In our third and final unit of ‘Games of Thrones’, we are going to be thoroughly exploring the ways in which the seeming realities of the Premodern world have been re-imagined and appropriated by the creators of fantasy stories and fairy tales. Throughout this process we will be considering cinematic “texts” that were, in fact, based on literary originals. Hence, for this Blog post I want us to consider the subtleties and challenges of literary adaptation in a very specific context. Namely, for your response, I want you to trace a particular line of descent by comparing and contrasting two versions of fairy tales. As we have seen in class, the most famous and influential fairy tales ever written are likely the versions found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which was published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812 (originally under the German title of Kinder und Hausmärchen, or ‘Children’s and Household Tales’). For most of us in this class, however, your sense of fairy tales is NOT driven by the Brothers Grimm but, instead, by the wildly popular movies produced by the Walt Disney Company. Fairy tales are SO incredibly popular, however, that they have also increasingly been (re)modernized in versions marketed for a more adult audience (as in Snow White and the Huntsman, Maleficent, or Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters). For this response, I want you to bring into conversation two selected fairy tales of your choosing, and preferably two different versions of the same story. To do so, you must choose a particular “text” from two of the three categories above (that is to say, a Grimm’s Tale, a Disney “Princess” movie, and/or a recent live-action “re-boot”). The Brothers Grimm were especially interested in religion, class, family, childhood, and power, but there are a number of themes (if not morals) that can be identified in their textual originals, and the same is true of the later movies (whether Disney or otherwise). In your response, then, you should offer a thematically-oriented comparison, in which you discuss the modes and meanings of cinematic adaptation(s). Hence, you might consider such questions as: What are these stories and versions about, and in what ways are they notably similar and different? What are some of the key tropes in your selected films/texts, and how do they differ from one another in terms of theme and technique? How do your chosen works project the Premodern world (both in “imaginary” and “realistic” ways)? Do these “texts” ultimately suggest different ideas and definitions of “fairy tales”? How/why so? Finally, what social and political ideas do your “texts” seem to project, and more to the point, what is the “moral” of each story (both for their own original time and audience and our own purposes in 2015)?
Anne Sexton’s The Tiger’s Bride, and Disney’s movie version of Beauty and the Beast, are very different from each other. In Anne Sexton’s story Belle is won by the beast when her father gambles her away to him. Disney’s movie has Bell go search for her father, and offer herself as prisoner to the beast in his place. In Sexton’s version the beast plans to let Belle go after he sees her naked, and Disney’s beast plans to keep her prisoner for life. While they are both stuck in a dark gloomy castle, Sexton’s version has no living furniture like the Disney version, with the exception of a mechanical doll. There is no back story to the beast in this version either, whereas Disney’s beast is cursed and has to learn to love before his rose dies when he turns 21. At the end of Sexton’s version, Belle chooses to sleep with the beast rather than return to her father, and is herself turned into a beast. Disney’s ending has Belle and the beast fall in love, and the beast becomes a human again. Overall Anne Sexton’s version of this fairy tale is not by any means a children’s story, unlike Disney, whose movie is purposely adapted for kids.
Disney’s presentation of The Little Mermaid is drastically different in comparison to that of Grimm brothers’. Other than the opening of the story, the two versions overlap scarcely. The version told by the Grimm brothers is a much heavier tale. The two versions offers different perspectives on the same story, Grimm’s tale is based on realties while the Disney version is based on innocence.
In Grimm’s version, the little mermaid goes by another name, Sirenetta. The beginning of Grimm’s version is similar to that of Disney’s. The differences between the plot begins when Sirenetta saved the prince from the storm and brought him safely to shore. People noticed the prince and came to his rescue. Overcome with fear, Sirenetta sadly returned to the sea. The prince woke up and believed that one of the beautiful ladies in the crowd saved his life. Burdened with the desire to be with the prince, the little mermaid made a bargain with the sea witch. Sirentta traded her voice for a pair of legs. The sea witch warns Sirenetta that this trade does have some drawback. Sirenetta will have enormous pain walking every steps, and that she will turn into sea foam if she was ever to return to the ocean. Nevertheless, the little mermaid agreed to the terms. After the deal, Sirenetta fainted and was found by the prince by the shore. He took her into the castle of took care of her. The prince shows kindness to Sirenetta, but not love. The prince has feelings for a lady from a foreign land, who he thought was responsible for saving his life. Soon, the unnamed lady and the prince fell in love and got married. On the night of their marriage, Sirenetta’s sister called to her. They have traded their hair for a magical knife, which can reverse her bargain. All she had to do was to stab the prince with the enchanted knife. Sirenetta, being still in love with the prince, could not carry out the deed and chose to kill herself. She jumped off the ship and committed suicide. To her surprise, the fairies of air saved her and lift her out the water. They asked her to join them in their quest in watching over mankind. She accepted and the story ends there.
There are many differences in the two versions of the story. One major difference is the main plot of the story. As mentioned, Grimm’s version did not include the happily ever after ending. In the Disney version however, the prince and the little mermaid end up resolving the problem, fell in love, and lived happily ever after. The second difference is the perspective of love. In the Disney version of the little mermaid, love was an innocent and simplistic theme. It portrays love as Indomitable. The prince and Ariel overcame any obstacles through the power of love. In the Grimm’s version, love is more complex and abstract. This version shows a darker side of love. It includes heavy themes such as suicide, pain, and murder. No doubt that the two versions have very different tones.
The second biggest difference is the absence of a defined villain in the Grimm’s version. In the Disney version, the old sea witch is the main antagonist. She tricked Ariel into signing the contract, turns Neptune into a crab, attempts to seduce the prince herself, and then tried to kill Ariel and the prince. This is not so in the Grimm’s version. The old sea witch was honest about the bargain, gave Sirenetta fair warning about the consequences. The old witch also did not attempt to seduce the prince, nor try to kill anyone. Unlike other Grimm’s fairytales, which includes the gruesome death of the antagonists, the old sea witch did not meet a savage end. Unlike the Disney version, there is no prominent villain.
Although there are differences between the two stories, there are also similarities. Sirentta is beautiful, melodious, a princess, and has an affinity with aquatic creatures. Based on Grimm brother’s depictions, Sirenetta fits perfectly with the Disney’s princess trope created by Disney. The trope of beauty is also present in both version, the princess and the princes are characterized by their beauty and good looks. Much like the princes in Disney films, the prince in Grimm’s version was given little character. In both versions of the little mermaid, the prince was not given a name.
In many ways, The Little Mermaid is the prime example of the term, Disneyfication. Disney has cut out all the darker side of the fairytale while still including the tropes that is repetitive in most Disney films. The changes are intended to create a softer tone for a younger, innocent audience. There is a consequence in doing so. By reinventing the Grimm’s version, Disney gets rid of some underlining messages that the older version presents. By replacing harsh realties with innocents, many of the serious perspectives on love, hope, and perseverance are lost.
Tangled is a Disney adaptation of the fairy tale “Rapunzel,” by the Brothers Grimm. These tales offer two very different takes on the same story. Disney’s Tangled has more of a plot and character development than the Grimms’ tale, which is not a surprise being that Tangled is an hour and half long film, while the Grimm tale is only a few pages long. While there are several differences between the two, the moral of story doesn’t change.
In the Grimms’ version, Rapunzel’s parents are not royalty, and they live next door to a sorceress. The husband steals a plant for his wife to eat, but he is caught by the sorceress and is forced to give her his baby once she is born. Year later, Rapunzel is found by a prince who asks her for her hand in marriage, and they make a plan for the prince to give her silk every time he visits until she is able to make a rope for her to climb down on. Later, the sorceress finds out that she has met a man, so she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and banishes her to the forest to survive on her own.
Rapunzel is born a princess in Disney’s Tangled, and a witch steals her from the King and Queen while they sleep. Rapunzel is then locked in a tower for eighteen years. Eventually, Rapunzel is found by a thief named Flynn Rider, who has stolen the lost princess’ tiara, and is then beat and tied up by Rapunzel. Rapunzel makes a deal with him to return the tiara to him if he takes her to see the floating lanterns that she sees every year. He does as he says and the two begin to fall in love, but when the witch finds out she tries to take Rapunzel away, and injures Flynn.
In both versions there is a magical flower that her mother eats, and the main conflict is that Rapunzel is locked away in a tower by a witch, unable to have the freedom she longs for. Though a man comes to save her, there are still trials they have to conquer before they can be together. By the end of both stories Rapunzel heals her lover with her tears and the two live happily ever after.
The main plot of the story is the same, the differences being in the details. The Disney version shows Rapunzel as a more independent person who can take charge of a situation, while in the Grimms’ version Rapunzel does not have much to offer other than act as an elevator for the sorceress, and agree to marry a man she just met. In classic Disney fashion Rapunzel has animal companions such as a chameleon and a horse, and there are several musical numbers within the film. Instead of the sorceress cutting Rapunzel’s hair like in Grimms’, in Tangled Flynn chops it off in order to save her.
While there are struggles that Rapunzel has to face before she can have her happy ending in both tales, these struggles greatly differ. For example, in “Rapunzel,” The prince throws himself off the tower after thinking that the sorceress killed Rapunzel. He survives the fall, but becomes blind due to landing in a thorn bush, and then after years of wandering in the woods, he finds Rapunzel with their twins. In Tangled, Rapunzel’s struggle ends with the witch dying. She is reunited with her parents, and marries her true love, Flynn. It is the end of both that the moral of both stories can be seen: true love conquers all. Though there are differences to the tales, they do not change the plot of the story; the message and story as a whole remain the same.
In the popular fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, the brothers Grimm highlight the struggles of the working class poor. Hansel and Gretel come from the family of a poor woodcutter. A recurring issue that serves as the catalyst for their “adventure” is the inability for the family to make ends meet. Whether it be a famine, or an ambiguously stated time of “great need everywhere”, necessity drives Hansel and Gretel’s father and step-mother to choose between their own well-being and their children. It is made clear by the Grimms that the value placed on children was not what it is today, as twice the children are Shanghai’d in the woods by their parents. The tale depicts a world where families, driven by their plight and social status, are so hard pressed for basic necessities that abandoning their children is an option. While these actions may seem like depraved behavior fitting of modern ideas of the pre-modern world, it is no great feat to extrapolate them to the struggles of modern classes.
Gender is of concern in this tale. Barring the innocent Gretel, who seems to get a pass for she is blessed with the purity of childhood, the female characters in this tale are cast in a dark light. Initially, the step-mother is the driving force behind the expulsion of the children. Naturally, the father is apprehensive about abandoning his children, but the step-mother’s nagging “gave him no peace until he agreed.” Additionally, the villain of the tale is a witch, presumably female. Fittingly, when the children return home, the father is noted as “not had even one happy hour since he had left the children in the woods.” Also, the step-mother has conveniently died.
A number of other elements come are perpetuated in this story, including the loss of innocence, the purity of childhood, and the strength of religion. The children are forced to essentially murder a witch after being forsaken by their parents, which would be traumatic for a person of any age group. Throughout the story, Hansel is depicted as seeing white cats and birds – visions which are quickly written off by his dreadful step-mother as tricks of light – and the two are even delivered from the evil “witch-woods” by a white duck. This imagery seems to indicate the purity of children. Meanwhile, in the absence of their parents for support, Hansel repeatedly pleads to God to help them. Although the elements of the witch and a diabetes-inducing candy house are clearly unrealistic, the elements of a struggling family stuck at the bottom of a class system, the patriarchal world in which they live, and the blind faith in God to deliver the children from peril, all have solid roots in a believable pre-modern era.
The modern filmic adaptation/sequel of the Grimm brothers’ tale begins with the familiar story line of Hansel and Gretel being left in the forest and ultimately being held by an evil witch in her candy-house. This about where the similarities between the two end. This film is not only for adults, it is for a niche audience of action/horror buffs. Following the burning of their first witch, Hansel’s voiceover indicates that he and Gretel never saw their parents again, and that they became hunters. The element of losing purity and childhood is here, but seems to come second to the violence and action that fills about half of the movie. The costumes seem like a modern twist on pre-modern dress (lots of slick black leather) crossed with a dirty middle-age peasantry.
I forgot to note, the modern film is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
There are countless differences between the Grimm’s classic tale of Rapunzel versus Disney’s newer and more family friendly version of Tangled. They are similar stories told in drastically different ways.
The brother’s Grimm version pictured Rapunzel as a beautiful peasant and the man who “rescued” her was a handsome prince. The Disney version showed Rapunzel as a lost princess and her “prince charming” was a notorious thief; a complete role reversal between the two versions. The Grimm version showed the prince as the one helping Rapunzel as they eventually married and she became a princess whereas the Disney version showed Rapunzel helping Flynn in a way as he went from a thief to a prince when they married.
In the Grimm version, Rapunzel offers little to no help in the advancement of the plot. She only serves as a somewhat “damsel in distress” as she is locked away in her tower and does nothing about it. Disney’s version portrays Rapunzel as, quite frankly, a strong, independent woman who doesn’t really need a man. She could have gone on the journey by herself if she had chosen to, and she herself served much more to the plot than in the Grimm version. This portrayal of a strong young woman is more aimed towards the young girls in modern times, perfect for its perspective audience. At the time of the Grimm version, women not doing much were a classic affair.
In both stories, Gothel was portrayed as a witch who harbored Rapunzel, but for different reasons. In the Grimm version, she held her because her parents had stolen from her garden, and in the Disney version, she was held because she now contained powers from a magic flower and was used to keep Gothel young and beautiful. Other than Gothel being a witch, there were not many magical elements to the Grimm tale. The Disney story gave Rapunzel’s long blonde hair magical powers that healed the hurt/old as she sang. Both versions of the tale gave Rapunzel’s tears the powers to help her love when he was in danger; the Grimm version bringing back his eyesight and the Disney version bringing him back to life.
The Grimm’s version simply shows Rapunzel as a beautiful young girl locked away in a tower who falls in love at first sight with the first man that comes through her window. The Disney version is a completely different story. Rapunzel was shown as holding her “prince charming” Flynn hostage when he first broke into her tower. She persuades him to take her on an action-packed journey and although their chemistry at first was little to none, they are shown to fall in love as the tale goes on. They fall in love not only for looks, but for more genuine reasons as they got to know each other through their adventure, which is a far better ideal to show young children than the Grimm’s version. There was also no sexualization between the characters in the Disney film as Rapunzel was not shown giving birth to twins like in the Grimm tale.
The list comparing and contrasting the two versions could go on and on, but overall, both stories depicted a similar tale told in two drastically different ways for two audiences of completely different time periods, both of which worked well to their own prospective advantages.
The Grimm tales Cinderella differs from the Disney’s 1950s version of Cinderella. Although both stories were obviously targeted towards two complete different audiences, both instill similar themes to the audiences. Both teach that if you are compassionate to other your actions will be rewarded (or something along those lines). There were many similarities between the two. For example, the general story is generally the same. Cinderella’s original mother dies and her step mother doesn’t like her much along with her two step sisters who are mean to her making her do all the chores in the house. She finds a way to go to the Princes ball and who then falls in love with her and finds her via the shoe she lost.
Even with all these similarities, many details were taken out of the Grimm version to make it more age appropriate for little kids. For example, the fact that the step sisters were made uglier to fit the “evil character” better, in order for them to fit in Cinderella’s shoe they cut their toes and heels off, and the fact that the birds pecked out the eyes of the sister. Another key change was introduced the “fairy godmother” that was found in the original Grimm version. This again plays towards attracting the younger audience (because a tree that gives stuff isn’t as cool).
Setting wise, both stories we based in what appeared to be very similar settings. This gave the audience a clear social standard for Cinderella and her family. Their home was locates near enough to the castle but far enough for it to be a “mystical” place. In fact when looking at the castle in the original trailer for Cinderella, the castle is brightly while the surroundings are dark and eerie giving the castle a “magical” affect. Overall, both stories shows the viewers the same message just by two different ways of doing it because of the intended audiences. Teenagers and adults may learn through graphic violence while children would learn through playful “disneyfied” tales.
While modernizing and twisting the classic fairy tales from writers like the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson is nothing new, combining all the classic fairy tales seems to be a developing trend. Perhaps inspired by the popular screen play, Into the Woods, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitis came together and created the TV series Once Upon a Time, a live-action series following multiple fairy tale stories as they intertwine in both the magic world and a small town in Maine. The story focuses on the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming who was sent as an infant to the non-magic world to save the magic world, an action that deems her the “savior”. As the saviors story progresses, more and more of everyone’s beloved fairy tale characters are introduced, from Rumplestiltsksin to Belle to Cruella De’Vil, each story resembling the establishes stories with their own twists, like Rumplestiltskin being Belle’s “beast” as well as Peter Pans son. All these characters wind up being connected to and going on adventures with Snow White and the other various character. While Snow White in this series certainly has her ivory hair and pure white skin, not much else remains the same between this new Snow and the classic tale. To start, the original Snow was much younger, and much more naïve. The modern Snow is older, and a lot cleverer. While she was still banished by the evil queen – the difference there being the betrayal on Snows part that lead to the death of the Queens true love – she wound up growing stronger and independent during her life as a rebel. Snow does not succumb to a sleeping curse, but spends her days rebelling against the Queens rule and having adventures. She meets her prince Charming not by being woken up by a kiss as the Grimm brothers depicts, or singing by a well as Disney tells it, but by robbing him of a wedding ring intended for another and going back and forth to get the ring back, being continuously interrupted by, and then together facing, trolls and villains all the while. Snows story goes on to facing the evil Queen in the magic world, and becoming her friend in the real world. Of course, in the end of the original tale, the evil Queen is tortured to death and Snow White and her Prince live happily ever after. The modern story doesn’t keep things so black and white, although the series is still going (currently showing its 4th season), so not much can be said about the end of Snows story. At the moment, Snow White is happily married with her second child, friends with both her first child as well as the Evil Queen, and is still and fierce and strongly depicted as the original Snow was not. While the two, at first glance, seem to be complete opposites, the Snow White then and now wind up teaching the same lessons to their respective audiences. The original Snow White repeated her mistakes out of gullibility, and wound up paying with her life. The modernized Snow, in a similar fashion, repeatedly makes the same mistake of being too trusting. The modern Snow, believing that everyone has good in them and everyone should be given a chance, often finds herself being betrayed and hurt by the people whose pasts she chooses to look beyond. Both original Snow, painted in the boundaries of women’s roles in the 1930’s, and the modern Snow, depicted for a post-feminist audience, still hold true to the good-hearted nature of the ever pure Snow White. While the modern Snow White’s story is much more complicated, the same basic premise does remain; that trust is sweet and nice, but one must be a little more careful in order to stay safe.
Disney’s Tangled is the modern day adaptation is the classic retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ story Rapunzel. Rapunzel is the story of a married couple whose first born child is taken by an evil sorceress after he is caught stealing a rapunzel flower from her garden. In order to let his wife live, the sorceress demands that the married couple give her their baby. She promises to take care of the baby, but ends up being overprotective and places Rapunzel in a tower and locks her away. Eventually, a prince comes and falls in love with Rapunzel, and in a heinous act of revenge the sorceress has his eyes pecked out, cuts off Rapunzel’s hair, and banishes them both to a swamp.
This story is full of some of the outdated tropes which had filled fairy tales at that time. There were a damsel in distress being held in a tower against her will, an evil sorceress who is casting evil magical spells, and the dashing prince who risks everything to be with the woman he loves.
Tangled does its best to flip the script and portray Rapunzel as a strong young woman who is skeptical of her prince, Flynn Rider when they first meet. She beats him up and demands to know why he is there. Rapunzel tricks Mother Gothel in order to escape with Flynn and see her kingdom for the first time in years.
Tangled is a story which shows to have been written for a much more modern time. The heroine is much more independent and strong. She is equally important to her own escape and rescue as Flynn is in the story. He ultimately saves her, but she was the one who tried striking a deal to save his life.
This change shows that the lesson in Tangled is much more about true love and sacrifice than the original which presents the story in a much more vile and violent way. Everyone’s motivations are much more individualistic in Tangled than in Rapunzel. Mother Gothel is selfish in wanting to preserve her age, as opposed to the sorceress whose main motivation is greed and revenge.
Tangled is a story which has grown up, but not as much as one would hope for in a day and age where children’s stories should be much more carefully plotted with all of the scrutiny that the media is under on a regular basis.
The story of Rapunzel vary’s greatly from the grim version to the Disney movie tangled. First off the length of the two stories vary greatly, the Grim version is only a few pages long but the Disney version is a full length movie that expands into plot and development of the characters, which is something that the Grimm version just does not have.
Let us look at the Grimm version first. Rapunzel’s parents were not royalty in this book and were just simple people that happened to live next to the sorceress. The father of Rapunzel steals a plant for his wife but ends up being caught and as punishment gives up their child to the sorceress. After years with the sorceress, the prince finds her and wants to get married but she is unable to leave. They come up with a plan for him to bring silk to make a rope for her to climb down but the sorceress finds out and banishes her to the forest after she cuts off Rapunzel hair.
In the Disney version, Rapunzel is born a princess but is stolen by the Sorceress. She is locked there until she turns 18 when she happens to be found by a thief named Flynn rider, who is on the run after stealing the princess tiara. After Flynn is captured by Rapunzel she forces him to make a deal with him, that she will give him the tiara if he takes her to see the floating lanterns that she loves that goes up the sky every year. Flynn and Rapunzel begin to fall in love during their travels but the sorceress eventually finds them and tries to separate them both and hurts Flynn.
Similarity’s in both versions are that their mother eats a magical flower, and that Rapunzel is trapped in a tower by the sorceress and not able to be free. Both stories have a man come and free her from said tower but before that freedom happens she most go through tough times to obtain that freedom. Both stories end with Rapunzel and her love interest living happy.
However In the Disney version Rapunzel is much more independent and can take care of her self for the most part, while in the Grimm version the only thing she really does is bring the sorceress up and down the tower and to agree to marry the prince. Also the way they end up together are different, in the Grimm version the princes is thrown from the tower and blinded until finding Rapunzel years later and her healing him, in the Disney version Rapunzel and Flynn finally meet up together again and profess their love after the witch is killed.
Lastly the meaning of this stories remain the same, True love can conquer anything as shown by that in both stories and all the adversity they had to overcome that they both ended up together in the end.
Walt Disney’s film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs greatly differs from the Grimm’s version of the story by the same name. In the Disney version Snow White is a beautiful princess who is supposed to be a teenager, perhaps 14 or 15. Her step-mother is a vain woman who asks her magic mirror every day who is the fairest one of them all. One day, the mirror answers that it is not the Queen, but Snow White, who is the fairest of them all. The queen, out of wild jealousy, orders a huntsman to take Snow White out to the woods and cut out her heart. The huntsman is not able to do this because of Snow White’s innocence and lets her run away into the woods. He brings the queen the heart of a boar in order to trick her. Snow White finds her way to a small house in the middle of the woods which she cleans up with all of the woodland animals and eventually falls asleep in one of the seven little beds upstairs. The seven dwarfs come back to their home and find it clean and find the small girl asleep in one of their beds. Once they find out who she is and why she is there, they agree to let her stay as long as she cooks and cleans for them, she eagerly agrees. The next day they leave for their job in the mines and they warn Snow White not to allow anyone to come into the house because her evil step-mother is sure to come after her. Meanwhile the Queen discovers that Snow White is not dead and, using magic, transforms herself into an ugly old woman and goes to the home of the seven dwarfs with a poison apple. Snow White lets her in and takes a bite of the apple and immediately dies. The queen actually falls off of a mountains because of a landslide after this. Once the dwarfs find Snow White dead, they put her in a glass coffin and keep vigil over her for some time. Eventually a prince comes through the woods and is so struck by her beauty that he kisses her. When he kisses her she wakes up and they live happily ever after.
In the Grimm’s version of the story, the beginning is much the same. The first variation is that Snow White is only seven in this story. The main difference is that, rather than coming to the home of the dwarfs only once, the Queen tries to kill Snow White three times. The first time she pretends to be selling lace and when the princess lets her in the Queen ties her corset so tight in order to suffocate her. The dwarfs are able to come and untie the lace before she dies. The second time, the Queen poisons a comb and pretends to be selling it, when Snow White lets her in the Queen puts it in her hair and she falls to the ground seemingly dead. Once again the dwarfs come and are able to save her. The third time is when the queen uses the poisoned apple. This works and, like the Disney movie the dwarfs put her in a glass coffin and keep vigil over her. In this version, when the prince finds Snow White he convinces the dwarfs to let him take her with him because he wishes to always look upon her beauty. As his servants are hoisting her up to carry her, the piece of apple is dislodged from her throat and she wakes up. The prince immediately asks her to marry him. The Queen is invited to their wedding and because her magic mirror tells her that the bride is the fairest in the land, she goes in order to see her. When she gets there she sees that the bride is Snow White and the Queen is forced to wear a red-hot pair of iron shoes and dance until she is dead.
These two versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs do differ in the fine details, but overall the plot is the same. The Grimm’s version is certainly less “child-friendly” than the Disney version because of the details like the queen being forced to dance to her death and also the queen eating the supposed heart of Snow White. Because the Disney version of the story was made in a time where women were not seen to be completely equal with men there was no need to make the character of Snow White have any sort if deep aspects to her personality, or even really a personality at all. This is also so in the original version of the story, Snow White is young, naive, and innocent. She is not show to be capable of logical thought in either story and she is really just a woman that needs to be saved.
There also seems to be a slight difference in the meaning of the story between these two versions.
In the Grimm’s version it seems that the moral is to not be vain and jealous of other people. The main focus is on the queen possessing those qualities and how she was punished for what she did out if envy for an innocent child. In the Disney version there is definitely more of a focus on the idea that love conquers all. Snow White actually does have an encounter with the prince that woke her up before she is forced to flee her castle. He hears her singing at the well and he is drawn to her beautiful voice. She also does sing her iconic song “Someday My Prince Will Come”. It is also important that the prince is able to wake her up with “true love’s kiss”, which is a common theme among Disney fairy tales. All of these factors work to highlight the importance of finding love and finding a man who can come to the rescue. Because of the presence of this in the film it really forces that to be the general message of the story as a whole.
In the Grimm brothers story of Sleeping Beauty and Disneys Maleficent you have two totally different stories being told in the same realm with the same characters. In the Grimm story the King and Queen have always wanted a child and they finally have that child and when they do the King invites everyone to a great feast incuding the local fairies. At the feast the grumpy old fairy shows up and because the kind didn’t give her a golden place setting she gets pissy and cruses the child that she will prick her finger on her 17th birthday and die. A young wise fairy casts a spell that instead the girl will only sleep and that is all that will happen to her for one hundred years until her prince comes along and kisses the passed out girl which I am pretty sure is illegal but it may have something to do with why Disney changed the story around in their movie Maleficent. In the story of Maleficent they take what society has thought of for a long time as one of the meanest evil characters ever to walk the fairytale world and turn her into a nice misunderstood majestic fairy. Maleficent gets played by her childhood love and most of the story is about how Steffon is a dirtbag and “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. In the end Maleficent really falls in love with Aurora the Sleeping Beauty and ends up being the true loves kiss that brings her back to life. I feel that the movie was to help teach a young audience today not to judge a book by its cover and that people can change. It might have also been a message to young boys that if you break a fairy girls heart and steal her wings she will kill you and burn down your castle.
-What are these stories and versions about, and in what ways are they notably similar and different?
-What are some of the key tropes in your selected films/texts, and how do they differ from one another in terms of theme and technique?
-How do your chosen works project the Premodern world (both in “imaginary” and “realistic” ways)?
-Do these “texts” ultimately suggest different ideas and definitions of “fairy tales”? How/why so?
-Finally, what social and political ideas do your “texts” seem to project, and more to the point, what is the “moral” of each story (both for their own original time and audience and our own purposes in 2015)?
I chose to look at the differences between the Brothers Grimm version and Cinderella and Disney’s version of Cinderella. While they are both very similar to each other, there exist great differences that greatly change the overall story. The Brothers Grimm version of the tale is noticeably more gruesome and is more intense in getting the stories main themes across. The tale involves the cutting of heels to fit into a shoe in order to marry a prince, and in turn the step-sisters eyes get pecked out. While this is more brutal, it instills the message to a more serious degree. There is much more magic in the Disney version, notably with Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. This brings a light, magical flair to the story, rather than the dark, seriousness of the Grimm version. Both of the versions instill a ‘rags to riches’ ideal for Cinderella, who starts the story with nothing and ends as a princess. They promote the Premodern world in the sense that there was a land ruled by a king and queen, with a castle and a royal ball. It seems to set the story more in the medieval era, with certain hints, such as clothing and the homes, that were present throughout the movie. It is harder to realize this in the Grimm story due to the lack of visuals, but you still get the sense of it due to the first examples of the royal family and all that comes with it. I think they both represent how what people consider a ‘fairy tale’ has changed over time. As cultures progress and change so do peoples thoughts and ideas with it. This inevitable leads to a change in the way these fairy tales are presented to us. Nowadays, Disney portrays them as blissful fantasy that everyone should dream of and love. They always have underlying themes that prevail, such as love, magic, climb in social status, damsel in distress, a prince charming, and animals to name some of the many. They hint on cultural norms and practices of today, while the Brothers Grimm did that as well in theirs. Just like Disney’s movies, the Grimm tales were used for entertainment. They were also used for lessons, and more so adults than children. They showed what could happen under certain circumstances and taught different notions of right and wrong. In their version of Cinderella, I think the underlying moral is to be a good person no matter your situation and good things will happen to you. It is very karma oriented. I think the same is true for Disney’s version, but it also shows more magic and romance and glamour, allowing the viewers to engage in thoughts of grandiose aspirations.
The two fairytales I will be discussing is the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty and the modernized remake Maleficent. The Disney movies are based on a pretty princess and her search for a prince. Sleeping Beauty is about Princess Aurora and how she had a horrible spell casted on her as a baby. In order to protect her father and mother send her into the woods with three fairies, who would raise her until the curse is over. In the mean time she meets her Prince and almost is close to the end of the day that the curse was supposed to occur until Maleficent, the one who cursed her, finds her. Princess Aurora’s Prince slays Maleficent, finds the princess and kisses her awake. Ending with their happily ever after. The remake of Sleeping Beauty is Maleficent. This story begins with Maleficent as a fairy child who protects the forest one day she meets a young boy and they become friends and then fall in love. As they grow the boy becomes a man and becomes obsessed with gaining power, so much so that he is told to kill Maleficent but cuts her wings off instead in order to become King. This left Maleficent in distraught and hard. When the now King has a daughter Maleficent comes and curses the baby, Princess Aurora, in order to get back at him for cutting off her wings. The King then sends his daughter into the woods with the three fairies, but they do not know how to properly care for her so Maleficent helps care for the child as she ages. Maleficent and Aurora become very close and she regrets casting the spell and tries to correct this. She goes to visit Aurora when she is stuck in her sleep and kisses her forehead. It was a sign of true love and it awakens Aurora. These two fairytales are based on the same characters but have slightly different learning outcomes. In the Disney classic, the Princess finds her one true love and lives happily ever after, when they slay the “bad guy”. In the remake, the “bad guy” is actually very good but was misunderstood. Instead of a Prince that saves the day Maleficent corrects her mistake and shows that a Prince does not always have to rescue the Princess. She gets back her wings and stands up for herself, exemplifying a type of “girl power” or “fairy power in this case. This is a story based upon the love of friendship instead of the Disney classic that is based on a romantic love.
Fairytales were passed down from parents to their children through oral traditions. The stories were told to communicate important information through use of metaphors in order to propagate knowledge. With the invention of the printing press, the fairytale genre was gauged for reading adults and really never intended for children. The Brothers Grimm began collecting folktales in the 1800’s. They gathered tales that were most definitely not intended for children. The Brother’s Grimm’s, Little Brier Rose, and Disney’s, Sleeping Beauty, used themes of revenge, courage, and curiosity.
The differences between the 18th century folktale and the 19th century film were that the 19th century film was geared toward children. Films used singing as a way to project a plan or tell who loves one another. A character’s personality often seals a bond by making us relate to him or her. In the film Sleeping Beauty each character is recognizable to someone in your own life. In the 19th century the fairytales started to use illustrations, which influenced the way readers saw the characters. The story of sleeping beauty showed the heroine as a beautiful blonde with curves, while the prince, or hero, was devilishly handsome, smart and courageous. The antagonist is usually a family member with disgusting features who is dark in sorcery (witches, dragons, monsters) and lusty after the throne.
Both the Little Brier Rose and Sleeping Beauty addressed the theme of revenge. When a thirteenth wise woman was not invited because of shortness on golden plates, the spiteful thirteenth woman said, “In the princess’s fifteenth year she shall prick herself with a spindle and fall over dead.” And without saying another word she turned around and left the hall. While in the film the thirteenth woman was Maleficent and she was not wanted there. She bestowed a “gift” on the child saying, “Before the sun sets on her 16th birthday she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.” In the film she used a dramatic entrance and a dramatic exit unlike the thirteenth woman.
There are several differences between the Brother’s Grimm tale and the film Sleeping Beauty. The Brother’s Grimm’s, Little Brier Rose, was short and did not describe characters or use lengthy details. Unlike Sleeping Beauty, Little Brier Rose had many princes so the listener could not form a bond with “the” prince. Little Brier Rose made no mention of the wise woman as fairies like Sleeping Beauty had. In the film, the antagonist was named Maleficent (meaning bad) and a witch who was clouded in dark smoke and could morph into a dragon. She also led Sleeping Beauty to prick her finger on a spindle while the unnamed thirteenth woman had no involvement with Little Brier Rose’s fate. The film makes no mention of a frog that tells the queen she’ll be having a daughter like the story does. Both stories differ in the terms of her curse. The twelfth wise woman remedies the spell of Little Brier Rose by a hundred years sleep while Sleeping Beauty will wake her slumber with true love’s kiss. In the end of the film, the prince slays Maleficent, who has turned into a fire-breathing dragon, by piercing her with a sword. While in Little Brier Rose some prince comes one hundred years later, sees flowers instead of thorns, waits for her to wake from her slumber and then they marry and live happily ever after till they die.
There are very few similarities between the two stories. Both stories show the king send word to burn all spinning wheels in the castle. Each story shows the entire castle falls under the same sleeping curse as Little Brier Rose/ Sleeping Beauty. I each story the prince kisses her; one is to rescue her, the other is because he thinks she’s pretty.
Both the Brothers Grimm tale Little Snow White and Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tell the same story of Snow White and the Evil Queen who desires her death. The main conflict is very much one of good vs evil, in both versions. While the Disney version is classically accused of simplifying the plot and portraying a very simplistic variation of the story, I feel that the Disney version actually adds some much needed character to the original Grimm tale. For example, in the Grimm version the background between Snow White and the queen is non-existent. The Disney version, we are given a short backstory that the queen is oppressive to Snow White even before the mirror tells her that Snow White is the “fairest of them all”. This adds some more depth to the original story than the simple “Snow White grew up”.
Furthermore, the characters of the Seven Dwarves are also developed much more in the Disney version. In the Grimm story, the dwarves are simply that: seven dwarves who are only referred to as one unit. The Disney movie gives each of them a name and unique personality: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy, and Dopey. While much of the plot regarding the queen trying to kill Snow White is cut, the sacrifice of this to further develop the characters is an acceptable loss to make this story more appealing for the target audience.
The main arguments against the Disney version being an “acceptable” movie are arguments that can be leveled at both versions, including the role of Snow White as the “maid” of the Seven Dwarves household and the minor, bland role of the prince. The Grimm version is just as guilty at portraying a skewed version of a women’s role in society, and the Disney version can even redeem this by showing how happy the “family” is through their song and dance, despite Snow White acting as a maid. As for the prince, the Disney version also has one-up on the Grimm version by giving a little more backstory between Snow White and the prince, to make the romance seem less random. While both versions are admittedly flawed in the regard of these two points, the Disney version is the one which pulls ahead as a better handling of it. Overall, the Disney version does not harm the story of Snow White, but in fact re-imagines it in a way that makes it both more colorful and more entertaining for its intended audience.
For my post I decided to look into the differences and meanings behind the story of Little Brier Rose and it’s counterpart, Sleeping Beauty. Being one of the more light and pure tales in the Brothers Grimm’s repertoire Little Brier Rose was overall a light and happy tale due to its lack of violence. In the tale a king and queen want a daughter and have one, and 12 wise women bless the child. The thirteenth wise woman, upset she was not invited to celebrate the birth of the child, curses her. She will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die at 16 years old. The twelfth wise woman, being interrupted by this curse, changes this fate to a deep sleep. When her 16th birthday arrives she meets a woman spinning and pricks her finger as destined, putting the whole kingdom to sleep. For a hundred years many princes tried to awaken her from her sleep but would be caught in a wall of thorns and left to die until she was destined to be awoken. The prince who wakes her arrives at the castle to flowers instead of thorns and kisses her, waking her up and the whole kingdom. They live happily ever after until they die. This is a relatively tame and light tale for the Grimms. The Disney version actually contains more violence than the original tale! Instead of 13 wise women there are 3 faries who bless Aurora (Little Brier Rose) and Maleficent who curses her. Aurora is hidden until her 16th birthday from Maleficent and then meets her prince in the woods, Phillip, is actually betrothed to her though neither know this yet. Aurora returns to the castle where Maleficent has a spindle waiting for her and she pricks her finger as she was destined. However, Phillip then battles his way out of Maleficent’s castle and defeats her (in dragon form, because she can BECOME A DRAGON) and kisses Aurora, saving the whole kingdom. Also, finding out Phillip is the man she is betrothed to, she is overjoyed. One could say that both of these tales really show how women were not in any positions of power over their fates during the Premodern Era, though the Disney tale shows Rose in a much more helpless situation through the need of a victory over a dragon to save her. The latter (the Disney tale) also seems to demonstrate the fairy tale archetype more with a clear struggle over good and evil with Phillip and Maleficent. The moral of these stories is that true lover will conquer all, be it a wall of thorns or a fire breathing dragon-witch, and the moral for today is that true love conquers all sells quite a lot of DVDs…
For this blog post I would like to examine the modern tale of Cinderella and the Brothers Grimm tale of Cinderella. The blood and gore is significantly toned down in the modern or Disney version of the story. There are 2 main ways to see this and one is when one of the sisters is trying on the glass slipper. The sister cuts off her toe and there is blood all over the shoe just for her to fit in the slipper. This doesn’t happen in the Disney tale as she just does not fit in the slipper. The other scene is during Cinderella’s wedding when the two sisters have their eyes picked out by some of Cinderella’s pigeon friends. This does not happen in the Disney movies as they are left unharmed and even end up in a sequel. This does not change the overall message of the story, however, it is significantly toned down leading me to believe although it doesn’t change the message; it loses some of its power to enforce it.
In the fairy tale Cinderella, in both versions of the Grimm brother’s and Disney’s, a young beautiful girl with a broken family and mean step mother has been made into the maid of the household, with no one caring about her, carrying hopes and dreams of attending the Prince’s ball. In the Grimm brother’s version, Cinderella’s mother dies and her father remarries the evil step mother with her two daughters. The two daughters steal all her clothes and make her their slave. Everyday Cinderella visits her mother’s grave and cries. When her father goes into town, she asks him to bring back the first twig that hits his hat, while the other sisters ask for pretty dresses and jewelry. Cinderella places the twig on her mother’s grave and cries so much that it grows into a tree. When the family is invited to the ball the step mother has Cinderella do chores to prevent her from coming, but the pigeons and other birds help her finish. The step mother still does not allow her to go. Cinderella then cries under the tree. Then the birds help her and she is able to go to the ball. On the third night of the ball she runs home but her left gold slipper was left behind, and then the prince searches for her by using the shoe. Her sisters have to cut parts of their feet off in order to fit, but the prince knows they do that and when Cinderella puts the shoe on it fits her. Then at their wedding the sisters have their eyes pecked out by the birds.
In Disney’s Cinderella, the father dies after remarrying the evil step mother. When this happens she forces Cinderella to basically become the slave of the family and do all of the chores. The ugly step sisters and step mother are invited to the ball and Cinderella wants to go but does not have a dress. There are the typical animal helpers that make the beautiful dress for her. After finishing her chores and is ready to go to the ball, her sisters destroy her dress and she is unable to go. She is crying in the garden when the Fairy God Mother appears and magically transforms her dress and makes a carriage out of a pumpkin. She has to be back by midnight before the magic runs out. After dancing the whole night with the prince she leaves briskly, but her glass slipper falls off and she leaves it. The prince then has a search party find her. Her step mother locks her in her room to make sure she is not chosen to be the prince’s bride. But her animal friends help her escape and she is able to try on the glass slipper. Of course, it fits and she is able to marry the prince and live happily ever after.
Both of these stories follow a similar plot but only have differences in the details of how everything unravels. In the Grimm’s tale, the father even treats Cinderella as a maid, but in Disney’s the father is absent, but leads to believe that he loved Cinderella. This may be because at the time that the Grimm brothers wrote this, women were not highly regarded and fathers were probably cold and not always loving to their children. In modern times this is an uncommon thing (at least from the Disney perspective). Mostly fathers are shown as loving and protective of their children. The Grimm brothers could be hinting at the broken family structure through their tale. Both of these stories give the fairy tale flair of the premodern times with castles and princes and balls and dresses. The overall theme projected from both of these stories is that with patience and hard work you can be a good person, but sometimes you can still live in bad situations, and it may take a little magic (or luck) to fulfill your dreams.
For this response I chose to analyze and compare the Brothers Grimm tale of Cinderella, with Disney’s live action Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Many thematic similarities can be drawn between these two tales, but the methods and techniques used in the telling of the stories differ greatly. For example, there is an early scene in which Cinderella’s mother is on her death bed and she has a final message for her daughter: in the Brothers Grimm version, she was told to remain ‘pious and good’ and in that case, God would always protect her; in Branagh’s film, her mother tells her to ‘have courage and be kind’ no matter what. In essence, both scenes convey a similar theme of being good and kind to others, but in the case of the former, there is a religion aspect that is all but absent in the latter and, to some extent, most Disney re-imaginings. This theme of piety is one that was abundant in nearly all of the tales by the Brothers Grimm, and is a reflection of the time in which they lived. They came from a very pious family, in a God-fearing Premodern era, therefore it’s only natural that the ideals of Christianity resonated to their writings. With that said, Disney all but removed the religious aspect from their version. Instead, they chose to glorify beauty and vanity as virtues. In the Brothers Grimm version, the step-sisters are portrayed as beautiful but with evil hearts, while in the Branagh/Disney version, this is not quite the case. In the 1950 animated version of Cinderella, the step-sisters were portrayed as ugly and evil. In the 2015 version, the step-sisters were by no means ugly, but they did not hold a candle to Cinderella. Also, in this version, they were portrayed as nearly insufferable. They were portrayed as dimwitted and overly petty, arguing amongst themselves over nearly everything. An interesting difference to note is that in the Brothers Grimm version, the stepmother is not very fledged out as a character, and therefore just entirely evil. Yet, in the 2015 version, she’s still entirely evil but is more developed and interesting; she is jealous of Cinderella, because she is still young and beautiful and has won the heart and hand of the Prince. She’s also spiteful towards Cinderella because Cinderella is everything that she wished her daughters were: intelligent, beautiful, sweet, and caring.
For the most part, the plots of these two tales are mostly the same. The main difference being that the blood and violence in the final scenes of the Brothers Grimm version were left out in the Disney/Branagh version. This is simply for the fact that they were intended for different audiences: the Brothers Grimm version was written for adults, and Disney’s version was mainly written for children. I say ‘mainly’ because with Disney’s recent live-action films, adults, or in the case of Cinderella, adolescence has been the intended audience (still, this wedding wasn’t quite as Red as the Prince’s previous one). Ultimately, the morals of these two tales are the same: do good unto others, and good will be done unto you.
Disney’s first animated fairy tale, Snow White, can be compared to a Brother’s Grimm tale of similar title, Little Snow-White. The two pieces of work, though in many ways similar, can also be drastically contrasted. One of the main themes revolving around the Brother’s Grimm tales is the theme of violence. In many tales of their compilation there is often a set violent act in the story and this is true in Little-Snow White. In both the film and the text the evil stepmother wants to kill Snow White but there is much more to the violence in Grimms’ text. The evil queen attempts to kill Little Snow-White four times in the text, the first time when she demands the huntsman kill her in the woods, secondly when the bodice constricting her breathing, third time with the poisoned comb, and finally her last attempt with the poisoned apple. In the Disney film, the queen only attempts to kill Snow White twice, the initial time when she demands the huntsman kill her and when she feeds her the poisoned apple. Also read in the Grimm’s tale was the wicked queen’s punishment. In the film the queen had fallen off a cliff to her death. In the Grimm’s tale her death was a bit more gruesome, where she was made to wear iron shoes that had been heated and ordered to dance until she finally died. The “Disneyfication” of the Brother’s Grimm tale meant that some of the violence had to be removed. Disney began to gear their fairy tales more towards children and thus removed much of the violent acts that could possibly scare children of today’s audience.
Often times in Disney films there is the theme of love and romance. The film “Snow White” perfectly fell into this soon-to-be formula for fairy tales in the Disney world. The only to save Snow White from her poison-induced sleep was loves first kiss. This had not been the case in the Grimms’ tale, such that Little Snow-White was not meant to wake from any sleep. The Queen had intended to kill the young girl and had tried many times in order to do so. Instead of a kiss, the action that had saved her was an accidental bump made by one of the Prince’s men when carrying Little Snow-White’s glass coffin away. In this way the Disneyfication of the tale meant to give the film an enchanted effect such that love is magical and can cure almost anything. These uses of magic are again expanded on and see in later films where it often becomes one of the most important aspects of the Disney industry.
An important tradition upheld over the years in Disney had been the focus on beauty. Perhaps it was the Brother’s Grimm tale of “Little-Snow-White” that had began this ideal that beauty is an important fact of life. In the Grimms’ tale, just as it is portrayed in the film, the reason the queen is after Snow White is because this young girl is more beautiful than she. This results in jealously and anger on the queen’s part that drives her so insane that she feels she must kill Snow White. This focus on beauty is apparent throughout the film and the Brother’s Grimm tale and therefore instills this idea that children, more than likely little girls, should strive to be beautiful. This message is then seen throughout other Disney films such as The Little Mermaid and Cinderella where the two main female characters are emphasized as being beautiful. In Disney, there is no such thing as an “ugly” princess or an “ordinary” princess. In these fairy tales the princess is always gorgeous and thus teaches young girls that only way to be happy and for society and men to accept them is to be pretty. This idea is in fact coming to fruition in today’s age as the battle against poor body images is continuing.
Despite instilling this idea of culturally accepted beauty, both the Grimms’ tale and the Disney film reflect on important life lessons for young children. Jealously is often discussed in religion, as we should not yearn for anything but what God has already given us. This presents the idea that jealously is one of the worst emotions to have and can be considered a sin. The queen in both the film and the text is jealous of Snow White and therefore is driven mad. This gives the impression that nothing good will come from being jealous of somebody else. You can always find someone who you think is prettier than you, has more “things” than you etc. but it is important to never be jealous of such things or it will lead you down a bad path (and possibly with hot burning shoes on your feet). Despite the fact that the film and the text really enforces the idea that the queen is only jealous of Snow White because she is lovelier than herself may not be the correct way to go about teaching children to love and accept themselves, it certainly provides a good life lesson about jealously.
Over all in the Brother’s Grimm tale, a fairy tale could be considered a story that teaches a lesson to the children of the premodern world. Little Snow-White teaches them the danger of jealously. In the Disney sense, a fairy tale most often is a tale in which there is love and most often the young beautiful girl becoming royalty. In this way Disney is teaching children to desire to become beautiful in order to become a part of this upper-class. In the Grimm’s tale, most ordinarily they are teaching a lesson perhaps using a story that parents can recite to their children as they are growing up. Thankfully, both stories have a happy ending for Snow White!
In the grim brothers’ “Little Brier-Rose”, a king threw party to celebrate the birth of his daughter and invited 12 out of 13 wise women to grant her gifts. The wise woman that was not invited decided to burden the child with a death curse that would kill her when she pricked herself with a spindle on her fifteenth birthday, however, the wish was softened by another wise woman and the girl was cursed to sleep for 100 years instead. On her fifteenth birthday, the girl found an old lady with a spindle, pricked herself, and her whole castle was cursed to sleep for 100 years while thorns grew around it. Once the 100 years had passed, the girl was awaken by a prince’s kiss and the castle was alive once more.
Disney released a live-action reboot of sleeping beauty titled “Maleficent” which centered on the wise woman who had cursed the girl. However, instead of a wise woman she was a fairy who had been betrayed by the girl’s father, the king. Initially innocent, Maleficent became darker after being deceived, yet she maintained a fairness in her heart. During the scene in which Maleficent cursed the baby, the curse was to put her to sleep forever, but maleficent allowed the girl to be awoken by true love’s kiss after the king groveled before her. Years passed and the dark fairy helped raise the baby. She grew fond of it and became a motherly figure to her towards the end.
By comparison, the brothers’ grim story appears to be more childish than Disney’s Maleficent. Disney projected the villain as an antihero and intended for the audience to sympathize with her more than the other characters. Disney also introduced fairies into the story while the grim brothers used wise women. Another difference between the two stories was the true love’s kiss that awoke sleeping beauty. In the grim brothers’ story, the prince awoke the girl by kissing her while Maleficent was the one who woke the girl in Disney’s reboot in order to show that love could come in many different ways.
Disney’s version of Cinderella is much more PG, if you will, when compared to that of the Grimm brothers. Walt Disney, as we discussed in class, knew what he was doing when it came to business, and in turn knew his target audience. When marketing a product or idea, in this case an animation, you need to gear it toward your audience, and when your audience is children, some “disneyification” may have to take place. The original Grimm tale of Cinderella had a decent amount of darkness involved which would traumatize children if showed in the Disney versions. From the step sisters mutilating their feet to fit into Cinderellas shoes, to the pigeons pecking out their eyes, Disney’s version (maybe for the better) excludes these details and portrays a heart warming tale that will allow children to fall in love with and watch again and again. Disney not only excluded the bad but also added their own aspects that Disney is famous for. For example the “magic” fairy god mother that wasn’t present in the Grimm tale was added by Disney to add extra happiness and a more magical feel to his version of the story. So i would say that overall, the text of the Grimm brothers portrays a different tale than that of Disney because Disney films all fit in the formula we discussed in class. And overcoming diversity, and having a happy ending is inevitable, while some of the original texts of the Grimm brothers didn’t necessarily follow such a black and white formula. I would also point out that children of modern times are much more protected and censored than they were back in the day which is the cause of Disney turning these dark tales into happy heart warming tales for families that censor (or evict) controversial content.
Over the years fairy tales have to be adapted in different ways to appeal to the modern audience. Where something like religion may have been emphasized in the past compared to now where gender roles is a theme that is more important. An example where this change is prevalent is in the Disney adaptation of Rapunzel, Tangled. It is very different from the original with Rapunzel being the princess and not daughter of a poor family, the hero is a thief and not a prince, and instead of giving birth to twins there are two lovable animal sidekicks. In the very beginning of the Grimm Brothers version it talks about believing that the Lord will fulfill her wish for a child. At this time, religion was a large part of the culture. Since she gluttonously wants the rapunzel plant from the witch’s garden, she then loses her child. There are consequences to sin and the audience is reminded of that. Something that Tangled tackles in its storyline is that Rapunzel and Eugene/Flynn equally save each other. The modern princess does not need a handsome man to come storming in and sweep her off her feet then ride into the sunset. This relationship shows that love is a give and take, and that you need to mutually help each other in order for things to work. She also is leaving home and maturing in the world as an adult. In today’s society it is more important than ever to teach the younger generation that it is good to be independent, as well as having a mutual respect for others. Also having a female lead that fights for what she wants is inspiring to young girls everywhere. The only real similarity between the two versions other than the lead’s name is that Rapunzel cries on her love to restore him back to full health. A fairy tale used to usually be about being saved from poverty and never having to work again, and this was usually gained from being pure and religious. A modern fairy tale is about learning who you are and what you want. And through that self discovery if you meet someone who will walk through your life with you as your equal, great!
As mentioned in class the differences between the Grimm tales and those made by Disney are quite different. A good example of this difference can be found in the comparison of the Grimm tale’s Rapunzel and Disney’s re-imagining Tangled. One important difference to note is the family from which Rapunzel comes. In the Grimm tales, the story is based heavily on her parents. In fact, over one third of the short story is written about before she is born. This history is a story of a husband and wife who desperately want a child. Ironically the rapunzel that she eats to have the child is what forfeits her to the witch. The changes that Disney add make the movie more family friendly and more marketable. One blatant difference is the reversal of the family heritage. Disney has made a good profit off of princesses. Changing Rapunzel to a princes, and her prince to a thief, was likely made to make her more marketable toward their audience. Disney also removes much of the darker, adult themes that we see in many Grimm tales, and replaces them with the elements that have worked in previous movies. These elements, being beauty, nature, and human-like animals, gear the movie more toward children.
The two stories also include some similarities. In one line of text we see Disney’s innocent, naive Rapunzel tell the witch about the prince who visits her. This results in her hair being cut, and being forced to live in the wilderness. We can also see the magical properties that Rapunzel has when she heals the princes eyes. Disney expands on this greatly giving her uncut hair the power of healing and anti-aging.
Although it is not a Grimm’s fairy tale, I find Disney’s The Little Mermaid is an interesting adaptation of the original story written by Hans Christian Anderson. Specifically, I find it interesting because the two are so radically different that it would be easier to count their similarities because there are so few than it would be to count their differences. For example, the most notable difference between the original tale and the 1989 film adaption is that in the original tale, the little mermaid does not get the “happily ever after” with her prince. Instead, she dies and is essentially sent to a purgatory where she must witness children do good deeds and behave in order to be allowed into “heaven,” where the human souls go. That kind of child manipulation is not found in the Disney adaptation, which appears to openly encourage children to defy their fathers.
Essentially, the later adaptation differs from the source material in core themes. While the underlying theme of the Disney version appears to be that of true love overcoming adversity, the focus of the original tale is more centralized on the journey of the soul into heaven and that anyone can get there if they work hard and “be good.” The Disney adaptation also has a more clearly defined villain, while the sea witch in the original tale was not really good or evil and the “villain” of the story was more the circumstances than any particular character. Both of these tales also display a different perspective on the pre-modern world. Disney depicts a fantastical world where good triumphs over evil and the heroine always gets her way in the end; however, Anderson’s story is a little more set in reality, where not every heroine gets what she wants, but she is taught to make the best of it just like the target audience. Overall, these two versions of the same tale do not particularly suggest any one notion about fairy tales as a genre, except perhaps to say that fairy tales are a reflection of the society in which they were written. Hans Christian Anderson wrote his The Little Mermaid in a far scarier world than Disney’s, a world that needed to teach children realistic goals. While Disney made its movie in a world that was much safer and children were allowed to imagine and explore.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic fairy tale, which is famous from the Disney version of the fairy tale. However, there are several versions of this fairy tale; most notable is the Brothers Grimm version, which is one of the original versions. Disney made some changes to the original version to give it a friendlier story line. There are many differences and similarities between the two versions of the fairy tale.
The Brothers Grimm version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a darker version of the story compared to Disney’s version. In the Brothers Grimm version, Snow White is made to promise to cook, clean, and keep the housing running for the Dwarfs to live in. Whereas in the Disney version, Snow White just decides to clean their house due to its dirtiness and in hope that the Dwarfs will let her stay there. The Disney version shows her kindness as she cleans the house without being asked, but in the Brothers Grimm version she is forced to clean the house. Another distinctive difference in these two tales, is in the Disney version, the Queen comes to the house and attempts to kill Snow White only once. In this one attempt, the Queen uses the famous fatal apple to attempt to kill Snow White. In the Brothers Grimm version, the Queen attempts to kill Snow White three times. The first attempt, the Queen attempted to kill her with a lace, second attempt with a poisoned comb, and the final attempt with the famous fatal apple. These were two big differences between the two versions of this fairy tale.
Even though these two versions may have had some differences, they also contain some important similarities. Neither version mentioned the King, which is significant because it reflects upon what could be the issue between the Queen and Snow White. Another significant similarity between the two versions of the fairy tale is how naive Snow White is with the inability to notice that the Queen is tricking her. Also, in both versions the queen knows that Snow White will not realize who she is, even after the dwarfs warn her about the queen and tell her not to let anyone in the house.
Overall, Walt Disney was a very good business man and knew he had to adapt this fairy tale to the intended audience. Disney knew that the original version by the Brothers Grimm was too dark to adapt into a successful film. He made it into a family friendlier fairy tale that became very famous and is better known than the original.
The Cinderella version or Aschenputtel recorded by the Brothers Grimm, is a much, much darker story than the one shown later in Disney’s (1950) Cinderella, and the Cinderella (2015) that was just released a few weeks ago. The Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella starts off with Cinderella’s mother dying and her father taking on a new wife within a year. His new wife had two beautiful daughters but were evil and cruel. Cinderella had a very bad time growing up with her two stepsisters. Cinderella essentially became their “servant”, as they took away her clothes and made her dress in an old gray smock and wooden shoe and was forced to a life of daily routine household chores. Her father did not die mysteriously in this version, instead he is an active role throughout the story and tolerates the mistreatment of Cinderella for reasons not explained. Cinderella ends up going to the ball with the help of a white bird that would come down from the tree Cinderella planted over her mother’s grave. Cinderella attended the ball for three nights and each night she danced with the Prince who fell in love with her. She ran away from him each night, and on the third night she left a slipper behind on the stairway. The prince, determined to marry the girl whose foot would fit the shoe, set out to Cinderella’s house where her two stepsisters were cheerfully waiting to try on the shoe. Though they had pretty feet, the slipper did not feet either, and one sister cut off her big toe in her attempt to make it fit, while the other cut off her heel. The prince was alerted by two pigeons that there was blood spilling from the slipper from each stepsister and that they had deceived him. The prince then went back asking for another girl and recognized Cinderella as she tried on the slipper. They got married and lived happily ever after, and the doves from Heaven flew down to pick each stepsister’s eyes as punishment for the rest of their lives. Now the 1950 version of Cinderella is similar in story and theme, but different in the portrayal of her stepsisters and Cinderella’s transformation to go to the ball. In the later version, the movie holds the same exact theme of Cinderella’s cruel step sister and stepmother. This is basically the only similarity between the stories, with the exception of the slipper Cinderella left behind. In the 1950 version, both of Cinderella’s parents are dead and her only best friends are the mice that live in her house. Cinderella does not have a wishing tree planted over her mother’s grave in this version either. Instead, her fairy godmother helps her by magically conjuring up a dress and carriage to arrive at the ball. Cinderella does not go to the ball for three nights, she only goes for one which she has to leave by midnight. The 1950 version leaves out the dark and violent ending with Cinderella’s stepsisters, mainly because this version was targeted for children. However, what children and adults can take from both stories is that good things will happen if you do good onto others, and with a little luck and magic, your dreams can come true. As for the 2015 version, the theme remains the exact same as its predecessors. Cinderella is portrayed as the sweet, kind, intelligent and loving girl who does not wish harm onto anyone. This version seems to take on details from both the Grimm Brothers and the 1950 Kenneth Branagh version, mixed in with some new ideas from the writers. The step mother is much more developed, as she envies Cinderella for her good nature and sweet spirit, something her own daughters do not have or will ever have. She also envies her youthful beauty that radiates out and captivates anyone who sees her, especially her own father, who sees his wife’s spirit in Cinderella. Yet, the movie retains the same evil step-sisters and slipper which Cinderella loses after her dance with the Prince. Even Prince Charming is more developed in this movie as we see his promise of being a “good” king, who will do what is right for his himself and his kingdom. With each Cinderella work being unique in their own way, overall, Cinderella remains the same in teaching people of all ages that being “good and kind” to everyone goes a lot further than being spiteful and envious.
I think Cinderella of all versions projects the premodern world in that there were probably many young woman with unfortunate upbringings who only dreamed and wished of a better life, and of true love. Though life itself is not a “fairytale” there are always certain standards people uphold in their live, and one of them in the premodern world was probably to find a handsome prince, or wealthy man, in which a young woman could live her poverty life. Realistically, however, peasants and/or lower class people rarely talked to or even heard of the wealthier upper class people, and so they could never, ever, achieve life out of poverty or even true love (with a prince or noble). I think these texts suggest the same ideas and definitions of fairy tales because in the Grimm Brothers version, though violent and dark themed, maintains the theme of being good and kind to people. The same goes for the150 version and the 2015 version. Although targeted for different audiences, the theme is the same. The details may be different, but not the entire story as whole. However, a fairy tale is only a fairy tale depending on the individual’s idea of a “fairy tale” and on what they intend to believe. Some people do not believe in them, or even like the idea of them, so in that case, are they still fairy tales? Or just .. tales?
The Brothers Grimm version of Little Brier-Rose differs from the film Maleficent that was done in 2014 by director Robert Stromberg. The audiences for both of these were targeted for older people. One of the main differences is that Maleficent obviously focuses more on Maleficent and her back story while Brier-Rose focuses on Brier-Rose. (obviously). There is a name difference between the two. Maleficent we have Aurora Rose, and in the Brothers Grimm we have Brier-Rose.
Another difference between the two is that in the Brothers Grimm version, Brier gets cursed for her 15th birthday while in Maleficent, Aurora gets cursed on her 16th birthday.
In Brier-Rose, there are 13 wise women that bless Brier and the 13th one comes and curses the child that on her 15th birthday she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel. When Brier-Rose turns 15, she touched the spindle and sent the entire kingdom into a 100 year sleep. The woman who curses Brier has no name, so that dehumanizes her.
In the movie Maleficent, she curses Aurora and has the same outcome. She pricks her finger and goes into a deep sleep. The entire kingdom is awake frantically awaiting for her to wake up. This time, the prince isn’t the one who wakes her up with a “true loves kiss”, Maleficent kisses Aurora on the forehead waking her up.
Maleficent acts as the Fairy Godmother in this film because she is always watching Aurora and protecting her while the three fairies are preoccupied on other things and trying to compete who takes care of her better, while in fact Maleficent takes better care of Aurora.
Another thing that is different is that Maleficent use to be a fairy herself. She had wings that got cut off, but *spoiler alert* she gets them back and lives in the forest with Aurora and herself. This film shows a whole new side of the “Evil” Maleficent. She was a nice fairy who turned evil because of humans attacking the forest where she lived.
I chose the story of Cinderella to discuss. Ironically, I didn’t know the name Grimm would come alive in Grimm’s version of the story of Cinderella. It was interesting to observe the similarities and differences of the two versions Disney film of Cinderella and the Grimm version of Cinderella. The two stories are similar in keeping with same theme of love, magic, and a happy ending for Cinderella. On the contrasting side Grimm’s version is very different in the level of gruesomeness.
Grimm’s version gave a bit more history of what happened to Cinderella ‘a stepmother. The story ties Cinderella’s grief into the story nicely as she visits her mother’s grave three times a day and weeps. Grimm’s version utilizes magic but chooses animals as the vessel that ultimately brings Cinderella’s dreams and desires into fruition. As opposed to the Disney classic where there was a fairy godmother who delivered her desires without Cinderella even really expressing what she needed.
The stepdaughters of Grimm’s version of Cinderella are fair while in Disney’s classic they were ugly. It was interesting and pathetic at the same time to witness the desperation associated with their effort to win the heart of a prince. Both step sisters cut off a portion of their foot to one day be called the queen. Both versions of the story project a sense of competition and classic story of the underdog who wins. This dynamic adds another dimension of depth to any story whether realistic or imaginary.
Everyone loves a good fairy tale. I do believe that the two stories while have some differences do depict a great illustration of fairy tale. All of the elements of fairy tale are evident. The magic, talking animals, protagonist, antagonist and finally a happy ending are conglomerate components that make a fairy tale whole. While both versions do an excellent job of their depiction of fairy tale the envelope is always pushed a little in remakes and revisions as seen in Grimm’s version.
The moral to the story is you can triumph in the face of adversity. Even though Cinderella was mistreated and unloved, the story ends with her receiving the ultimate love, the love of a prince and the promise of being queen. Cinderella didn’t only gain love, but she also gained riches, honor and fame. Cinderella could have asked the birds to attack her stepsisters and stepmother or to be met with some form of tragedy but she did not. While the providence of Cinderella’s stepsister’s and stepmother was ultimately sealed and it didn’t end well for them, Cinderella allowed fate to take its course and never asked for revenge.
April 7, 2015
Games of Thrones
In the popular fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm the struggles between the evil stepmother and the jealousy over the beautiful stepdaughter. The Grimm’s tale tells the story of how the jealous Queen hired a huntsman to kill a young princess. The huntsman couldn’t do it and told the princess to run away so the Queen couldn’t find her. Snow White came across a cottage in the woods, which belonged to the Seven Dwarfs. They invited her to live with them. The Queen found out Snow White was still alive so she drank a potion to disguise herself. While the Seven Dwarfs were at work the Queen visited Snow White and offered her an apple. Snow White took a bite and fell asleep. The Dwarfs came home and chased the Queen to the top of the mountain and lightning struck her and she fell. Never to be seen again. The Dwarfs watching over Snow White made a coffin of clear glass because they couldn’t bury her. They set the coffin on top of a mountain. A king’s son rode through and saw the coffin. The prince asked for the coffin and his servants carried the coffin away. The servants stumbled and the shaking made the poison apple fly out of her throat. She opened her eyes and sat up and said, “I’m alive.” They returned to the kingdom and lived happily ever after.
The modern version of Snow White and the Huntsman is a completely different story. It’s no longer bright, pretty pictures, and light music of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is very dark with a lot of action and violence. In the movie Snow White and the Huntsman they even portray that the woods is a very dark place and they have monsters in the woods that Snow White has to conquer. They have battle scenes in it and I also feel they make this version to attract a more adult audience. Both stories are told in very different ways for an audience in different generations. Both of these stories work well for their time period.
Disney’s Tangled was an adaptation of the original Grimm Brother’s fairy tale Rapunzel. However due to some classic “disneyafication” there are some pretty noticeable differences that make it more kid friendly. For instance the evil witch kidnaps Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled simply because she is evil, but in the original story she was given to the evil which by her father after making a deal with her. In the Disney version it would have seemed much harsher for the parents to just give up their child to a knowingly evil witch.
In an effort to add a bit more excitement to Tangled the love interest is a thief, who meets Rapunzel by chance when he is hiding from lawmen. In the Grimm Brothers’ version it was a prince who happened to be passing by the tower, heard her singing and fell in love at once.
The original version was perhaps a bit too risqué for today’s youth as Rapunzel winds up pregnant before being married, as well as the prince throwing himself out of the tower and ending up blind. Rapunzel and her bastard children spend years alone in the wild before eventually being found by the prince and returning to his kingdom. Instead in Tangled the two main characters fall in love only after spending an entire journey together and end up returning to Rapunzel’s home, where she is reunited with the parents she was taken from rather than abandoned by. Luckily for us both have a happy ending in which Rapunzel and her love interest live happily ever after. The tangled version is perhaps a bit happier as she is reunited with her parents, ensuing the values of family.
-What are these stories and versions about, and in what ways are they notably similar and different?
-What are some of the key tropes in your selected films/texts, and how do they differ from one another in terms of theme and technique?
-How do your chosen works project the Premodern world (both in “imaginary” and “realistic” ways)?
-Do these “texts” ultimately suggest different ideas and definitions of “fairy tales”? How/why so?
-Finally, what social and political ideas do your “texts” seem to project, and more to the point, what is the “moral” of each story (both for their own original time and audience and our own purposes in 2015)?
There are both similarities and differences between the Grimm version of Cinderella and Disney’s. One of the major differences that you notice is that the Grimm version is darker in many ways. For instance in the Disney version of Cinderella, she is gifted her clothes and shoes by her “fairy god-mothers.” These Fairy-god mothers is, in my opinion, how disney adapted for Cinderella’s deceased mother in the Grimm version. In the Grimm version Cinderella is gifted her clothes by a magical hazel tree which grew from a branch gifted by her father. Another major change from between the Grimm and Disney version is the appearance of the step-sisters. In the Grimm version Cinderella is described as ugly and her step-sisters are portrayed as beautiful. Disney reverses this and makes the step-sisters ugly to better fit there “evil” persona. Another difference I will discuss is that of when the Prince is searching for the girl who fits into the gold/glass slipper. In the Grimm version the step-sisters are told by their sadistic step-mother to cut off their toes or heel for they will not need to walk when they are queen. This perfectly personifies just how dark and twisted the Grimm versions of fairy tales can be. In the Disney version the step-sisters attempt to shove their gigantic feet into the small delicate slipper. Meanwhile Cinderella attempts to escape from the attic her step-mother locked her in. She eventually is able to free herself and try on the slipper. The last and final difference between the two versions is at the end. In the Disney version Cinderella marries the prince and everyone lives happily ever after. Talk about Disneyfication! In the Grimm version each one of Cinderella’s step-sisters has one of their eyes pecked out by the birds which supporter her the entire story.
I think that both the Disney and grim versions hold a very similar theme. Both tell a story of a girl who goes from rags to riches though honesty and grace. Both versions personify, what I believe in pre-modern times, was the idea of what a royal woman should be.
I believe that both versions also attempt to give a realistic version of feudal society. For example they both have a king, prince, and a court. However I think it is a little unbelievable that someone who was as low class as Cinderella would have had the chance to even meet a prince bother dance with him. But hey thats why its called a fairy tale.
I believe that while both these stories take a completely different route in completing their fairy tales, they both suggest the same ideas and definitions of a fairy tale. Both contain stories contain major characteristics of fairy tales. For example both have magic, a romantic damsel in distress, and a lesson to be learned. While I believe it is a Disney style to have a happy ending in a fairy tale I now do not believe that is the case after reading the brother’s Grimm fairy tales. That is the only distinct difference I see between the projected ideas of both stories.
I believe that both stories attempt to glorify the feudal system at the time and make it seem like “class movement” was possible. They both project their King and Prince as kind and caring, which we know was not always the case. I believe ideally though that both versions are trying to push the common theme of how hard work and honesty will pay off in the end. I think during their time it was more about getting the children treat each other nicely. I can see a mother of the pre-modern era telling her kid “if you don’t treat sister right the birds are going to peck your eye out!” I think it tells the same story in Disney’s story and for a present day audience. A present day audience will see that the evil step-sisters are treating Cinderella bad the entire movie, and in the end they are punished while Cinderella is rewarded for her hard work.
There are significant differences between the Grimm Brothers’ Little Red Riding Hood and the 2011 Red Riding Hood film, with a few similarities. The most significant factor is the simplicity aspect of the Grimm Brothers’ tale. The two brothers were quick to the point and even faster to the moral of the story. The 2011 film drifted away from the Grimm story with more drawn out details, but had more emphasis on some key points. These key points were described in the killing of the wrong wolf, the journey to grandma’s house and the filling of the wolf’s stomach with rocks. These were the only slight similarities within the two stories. The moral of the Grimm Brothers’ story stated that children should listen to their parents and not talk to strangers. I was not able to find this in the 2011 Red Riding Hood film. Valerie was the main character of the 2011 film, while a girl nicknamed “Little Red Riding Hood” was the center of attention in the Grimm tale. The two stories seemed to take different paths. The 2011 film strayed away from the simple aspects of the Grimm tale, since it was a movie and had to be much more complex. The differences are abundant between the two. These include the huntsman never saving Little Red Riding Hood in the movie, the grandmother never tricks the second wolf and instead is killed in the movie and Valerie’s parents are not very stable, with the the father being the werewolf. These are just some of the differences displayed, while there are many more. The Grimm fairy tale seems to project the moral of the story, while the 2011 film seems to appeal to the majority and make more of a action filled remake. The film also provokes the Premodern world in a more realistic way with the setting and the characters it produces. The film does have magical elements with the werewolf, while the Grimm tale is more straightforward with the talking wolf. I also believe that these tales do not have a set time period because both could be told in different eras. The Grimm tale is simple, while the film is more complex and both could appeal to different generations. Overall, there are significant differences between each telling of the same tale, with slight similarities.
Fairy tales have a way of reflecting the current time periods of their demographic origin in the best ways to appeal to their audience, whether it be children, adults, or both. This post will focus on one specific fairy tale and the similarities and differences it endures throughout its 200+ years of existence. The fairy tale, Little Snow White, was first written by the Grimm’s brothers in 1812. Walt Disney’s rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came out as a film in 1937. All three versions share similarities and differences in terms of their way of portraying similar stories with the same themes, how they project the pre-modern world in imaginary and realistic ways, suggestions of what fairy tales consist of due to time periods, social and political ideas, and the morals taught in each fairy tale.
It is important to note that the Grimm’s version of Little Snow White was intended for adults and not children in Germany during the early 1800’s. Although the basic storyline is similar to Walt Disney’s version 125 years later, the differences within them are meaningful when comparing the two, especially since Disney’s primary audience is children, but also adults. This can be otherwise explained as the “Disneyfication” of fairy tales. Reasons for changes from the literary version to the filmic version is all centered around current time periods and most importantly, how much money it brings to the box office. Walt Disney knew that if he kept Snow White as a 7 year old, a queen being envious of her would be controversial in the late 30’s in America. Not to mention going off with a prince. So, he added a few years to make these such things more acceptable to appeal to his audience and eventually go on to be – debatably – one of the most intelligent and successful businessmen of all time. Other changes include how the relationship of Snow White and her mother are non-existent in Disney’s version and she is just an orphan obeying her step mother’s wishes – a common theme in most Disney movies before the 1980’s. The dwarfs are more playful in the Disney version and have more of a role because they are seen as a comic relief. Perhaps this is Disney’s way to appeal to children better and mask how women were really treated in this era, and how this time period was not a happy one. In the Grimm version, the dwarfs seem to be more protective over Snow White because the witch tries to kill Snow White three times, opposed to just once like in Disney’s. Similarly, both versions reflect the 19th century in the sense that women often died giving birth and women were to obtain gender roles such as being domesticated. Both versions advertised Snow White picking up after seven men happily: the only difference being in the Grimm version the dwarfs made her in order for her to live there and in the Disney version she cooked and cleaned by choice. Perhaps this change was made when making the film so women did not feel a need to refrain from doing household chores in the 30’s after seeing this movie. Women in power are seen as evil in both versions. A mirror is used in both to symbolize the queen’s – or really – the witch’s vanity. The Grimm version shows Snow White punishing the witch once Snow White is queen by forcing her to dance with hot iron heels on until she died. Disney omitted this from his version because a princess is supposed to be dainty, incapable of making her own decisions, let her prince call all the shots, and kill the witch to be seen as the hero. Right from the beginning of Disney’s version, the prince is introduced to imply that Snow White will eventually need him to rescue her as the “damsel in distress,” another common theme in many Disney fairy tales. Once she is saved by her Prince, in both versions, she seemed to have “matured.” This implies that women in society need men to survive, and in order for women to mature, they must depend on men for guidance.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was animated in 1937 and was considered to be Walt Disney’s first masterpiece. The original Brother Grimm story was a dark adaptation of Snow White because it involved many gruesome acts. The Evil Step mother in Disney’s Snow White ordered a huntsman to kill her stepdaughter out of jealousy. The Huntsman has pity on the girl and returns to the evil stepmother with the heart of a boar. In the Grimm Fairytales the evil mother proceeds by eating the boars heart. It goes to show how sinister one can be through jealousy. The Stepmother finds out that the girl is still alive in the woods and gives her a poison apple and she ultimately dies. The Disney story tells the story of how a prince comes and saves her with a kiss, but in the Grimm tales the prince is necrophilia. He tricks the Dwarfs into giving him the dead body and carries her off in a coffin. The Princess is saved because the Prince drops the coffin and dislodges the apple from her throat. In the end of both adaptions of snow white, they get married. In the end of the Grimm Tales as a bonus, the evil mother was forced to dance in scorching hot iron boots until she died.
The moral of these two adaptions has something to do with lust. The evil mother took the story to an extreme level, but it goes to show what humans are capable of. Another key aspect is the actions of the huntsman. He was going to kill the girl for some money, but understood that life is more precious than anything in the world. Both stories were nature based, and the evil mother was always in her castle. These two things reflect the pre-modern era because of castles and log cabins in the middle of the woods. There were princes and princesses and large swords. The Disney adaption appeals more to children because it was not as gruesome as the Grimm tales. The Grimm tales were intended to be read by adults and therefore Disney had to censor some things. I found it interesting that Grimm tales had the evil Queen as her mother, but Disney changed it to stepmother to not scare the children.
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is the classic tale of good and evil, which tells of the evil sorceress Maleficent cursing innocent Princess Aurora. No one really knows why Maleficent does this to young princess Aurora, mostly conveying the fact that it is done out of pure evil. The story tends to focus more on the princess, in accordance the name of the movie is “sleeping beauty”, this only helps to enhance that fact that the film is going to focus on Aurora. Also the love story is between Aurora and the prince. There is no real relationship between Aurora and Maleficent.
In the new Disney adaptation Maleficent, the lines between good and evil are blurry in that, there is no clear evil. The movie gives the history of Maleficent and why a person would ever want to harm a sweet innocent child, such as Aurora. Maleficent was in love, and betrayed by Aurora’s father (the eventual king). Aurora’s father sought to move up in class so much that he decided to cut Maleficent’s magnificent wings off just to be king. Even after cursing Aurora, Maleficent still keeps an eye on her (showing the good inside her), and it is clear that there is an unspoken bond between the two. As oppose to the conflict being between Maleficent and Aurora in the Disney version, the real conflict is between the king and Maleficent. What really made this tale different was the fact that true love’s kiss was not dependant on the stereotypical prince, coming to rescue his princess. Maleficent actually cared for Aurora so much so that she brought Aurora back out of her own unbreakable curse.
I think that Maleficent is a lot more believable in terms of the power of love. It gives time for the relationship between the two girls to grow, and it is a true friendship and mutual love for each other that grows. The Disney version depends on the false hope of “love at first sight”.
Cinderella told by the brothers Grimm was a pretty dark story. Yet, Cinderella herself shined as the epitome of purity and innocence throughout. This was why, in the end, she got her prince over her wicked sisters despite her evil stepmother’s plans. Some view her as too innocent and not a good role model as she was a very passive character. This opinion is seen in the modern retelling, Ever After. This movie makes Cinderella a completely different person. Instead of just doing as her step family orders, it gives more background onto her father and how he raised her to be independent. She does not catch the prince’s eye because of her beauty, but because of her brains. She is a clever character with many strong opinions that she is always willing to share even if they are not wanted. The movie displays this as her deserving to be a ruler because of her wisdom instead of her purity.
During the time of the original tale, women were supposed to be gentle, quiet, and kind. The modern retelling from ’98 takes this and only keeps the last trait changing the first two to strong and opinionated. This Cinderella is not a doormat and she knew exactly what she wanted in life. She was strong female lead and it goes to show how much has changed in time as to what people value in a story.
Despite having talked about it a bit already, I believe that Cinderella is probably the simplest to tackle. In the trailer we saw, after all, it was called a “timeless classic” and such holds true that it is one of the few Disney films I actually have seen / know of. It’s also got some very timeless and definitive tropes to be found in the story. Namely, there is the Damsel; there are the Steps (evil Stepmom, evil Stepsister, etc.), the Godmother or Mother (in the case of the poem we read on Cinderella) and the Prince. I’d be insulting you to explain what these trope-characters are: we know the tales. But for the record, the Damsel is the weak-woman who’s always in trouble seemingly, and is essentially getting handouts from fate to get by. The Steps are the jerk-off relatives that just don’t love. The Godmother is the most interesting: the role of a Godparent is to raise a child with their parent’s beliefs in mind. I find the “god” being tacked on makes it sanctimonious: but that’s a different discussion. The Prince is part of that fate-ly handout. He’s the rich, pretty boy rescue that saves the Damsel.
As far as characters go, they are the same between the three versions of Cinderella (the poem, Disney, Grimm). The only difference comes in the poem; where there are instead of a Godmother there is an actual mother, albeit deceased. Her will is carried out by the birds that represent her (or perhaps they’re just well-intentioned). In the poem the roles of the characters are twisted a bit to fit into a modern light but their frameworks are very noticeable none the less.
In terms of plot difference, the poem and the Grimm’s are pretty closely related now. Disney changes the more gruesome of the parts of the book. The stepsisters don’t cleave their feet like cookie-cutters to fit a shoe too small. They also don’t have their eyes pecked out into hollow holes. Grimm and the poem maintain this. Obviously since the Grimm story is the original (or closest to the original), we can only assume it was violent to teach a lesson, or because it was part of the culture of the story. The more interesting question is why did the poem have this remain? The obvious answer is the poem is more adult-oriented and aimed towards a more mature audience: a group of people that can stomach this material.
I would say that the poem, being the more distinctive of the two tales, sort of does try to change what a fairy tale is. More importantly, it tries to show us that fairy tales captivate the imagination, and as such, are timeless. If I had written a million versions of Cinderella before the Industrial Revolution, I feel it would not have mattered how many times I had varied it, until we saw the future. And in this future, sometimes we feel that economy and politics and status are the most important things, and as such, tradition and the past are well behind us. Perhaps this is partially true; however, fairy tales are with us, and the modern Cinderella story goes to show us just that.
Disney’s “Cinderella” has concepts that are completely different than the original story. In the 1950 film, Cinderella’s status was left ambiguous by the film. Her fairy godmother is the one who gets her ready for the ball, rather than the pigeons in the Grimm’s. The story is adapted to appeal to a younger audience, so Disney omitted the more “gruesome” aspects. In the original tale, Cinderella’s stepmother cuts parts off of her own daughter’s feet in order to trick the Prince into marrying them. Also, at the end, Cinderella’s Pigeons punish the sisters by pecking their eyes out while they’re at her wedding. Disney changed the story to the stepsiblings having to now wait on her hand and foot. Oddly enough, the original context is slowly starting to make it’s way back into the industry. Modern films such as Into the Woods and, Cinderella (2015) are closer to Grimm. Still, the “Disney Image” will constantly be understood as light and family friendly.
For this response I have chosen the Disney version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and the live action ‘Maleficent’ to compare and contrast. These two movies were two completely different takes on the classic story of Princess Aurora and Maleficent who in the first movie seems to just be a generic villain, but in the live action ‘Maleficent’ she is elaborated upon and given a very well done backstory.
Now some of the similarities that remained between these two films include the character cast (Maleficent, Aurora, King Stefan, the queen, and even the 3 fairies who acted as Aurora’s godmothers) although the cast’s were fundamentally the same the characters played vastly different roles, like King stefan is portrayed as the true villain in ‘Maleficent’ while Maleficent is the villain in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Maleficent becomes Aurora’s godmother in ‘Maleficent’ and grows to love her, regretting casting the curse upon her, and taking care of her when it was proved the 3 fairies were incapable of doing so.
The main plot point of the first movie, Aurora being cursed by Maleficent, remains the same although the reason for this happening was vastly different, in the original movie Maleficent’s actions were explained by no other reason but that she was not invited to the christening of Aurora. In Maleficent this act was done in revenge for king Stefan cutting off Maleficent’s wings.
When it comes down to in these two movies were made for different audiences, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ which was made for children and ‘Maleficent’ which was made for adults who have seen the original sleeping beauty. This can be seen in that the original movie was very plain in terms of story, Maleficent in bad the prince and king are good end of story. But in ‘Maleficent’ it’s much more complicated than that which would be lost in the eyes of children. ‘Maleficent’, although being a disney film, is less of a disneyfied story than ‘Sleeping Beauty’ although still not to the level of some of the Grimm Brother’s stories which were much more gruesome and inappropriate.
The Brother’s Grimm story of “Rapunzel” and Disney’s recently released film “Tangled” are both tales that concentrate around a central premise yet differ in so many ways. “Tangled” is a family derived film attracting a friendly, generally younger audience by bringing simple comedy with a witty plot adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm original.
The original version, “Rapunzel”, was a story of a peasant awaiting the arrival of the classic “Prince Charming”. Prince Charming in this tale fits the classic hero mold along with Rapunzel as the “damsel in distress”. This clearly differs from Disney’s film “Tangled” where Rapunzel seems to be the complete opposite of a “damsel in distress” by being strong, independent, and completely man-handling Flynn upon breaking into her tower. Along with these differences is the background of our “hero” Flynn. Is he actually a hero? When in reality he is just a thief escaping his troubles and does nothing but just stumble upon Rapunzel’s tower. The difference between the two male roles in this situation is clearly opposite which in a way gives an interesting approach for the newer film.
The Brother’s Grimm version of this tale depicts Rapunzel as a simple beauty awaiting to fall in love with the first hero to come and save her. Comparing this to “Tangled” is clearly different. The chemistry between Flynn and Rapunzel starts as a rough first impression but in the end, the same result. Both versions end with a strong loving relationship or a “happily ever after”, as they say, which keeps the overall same general concept of the Grimm’s tale even though the character development, interaction, and background of those characters are all different.
For this blog post, I decided to write about the fairytale, Cinderella, comparing Walt Disney’s 1950s animated film and the original Brothers Grimm fairytale. However, when I did some light research on the film, I discovered the animated film is not based on the Brothers Grimm version but rather Charles Perrault’s version called Cendrillion written in French. In Perrault’s version there is a Fairy Godmother, a glass slipper and all of the same elements of Walt Disney’s version adults and children have loved for over sixty years. The Perrault version tells the story of a girl who’s father was a widower and he remarried a proud and haughty woman. The woman had two daughters who were equally vain and selfish, just like their mother was. Between the stepmother and step daughters, the three women would taunt Cinderella daily with the chores and menial tasks making her work day and night. One day, the prince invited all the ladies of the land to attend a ball, which the stepmother and step sisters were quick to tell Cinderella she was not allowed to attend because she was a maid. After the sisters departed, Cinderella cried and her Fairy Godmother appeared. She granted Cinderella a night at the ball, turning a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, gifting her with a gown and glass slippers. However, these objects were simply spells and the spell would break at midnight. Cinderella attended the ball and entranced the entire court and guests with her beauty, including the Prince. The Prince held a second ball where he fell in love with Cinderella even more. But this second night, Cinderella lost track of time and left the ball with the final stroke of midnight. During her hasty exit from the ball, she left behind a glass slipper, which the prince found and kept. The prince was determined to find the woman who wore the glass slipper and make her his wife. He traveled to each house in the land to allow all the women to try on the glass slipper, but not one lady could fit in the shoe. When the prince arrived at Cinderella’s home, she asked to try on the glass slipper as the stepsisters taunted her. The shoe had fit and Cinderella produced the matching slipper to prove it was a perfect match. The stepsisters begged Cinderella for forgiveness, which she ultimately gave as Cinderella went off to marry the prince and the sisters married lords.
As discussed in class about the “disneyfication” of these stories, this particular one is not wrong or changed as much as we once thought. In the Grimm version, there is no Fairy Godmother, or glass slippers (they are gold in this version), no limit until midnight, instead her father tried to catch her out of the house, and most importantly, there is gruesome and violent details that Perrault and Walt Disney do not touch on. The Grimm’s version includes the stepsisters cutting of their toes and heels for the shoe then they are blinded by pigeons at the wedding. Although there are many versions of this timeless tale, the moral remains the same, if you have the courage to pursue something, the right tools will come along to help you get there. Walt Disney can be criticized for his take on fairy tales, but his vision and goal for children’s entertainment succeeds and has an impact on all. In the Magic Kingdom, in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, there is a statue of Cinderella in her servant clothes looking down at her animal friends. This statue creates two points of view. If you are and adult, from the average height, it looks like Cinderella is looking down and just living her life as a servant. Whereas from the child’s point of view when they look up at her face, they see her smiling and enjoying her life. Also from this point of view, the painted wall behind her as a crown in it. From the child’s view, Cinderella is actually “wearing” the crown. This attention to detail as well as having an influence on a child point of view of Cinderella is important, not for the rags to riches story, but life is what you make of it. Sure, in Disney’s version, Cinderella was a servant but her animal friends made her happy and she made the most of her situation.
The fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm was the first adapted animated film by Walt Disney Studios. The Disney film however is titled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and has some major changes to the fairy tale. First of all, Disney added songs and singing to the movie so that it would be more successful to little children. Secondly, the huntsman after letting Snow White go presents a boar’s heart to the queen instead of a boar’s lungs and liver. The ending is the biggest change that Disney studios did to the Grimms’ fairy tale. In the film Snow White is killed after one attempt from the evil queen but in the story she tries three times. More importantly is the way that Snow white is revived from death. In the fairy tale she is placed in her glass coffin and as the dwarfs stumble carrying her away the apple she ate that killed her is dislodged from her throat and she is saved. In the film the prince after searching for Snow White finds her at the funeral, he then opens her coffin and kisses Snow White. Because it is a kiss of true love the curse placed on the apple is lifted and they live happily ever after. Each version also had a different punishment for the queen in the fairy tale the queen has to dance at Snow White’s wedding with burning shoes and dance until she dies. The film has her death as an act of nature, as the queen is about to kill the dwarfs the cliff she is standing on is struck by lightning and she falls to her death. Personally I like Disney’s ending more but that is because I have grown up on Disney films my whole life and since I’m a 90’s baby the Disney Renaissance was my childhood. There is no doubt the impact that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has created for films and has created the formula for every animated fairy tale after.
In the Little Snow White, a Brothers’ Grimm tale, Snow White was a young child of the King. Her mother died, the King remarried, and her stepmother is the evil antagonist. A huntsman was hired to kill her and remove her heart and liver. The queen got a bear’s organs which she eat after the huntsman let Snow White go. She successfully kills her three times when she came to Snow White disguised, each time she was brought back by the dwarves. In Disney’s Snow White, she didn’t die multiple times. The huntsman wasn’t there at all, and thus no mention of cannibalism. Also the in the Disney version they put lots of happy animals all around. A true loves kiss brings her back life. In the Grimm version, she coughs up the poison apple piece. The Prince is her brother or half- brother and basically buys her body and glass coffin from the dwarves. The Grimm version puts a spotlight on death and has the queen tortured to death by red hot iron shoes at the end. The Disney’s version puts a spotlight on love and maybe the role of women, as she spent the movie waiting for prince charming.
Disney’s Cinderella compared to Grimm’s version are not that much different. Both tend to have a rags to riches story mixed in with good things happen to those who wait. However, the Disney adaptation of it was less dark, less gruesome, and geared towards children rather than Grimm’s version which was made for adults. The differences lies in that in the Grimm’s version, the sisters toes and heel were cut to fit in the shoes and then at the wedding, the sisters eyes were pecked out by pigeons. Along with these differences is the lack of a fairy godmother in Grimm’s Cinderella, which is what everyone who grew up watching Disney movie’s are used to. Instead, of a fairy Godmother, it was a giving tree. I can see why Disney would replace that, making a fairy godmother appeals more to children then a giving tree. With that being said, they both depict the typical elements we associate with fairy tales; the magic, the princess,the prince, love, etc.. I guess what they are trying to get through to people with these tales is that good things happen to good to people, which is shown to be true in both versions.
There are many differences and similarities between the Grimm’s tale Rapunzel and the Disney’s film Tangled. In Grimm’s version, Rapunzel is a “lost” peasant who is rescued by charming prince. In the Disney film Tangled, the roles are switched where Rapunzel is a lost princess and Flynn is a thief on the run. In the Disney film, Rapunzel helps Flynn extinguish his criminal record and ultimately become a prince when they get married. In the Grimm’s version the roles are switched. This is another similarity with a change in the roles of characters. Another change of the roles would be how dominant in fighting and defending herself Rapunzel is in the Disney film. This is a big change from the film compared to Grimm’s text. When one looks at both versions it is clear why the change has happened. Grimm wrote Rapunzel in 1812, this was a time where men where dominant and in fairy tails were vision as a “night in shinning armor” or “prince charming.” The Disney film Tangled was published in 2010, this is nearly 200 years later, in this time woman’s role on society has changed dramatically. This is the main reason why the film changed roles and went a different direction from the original text by Grimm.
In both Disney’s and Grimm’s Cinderella the outline of the story stays the same. A young girl who her family takes advantage of, gets a make over and goes to a ball where she meets a young price. As she loves the ball, she looses a shoe and the prince looks for her based on the shoe looking for the perfect fit. A lot of other events that cause the story to take place are much different. In Disney’s version, Cinderella lives with her step mom and step sister. Her step sisters are described as being very ugly and terrible people, for story telling purposes it makes them much easier to hate. They fact that they are described as ugly people and terrible people is showing that how people are on the inside reflects how they look on the outside. In the Grim’s version the step family while they are terrible to Cinderella they are not described to be as ugly as they are in the Disney story. Another big switch is the Grimm version has magical birds that give Cinderella everything that she needs. While in Disney she has a fairy Godmother to help her out along with animal friends that help her out. The Godmother serves as a way for a wholesome mother figure to step in and help out Cinderella as she is in need. While these are big differences it is nothing compared to the violence that is taken out of the Grimm version. When the prince is looking for whoever the shoe belonged to, he stops at Cinderella’s house and step sisters comes out and try on the shoe they go to extreme measures to get that shoe to fit. One of the sisters cuts off one of her toes, while the cuts off the heel. They scenes are described to be very bloody. While in the Disney version the shoes does not fit any of the step sisters, they try and force their foot in but never cut off any parts of their foot. In both stories Cinderella comes out and tries not he shoe and it is a perfect fit and she goes with the price. Disney took a classic tale like Cinderella kept a lot of the same story lines and structure but they toned it down and provided more entertainment for children.
The stories I compared were Cinderella and Rapunzel, mainly because they are the two most famous Grimm Brothers tales that were Adapted by Disney. In the Grimm Brothers Cinderella a very different picture is painted from the Disney version, it is not all bright and colorful and full of magic joyfulness. It goes into very dark places as far as Fairy tales go such as when Cinderella’s step sisters take a knife and start cutting off toes and heals in order for the “magic” shoe to fit. But aside from the graphic nature of the original texts it also contains dark moments that aren’t graphic but sad and depressing. After Cinderella is not permitted to attend the Ball and everyone has left the house she goes to her mothers grave and she begins to weep. This line taken directly from the texts paints a very bleak picture. (“It’s no use. You are not coming with us, for you have no clothes, and you don’t know how to dance. We would be ashamed of you.” With this she turned her back on Cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters.Now that no one else was at home, Cinderella went to her mother’s grave beneath the hazel tree, and cried out:Shake and quiver, little tree,Throw gold and silver down to me.) Cinderella’s home life is one of hardship and shame, her family always looks down on her and treat her with neglect as if she was a pet they didn’t around anymore and didn’t care what happened to her. In this regard Disney was able to capture the home life struggles of Cinderella without any of the darker undertones. As a child seeing Cinderella and her “evil step mother and sisters” I did think of them as the villains of the story and saw them as evil, but the way Disney portrays “evil” is not the way I would think of evil now as an adult. In Disney the villains are often comical and not overly intimidating. Often they more goofy because they are acting and believing they are evil while doing things that I would not consider to evil such as ordering Cinderella clean all of the house while the rest of us attend a Ball. Things such as this are often done in Disney films but they always have a lighthearted tone to them which make them more geared towards children. But in the Grimm Brothers Tales the tone is very ominous and when I read the line about Cinderella crying over her mothers grave, I picture a dark scene of a graveyard and a girl who has no love from her family and the one who loved is in a grave.
Grimm’s stories were written for children, similar to the way Disney is targeted towards children, but meant to be enjoyable for the older audience as well. The reason we, as Twentieth and Twenty-First Century viewers, see these stories as “for adults” is because our morals and outlook on life and childhood have changed since the Nineteenth Century. Cinderella is the most overused example because it is the best example, as it was one of the Grimm brothers’ less dark tales (such as the somnophilia found in Sleeping Beauty, or the necrophilia found in Snow White), and one with the simplest story. When taking on the Cinderella story in the early 1950s, Disney created their least changed fairy tale, as the morals are similar, and the story arc the same. They swapped a dead mother’s tree for a fairy god mother, mice for birds, gold slippers for glass, and took away the bloody end. Four changes of a more aesthetic value that better fit an animated picture, realistically, is not that drastic.
Fairy tales are targeted towards the time. In the pre-Grimm version, they were meant for the lower class. The Grimm brothers, once lower class themselves, changed the identity to fit the middle class and middle class, Protestant values, reinforcing gender roles and removing much of the female protagonist’s existing agency. Grimm’s Cinderella is submissive, modest, obedient, kind, and patient; in return, she is rewarded with marriage. The manipulative step-mother (who was her biological mother in the original folktale) and step-sisters (once “fair of face, but black of heart”) were punished violently. Similarly, Disney took these values, characters, and plot, and applied them to a post-WWII, 1950s setting.
Many of the changes, such as the step-sister’s appearances or the glass slipper, are exaggerated because the story transitioned into film. Cinderella’s personality is not that different than the Grimm version’s, though she is more likely to protest her position and more accepts it because she has no other choice rather than because she is purely patient, because the 1950s were still a very sexist time. Fairy tales are meant as socialization tools, and a film is no different than a short story or oral tale.
Just last month, a new Cinderella in a line of many was released, directly based not on just the fairy tale, but also the animated version. The symbols are the same, and even the personality of the character close to the original Disney take, but it is definitely targeted to a modern audience. This new Cinderella has agency, accepting her magical help but also making her own decisions. It puts focus on the prince’s story, too, and the love story is not about Cinderella getting what she deserves as a reward for being the perfect example of a modern woman, but because these are two people who make each other better.
Snow White, both the Disney version and the Grimm version, is a “rags to riches’ tale. Although the versions differ in the way that the Prince is mentioned and the role he has through out the story, Snow White goes from practically being an orphan to a princess; this reiterates the importance of class in both the Grimm’s times and the Disney times. Both also are very clear in the role of the female (Snow) versus the role of the the males (the seven dwarfs, the prince). Snow White cooks and cleans while the dwarfs are “off to work they go”. Snow White, in both versions, is domesticated. The differences include the playfulness of the dwarfs in the Disney version, versus the parental role of the dwarfs in the Grimm version, though in both versions, she is warned of strangers by the dwarfs. Another difference is the amount of times the evil queen tries to kill Snow White (in the Disney version, only once; in the Grimm version, three whole times). The Disney version introduces the Prince very early on the story, giving him a more significant role than that of the Grimm version. The Disney version seems to be more about waiting for her prince to come, while the Grimm version seems to focus more on the problems between mother and daughter.
Cinderella is the ultimate “rags to riches” story, hence the popular phrase “a Cinderella story” when referring to someone who has been financially successful coming from nothing. To state the obvious, Cinderella in both versions faces a lot of hardships with the abuse from her step mother and step sisters, but the Disney version is a “soft” version of the Grimm version. The step sisters and step mother in the Grimm version stop at nothing to make the shoe fit by cutting off toes and parts of their heels. The effort of the family is much less vulgar and dramatic in the Disney version. Once again, both versions play into the gender roles. Cinderella can only be a success and escape the abuse of her family if a man comes to her rescue. And AGAIN, the underrated beautiful, yet “pathetic”, female dreamer falls into luck when the handsome, strong prince with a high class status and financial promise wants to marry her. Both speak to how important class was (to the times and to Walt Disney), but the Grimm version is much deeper and darker than the colorful and hopeful animation made for the young and impressionable audience.
In Rapunzel this same type of situation occurs were Disney has to make a rather dark story watchable fro children, and having the Hansom Prince falling from a tower and having his eyes gouged out on a thorn bush probably won’t sit well with the parents of the children who see it. the reason why the Grimm tales are so much darker is probably because of the time the Grimm brothers lived in and they wanted to give children a reason to listen to their parents about the dangers of the world and to have them know what the consequences of their actions might be if they didn’t listen to their parents. Disney Fairy Tales do something similar in the sense that they give children a source to look at and learn from but not by scaring them into it, but by teaching them what happens when you are good person like the Princess or Prince who the heroes that the viewer is meant to look up to and be inspired by. Disney storytelling is more lead by example and be like the heroes of the story where as the Grimm tales are more about using fear to scare children strait. In Rapunzel when the prince finally does make it to her in the tower they proceed to engage in sex in the original story because it is a story of a women locked up in solitude and has not seen a man for a very long time. This would not be possible in a Disney film once again because of the graphic nature of the original stories. The Grimm brothers stories are a reflection of the time and place they grew up in and their stories were influenced by their surroundings. It reminds me of joke on Family Guy when they make a joke about German Bedtime stories in which a boy wouldn’t stop sucking his thumbs so his mother cut them off the end. It is a satirical joke about the Grimm brothers and the type of stories that they inspired and how truly dark and graphic they were even though they were meant for children.
In Disney’s original version of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is portrayed as a witch of pure evil who curses the infant Aurora because the Royal Family did not her to Aurora’s christening, which is more than enough to set the evil Maleficent on a course of terror. However in the remake which is geared more toward an older audience through the use of a darkness of the hearts of men, Maleficent has more depth as to what caused her to behave this way. The remake tells a story of love, betrayal, and revenge and Maleficent is not naturally evil (and was once one of the most loving, beautiful, and caring fairies in her childhood) but was made evil because the young king, who was once her friend and love interest drugged her and tore off young Maleficent’s wings in order to gain control of the throne. Maleficent also protects Aurora from the curse and does all that she can in order keep the princess away from the spindle.
Both of these movies give the idea that love conquer’s all and that when Aurora falls into her eternal slumber, the only thing that can save her is a kiss of true love. The love that awakens the princess however is not the same. In the original, Prince Philip is the one who kisses the sleeping princess and is her savior and they live happily ever after; however in the new version, what saves Aurora is the kiss from Maleficent who has protected, watched over, and cared for Aurora all of her life as a mother would. This familial love is what breaks the curse and brings so much more depth and emotion than the original generic princess story.
Comparing Red Riding Hood by David Johnson to Little Red-Cap by Brothers Grimm, Red Riding Hood presents a much darker more sinister mood compared to Little Red-Cap. This idea of the wolf, the person who would go after Red, is translated different between the two where Red Cap has what one would consider a “regular” wolf, one that lives in the woods while Red Riding has a person that transform between human and animal form.
Little-Cap’s theme was about listening to the parents and never straying off the path where Red Riding is more about the empowering of females as the heroine, Valerie a.k.a. Red Riding Hood, becoming a hunter in the end and standing her ground.
The huge difference seen with these themes is that Red-Cap has a more passive girl who requires help to escape the wolf where Red Rising has a more active girl who does not play the role of being helpless, rather, she fights back and shows she is not so helpless.
In the Grimm brother’s fairy tale The Frog Prince a spoiled princess unwillingly befriends a frog that just so happens to be a prince cursed by a magic spell. Although many people believe that the way to turn a frog back into a prince is from receiving a kiss from a princess, this is not the case in the Grimm version. In the Grimm brother’s version, the frog turns back into a prince after he eats from the princess’s plate and sleeps in the her bed for three nights. Once he becomes a prince he ask the princess to stay with him and get married. Without any resistance, she gladly accepts his offer of a luxurious life in his kingdom. Another version of this story is E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess. Although the base is the same story as the Grimm’s tale, it gives an unexpected twist to the story. In Baker’s version the princess, Emma, is told she must marry a stuck-up prince, who just so happens to be her worst enemy. She then runs away and crosses paths with Prince Eadric. However, Prince Eadric is a frog that was cursed by an evil witch. He tells Emma that the only way he can become a human is if she kisses him. She (reluctantly) kisses him and at this point is where he is supposed to turn back into a handsome prince. Yet, the kiss backfires and instead turns Emma into a frog. The 2009 Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog is loosely based off of E.D. Baker’s version. However, Disney takes it upon themselves to add in the “Disney formula” to make the story more appealing. They do this by making the princess an ordinary strong, young, and beautiful female that is not a princess at all. This female is Tiana and she is portrayed as a passionate, hard-working, and independent young lady that wants to make her dreams of owning her own restaurant a reality. Where the older versions of this story make the female role a princess that is naïve, Disney made it a point to relieve Tiana of the “damsel in distress” role. The made her a role model for the young girls watching the film. The one thing all of these versions have in common is the magical transformation from a frog to a human. However, this films transformation is the same as E.D. Baker’s version where the “princess” turns into a frog instead. Although it seems as if Tiana is out of luck in the film when she becomes a frog, she eventually learns more about her self and her frog prince companion. Just as in most Disney films, The Princess and the Frog ends with Tiana and her frog prince getting married as frogs, turning back into humans, and living happily ever after. Although these versions of the same story have bits and pieces changed, the overall happy ending is the same. Of course there is more to this story, but in order for me to fully explain the importance of this film, I would need to write a short novel.
Grimms vs. Disney
The Brothers Grimm’s version of Rapunzel is significantly different than the Tangled movie modern audiences have come to love. The same basic plot line is the same: Rapunzel is stolen by an evil woman, Rapunzel meets the prince, then the couple lives happily ever after. Grimms’ version depicts the princess as a girl born to common people, whereas Disney has her born a princess. The Grimms tell of an angry fairy/witch type woman, though Disney portrays the kidnapper as just a greedy woman with no supernatural powers. The manly love interest in Grimms’ version is a prince, but Disney depicts him as a charming outlaw. The Brothers Grimm allude to the fact that Rapunzel and her Prince have sex (thus later she bores him twin children), but Disney keeps Rapunzel chaste, loving her prince with all but her body. This is the point of the story where the versions really derail from one another. The Grimms have the fairy cut Rapunzel’s hair, then cast the princess out of her tower dooming her to wander the wilderness with her children. The prince then falls out of the tower and is blinded, only to later meet up with Rapunzel, who heals his eye wounds with tears. Disney, rather than that sexual suggestion and gore, has the princess and her man go on an adventure to discover her true parentage. Along the journey, kidnapper Mother Gothel traps them, stabs the outlaw, and cuts Rapunzel’s hair. It’s okay, Rapunzel’s healing magic was in her heart, not her hair.
The Brothers Grimm story is based heavily in the land Patriarchism. Peasant Rapunzel is raised to royal status by a charming albeit horny prince. Since the princess is untruthful and sinful, she is punished with a banishment of sorts. The villain, portrayed as a fairy, is suggestive of the the demonization of femininity and paganism. As far as Rapunzel healing her prince with tears, this miracle promotes the power or persuasion that a woman’s tears can hold, as if tears and sex can be their only weapon and defense. Disney progresses far into the modern realm with Tangled. First, we have the Princess Rapunzel raising outlaw Flynn Rider to a royal station, not the reverse. Mother Gothel, a non-magical yet beautiful woman, is made the satirical villain, only worrying about her outer beauty and forgetting her potential inner-goodness. We see in Gothel the problems with vanity. The lack of sex is obviously so the story can play to a younger audience. Both versions end with some sort of happiness, which to pessimists is not a realistic resolution. As a future parent, I would rather expose my child to Disney’s version of this tale as opposed to Grimms’. While the Brothers Grimm story expresses some real life hardships, it lacks a strong moral basis in comparison to Disney’s Tangled.