Category Archives: Response 1

Hansel and Gretel Rewarded

In the story “Hansel and Gretel” by Brothers Grimm, the children are abandoned by their parents twice, and each time they would appeal to God reassuring themselves that God would protect them. The true act of courage and ingenuity that the children was able to build up was because of the power of God.

In the biblical stories, God gave wisdom to Moses and was able to split the Red Sea and lead His people across and even in this fairy tale, God gave wisdom to Hansel and Gretel, allowing them to overcome dangers with their step-mother and the evil witch. As a child, one is not able to use their wits to the point of saving their lives because the minds function slowly and increase as they become older. The power of God allowed these kids to come back to their house the first time and defeat the witch of her evil scheme. Hansel, the brother, thought of ideas to be safe with her younger sister and each time, he would advise that “the Lord will protect us” (186). The Lord is referred to God and this reassures Gretel that they would be safe as long as they believed.

Coloration was also included in this fairy tale that hinted on the acts of God. Each time the two siblings are led out into the forest, Gretel says “I’m looking at my white kitten, which is sitting on the roof trying to bid me farewell” and “I’m looking at my little dove, the one sitting on the roof and trying to bid me farewell” (185-186) implying the color white, which associates to God. These invisible animals suggests that God may not be seen, but He will always watch over them. Even as they were lost in the forest, a beautiful bird, white as snow, perched on a branch and led them to a house made of sugars (187) and a white duck helped Hansel and Gretel to cross a large body of water (189). Throughout the story, the use of white is shown through animals as seen in the biblical reference of Jonah because he was able to live through the storm when a whale swallowed him up by the commands of God.

The knowledge of Hansel and Gretel and the safe return to their homes with jewels and pearls were rewarded to the kids and also punished the evil step-mother and the witch through death. The works of Satan was evident through the step-mother as well as the witch as they tried to rid of the children by abandoning them and also by trying to eat them. Evidence of support from God was shown throughout the fairy tale and showed how God can give good gifts to those who believe in Him. The strong belief of God helped the siblings to be free from Satan’s evil works and earn big rewards, giving them wisdom, wealth, and happiness.

 

 

Donkeyskin and Cinderella

Beautiful and troubled, the heroines of Cinderella tales may undergo any variety of hardships and endure any number of family conflicts but, will ultimately marry her prince and live happily ever after. The heroines of Perrault’s Donkeyskin and the Brothers’ Grimm Cinderella differ in their familial relationships and the ways in which they seek help.

After the death of his queen, the king wishes to remarry. The only way he believes he can do this and keep his promise to his wife is to marry his daughter, “Donkeyskin”. Extremely upset by this proposal, Donkeyskin “wept night and day” (110). After failing to thwart her father’s efforts, she runs away from home before the marriage can take place. The Cinderella of the Grimm’s tale however, faces familial conflict not from her father, but from her cruel stepsisters. In the story, her stepsisters “ridiculed her” and “did everything imaginable to make her miserable” (116). Cinderella is able to escape them, however, with the help of kind animals.

Cinderella loved her mother dearly and wept by her grave every day. After planting a hazel branch on the grave one day, her tears nourished a tree in which doves nested. The doves would grant Cinderella’s wishes. These doves helped her go to the prince’s festival by giving her dresses “of gold and silver” (119). Because the birds came from the tree over her mother’s grave they were representative of the relationship between the two. The love Cinderella felt for her mother was what helped her meet and marry her prince. But, when Donkeyskin needed help, she turned to her fairy godmother. Her godmother gave her different advice in order to avoid her father’s proposal. And, while Donkeyskin did manage to escape, it was her own cunning that ensured her marriage to the prince. When baking a cake for the prince she hid her ring inside the dough so that “her young admirer would accept the ring” (114) and use it to find her once again.

These changes in the tales show a shift in values from personal strength and wisdom to devotion to one’s family and sense of duty. Perrault’s Donkeyskin was able to escape as a result of her own cunning and resourcefulness while Cinderellla needed the aid of the doves and is saved by being a virtuous and dutiful daughter. These changes show the shift from the older tales filled with more overt sexual themes to the more child-appropriate bedtime stories which resemble the contemporary versions we know today.

Works Cited

Tatar, Maria, ed. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W.W. Norton &, 1999. Print.

Contrast the Fathers in Donkeyskin and Cinderella

In the Tale of Cinderella, growing up there was always a sense at least from the original stories I had read that Cinderella’s father had been a kind and loving father. In, Donkeyskin and Cinderella, this is not the case. But more so then the story we read today there is a drastic difference between the Father in Donkeyskin who lusts after his own flesh and blood and cruel ignorance shown by the father in Cinderella.

 

In Donkeyskin, the father is a powerful King who was married to a beautiful and wise queen. However, when the Queen died she stated that the King could only marry a woman more beautiful, accomplished and wise than the Queen had been (109). The King agreed but, it soon becomes obvious that the king despite saying he will never marry again, wishes to have a wife again, Perrault implying subtly here that even love can be forgotten when a man has desires. The king wishes to honor his wife’s last wish but in his quest to find a new wife, the only woman he finds to be more beautiful than she is his daughter. The fact that the King desires strongly to have someone in his bed he tries to justify the fact that he wishes to marry his own daughter. However, the princess makes several demands before she will allow the king to marry her. He fulfills these requests and full but after the princess runs away we do not see the King again until the Prince and donkeyskin are marrying and by that point he has grieved for her and his love is pure again.

 

Meanwhile in Cinderella, the Father is simply a rich man who remarries after his wife dies, but instead of protecting his daughter from his original marriage; after he remarries he lets his stepdaughters verbally and mentally abuse her and lets them make her a servant for his house. Then when the prince starts to have the balls for the weddings he does not believe that his dirty, daughter could perhaps be the girl the prince is looking for. The father also makes one remark before Cinderella is fetched to put on the gold slipper in which he states “there’s only puny little Cinderella, my dead wife’s daughter, but she can’t possibly be the bride” (121).

 

So how are the two fathers different? While the King in Donkeyskin certainly tries to marry his own daughter, he never belittles her and eventually he is brought back to the power of pure love after he grieves over the absence of his child. Whereas the father in Cinderella is ignorant or doesn’t care about the abuse that his first daughter is receiving from their new family members and does not redeem himself at the end of the tale. Thus the difference is that while the King lusts after his daughter he does not verbally abuse and mistreat her as seen in Cinderella.

The Use of Magical Animals in versions of Cinderella

Though they are not the most sensational animals in real life, donkeys, cows, and doves prove to be spectacular in each of the three distinct versions of Cinderella. In each of the stories the animals act as the magical aspect of this particular fairy tale. These animals assist the hero/heroine greatly in his/her journey from rags to riches, by supplying the hero with food, assistance, or a disguise.  

In the Grimms’ version of the story the little white doves come to Cinderella’s aide, since she had planted the tree they live in and watered it with her tears.  These white doves become Cinderella’s only friends, as it appears no human in her house is willing to show her kindness.  This friendship blossomed as “three times a day, Cinderella went and sat under [the tree], and wept and prayed” (118).  After years of their friendship growing, naturally the doves would come to her assistance whenever she wanted to go to the festival.

This idea of friendship that only animals are willing to give appears as well in “The Story of Black Cow” between the little boy and the black cow. The continuously meet daily and grew a bond, that the little boy, unfortunately, could not gain from the other humans in his life, just as Cinderella and the doves. With the help of the black cow and a snake, the little boy is “clothed in gold from head to foot”(Perrault 126) and his body shines like gold. Without their help the little boy would never have married the princess and completed his transformation from near starving to death and holding “a great feast for many days”(Perrault 127).

Although “Donkeyskin” deviates from the traditional path that the other two stories follow in how they use magical animals, Master Donkey does, undoubtedly, help Donkeyskin escape from her miserable life with her father by his death stalling the marriage and then his skin providing the disguise for Donkeyskin to run away. This is once again crucial to Donkeyskin eventually living happily ever after with the prince, but the Donkeyskin does not need to befriend the donkey as she has the support from her godmother in this version. However, the skin of Master Donkey is the only thing that Donkeyskin owns while she works as a scullery maid and she forms such close bond to the skin that it eventually becomes the name everyone calls her.

The magic of the animals is not that they are intelligent enough to understand Cinderella pain or understand that the little boy was starving or that they excrete gold, but rather that their near human characteristics allow the hero/heroine to gain a friend in a world that appears to be against them. This friendship is what helps the hero/heroine gain the courage to go out and follow their dreams, though their magical abilities did benefit the hero/heroine quite a bit as well.

 

Works Cited

Tatar, Maria, ed. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W.W. Norton &, 1999. Print.

 

 

 

 

“Donkeyskin” and “Tale of the Black Cow” contrast

Charles Perrault’s “Donkeyskin” and the anonymous “The Story of the Black Cow” display several major differences. These differences include magical animals, gender, siblings, and several other differences.

While Charles Perrault’s story starts with a dying mother leaving behind a little girl for his husband to take care of, “The Story of the Black Cow” starts with a dying mother leaving behind a little boy. Most of the Cinderella stories portray a girl as the main character, showing a major difference in gender between the two stories. Although most Cinderella stories have a stepsister, Charles Perrault’s story did not consist of a sibling at all, creating yet another difference.

Both Charles Perrault’s story and the story of the anonymous had different magical creatures. In “The Story of the Black Cow”, the creatures were a black cow and a snake, however in “Donkeyskin”, they were a fairy and a donkey. The creatures in both stories, although were different, had helped their own way. The black cow, for instance, “asked for no favours for herself, but when the snake asked what she would like, she said she would like her son, as she called the Brahmin’s son, to be clothed in gold from head to foot,” (126) showing her care for the little boy. Also, the donkey in Charles Perrault’s story had provided a disguise for the girl through his skin, which had helped her escape her father’s desire to marry her.

Charles Perrault’s “Donkeyskin” mentions a father wanting to marry his daughter as he promised his dying wife to marry only if the girl was prettier than she. The girl, guided by her grandmother, runs away and uses donkey-skin as a disguise, later working as a servant. Both stories are different since the girl in Charles Perrault’s story suffers far more than the boy in “The Story of the Black Cow”. The suffering of the girl in “Donkeyskin” was to show “virtue may sometimes seem ill-fated, but it is always crowned with success.” (116). Although it seemed as if the girl was going through endless pain, the suffering had all paid off in the end. The ending of the two stories was also different. In “The Story of the Black Cow”, the boy goes back into the forest to look for the cow, when he finds a few bones of the dead cattle, “but just as he was about to do this who should appear but his old friend, the black cow.” (127). This ending shows how the boy never forgot about the cow who had taken care of him when he needed it the most.

The two stories, “The Story of the Black Cow” and “Donkeyskin” have several major differences that are shown above, which end up telling different morals along with the gender, magical animal, and sibling differences.

Maria Tatar. The Classic Fairy Tales.

New York: Norton & Company, 1999