Here are a couple excerpts:
"Most older variants of the story are interested in Beauty getting what she deserves —wealth, station and an appropriate mate. This makes sense, as it’s a story about a woman told by women —first at great length in Villeneuve’s novella, and then in a much shorter bowdlerized form by Beaumont. The primary concern of the story is Beauty being respectfully courted by a remarkable patient and good hearted, but ugly, individual. This is, heartbreakingly, a deeply romantic fantasy when we consider that its authors were women who had been foisted into loveless political marriages with less than kindhearted men — it’s the story of hoping the man with whom you are forced co-habitate will turn out to be a kind prince, in spite of first seeming to be an unknowable monster..."
And the conclusion:
"So, in trying to sum up, traditionally Beauty and the Beast has been a story about a young woman’s journey to accepting an unconventional male partner. In the twentieth century, it become a popular metaphor for the awakening of female sexuality and power. Now, more and more, we see it as a metaphor for the channeling of negative masculinity into positive masculinity. The story evolves. We pull new meaning from it, stretch it this way and that, examine it in the mirror, and take it apart to see how it ticks. It changes to suit our cultural needs, and it will continue to change."
Illustrations by Pavel Tatarnikov
Also...today Tales of Faerie turns six! A sincere thank you to all of you who have helped me on my journey to learning more about fairy tales!