough to realize her father probably won't gain back his former wealth, most versions tend to emphasize Beauty's innate goodness is linked with her simpler desires, and the sisters' selfishness is linked with their taste in fashion.
Gustav Dore

This story, in contrast, links the fashionable golden hood with power and familial ties (it was made by her grandmother and had some of her grandmother's magical powers). There is no need for a male to come and save the women in this story. And even though the hood is no longer its famous red color, it is linked to fire, the sun, and "red-hot coals." Read the complete tale to get the full effect!

In case you missed it, here is the beginning of the Fairy Tale Hidden Treasures blog tour:

Fairy Tale Fandom - The White Cat
Asleep in the Woods-The Valiant Blackbird

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seasons in Beauty and the Beast

This winter was extra cold in the American Midwest, so the changing of the seasons is even more welcome than usual. In fact, multiple season changes is an aspect of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", and the seasons are symbolic, according to Betsy Hearne in Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale.

Edmund Dulac

"The seasonal cycle is either signified or fully developed in every version of "Beauty and the Beast." The merchant sets out in reasonable weather, but his trip carries him into winter-the winter of his old age and to some extent, defeat. His is unable to recoup his losses or satisfy Beauty's request for a summer rose." (emphasis mine)
Marianna Mayer

"Lost in a snow-storm, he finds the Beast's palace surrounded by summer, the proper age for courtship. Before Beauty makes her decision to return to the Beast's palace, the Beast's world begins to die with him and turn to winter." Then, of course, the happy ending is always associated with spring. Just as spring is the time when barren branches bloom, seeds turn into flowers, and caterpillars will begin their metamorphosis into butterflies, the Beast's transformation is echoed by the season of growth and renewal.
Angela Barrett

Saturday, April 11, 2015

P. L. Travers' About the Sleeping Beauty

I was thrilled to discover a copy of P. L. Travers' (author of the "Mary Poppins" series) book "About the Sleeping Beauty."

P. L. Travers

It begins with her own retelling of the classic fairy tale. Set in the Middle East, it follows the traditional plot but is a very thoughtful retelling. She emphasized the role of the parents, making it more of their story than the Princess'. It is the parents who have to deal with the grief of being unable to bear children; how each parent reacts to the fairies' gifts reveals what they value most, and how they respond to the curse and the last fairy's blessing are what moves the story along. Neither the Sultan or Sultana is perfect, but they are both given the chance to grow and learn through the experience of what happened to their daughter. The Sultana becomes wiser, but the Sultan seems to be just as oblivious as before.

"It did not occur to him to remember that had he been truly sagacious he would also have sent an acknowledgement to the Thirteenth Wise Woman [the fairy who cursed the Princess]. A wise man would have recognized that it was she who, by putting the situation in danger, called forth the rescuing power. Light is light because of the dark and the Sultan should have known it." (emphasis mine, in this and following quotes)

As for the Sultana, "From that day forward, since she now had time and leisure for it, she pondered and dreamed and questioned. And the more she thought about it, the more it seemed that her daughter had stepped, as it were, into another dimension-into, in fact, a fairy tale. And if this were so, she told herself, she would have to look for the meaning. For she knew very well that fairy tales are not as simple as they appear; that the more innocent and candid they seem, the wilier one has to be in one's efforts to find out what they are up to. So pondering, she would sit under the cypress tree, secretly telling herself the story and hoping that the story at last would tell its secret to her. Who was the maiden, who was the Prince, and what the thorny hedge?"

I love this definition of a fairy tale-thinking of it as a journey into another dimension, but one that has purpose and greater meaning. It is not a journey devoid of danger-several princes died in their attempts to breach the thorns-and "not as simple as they appear," for they have indeed inspired generations of people to muse on them in attempt to nail down their meanings.

Travers also includes an Afterword in which she muses on the nature of fairy tales and how the world appears to children. When we retell fairy tales, "The shock they give us...is not of surprise but of recognition." Fairy tales give children lenses through which to piece together the strange things they observe in the world around them.

Travers then provides a section with several retellings of the Sleeping Beauty tale-the most famous historical ones from Basile, Perrault, and the Grimms, and two others; Bradley-Birt's "The Petrified Mansion" and Jeremiah Curin's "The Queen of Tubber Tintye." Travers sees the Grimms' version as, if not the "true" version for she recognizes that no such thing exists, but the one that is the most essential version. Other authors elaborate and add their own musings, details, and meanings, but in the Grimms we have the starkest version-the most simple retelling and thus "the story emerges clear, all essence." It is the Grimm story that Travers uses as the basis for her own.

Travers also explains the decisions she made in her own interpretation-a fascinating and rare look into an author's mindset in creating the elements of a fairy tale. For example, she muses on the nature of the Thirteenth Fairy-really the only fairy tale villain that elicits sympathy for the reader, for she was left out of the christening. In this episode that revolves around etiquette (how to serve thirteen fairies with only twelve gold plates), the Sultan is the one that shoulders some of the blame. For even though the Thirteenth Fairy's reaction is extreme, Travers reminds us that she is also needed to move the plot of the story along.

In this fairy tale, neither the hero or the heroine has to actually do anything. The Prince was merely at the right place at the right time; the Princess sleeps for most of her part of the story. But "she is not merely a pretty girl waiting, after an eon of dreams, to be wakened by a lover. That she is a symbol, the core and heart of the world she inhabits, is shown by the fact, clearly stated...that when she sleeps, all about her sleep, when she wakens, her world wakes with  her. A symbol indeed. But what does it mean? Who is she, this peerless beauty, this hidden sleeping figure that has kindled the imaginations of so many generations and for whom children go about on tiptoe lest she be too soon wakened?"

Travers makes it clear that there is not one authoritative meaning to the fairy tale, but many possible meanings. In fact, "to give an answer, supposing we had it, would be breaking the law of the fairy tale. And perhaps no answer is necessary. It is enough that we ponder upon and love the story and ask ourselves the question."

Illustrations by Charles Keeping

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Disney Princesses in the News

Saw this article that caught my eye-

When a four year old was nervous about dressing up as a princess to see Cinderella, her 25 year old uncle, Jesse Frank Nagy, dressed as a princess as well to give her confidence. "If it's going to make her happy, I'll do it," he said. Just look at her face-

Then at the bottom of that article, these images of Disney Princesses with realistic waistlines:

(Hmm..maybe to this collection we could add Lily James in the Cinderella costume in the movie, with and without a restricting corset in which she was unable to eat solid foods?)
I should note that in Hollywood, it's considered completely normal for many actors (of both genders) to diet severely for a part, especially one with a particularly revealing costume or if the character is supposed to be especially thin. It's not something that's limited to Disney movies, but something that is of concern across the board where media is concerned.