Monday, October 15, 2007

The Grimm Version of Little Snow White

Little Snow-whiteAnd like always, here is the summary:A Queen gives birth to a princess and names her Snow-white because she is "white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony" (249). After giving birth to Snow-white the queen passes away and within a year of the queen's death the King had already remarried to a woman.The stepmother is entranced by her beauty and "could not bear that anyone should surpass her in beauty". She had her mirror in which she would scan the land for maidens who were prettier than she and she hadn't come across one until Snow-white grew into a beautiful young lady.Out of envy the Queen hired a huntsman to take Snow-white into the forest and kill her and to bring back her lung and liver. The huntsman however could not kill Snow-white and spares her her life with the compromise that she runs off into the forest and never returns. The huntsman then kills a young boar and brings back the liver and lung and the Queen eats them believing they are the organs of Snow-white.Snow-white continues to roam throughout the forest until she comes to a small cottage in which there is seven of every object. She ends up falling asleep after having a nice meal and is found by seven dwarfs who live in the cottage and dug for gold in the mountains. They allow her to stay with them on the condition that she cooks, cleans, and takes care of them. They also warn her to be on the look out for her stepmother. So, now going back to the Queen, one day the Queen decides to ask her mirror again who is the prettiest in the land and still the mirror replys Snow-white. Now, that the Queen knows her stepdaughter is still alive she makes it her mission to bring an end to the princess.Two times the Queen dresses up as an old hag trying to sell items. The first item is dressing lace. The Queen persuades Snow-white to open up and let her in to dress her correctly, however the Queen ties the laces so tight that Snow-white falls down as if dead and not breathing. The seven dwarfs come home and find her on the floor they untie the lace and she comes back from her death like slumber. The second time the Queen comes by dressed as a different old hag with a poisonous comb and offers to brush Snow-whites hair. With much persuasion she is finally allowed into the cottage and the moment the comb touches Snow-white's hair the poison spreads and again makes her fall into a death like slumber. The dwarfs again come home and find her on the floor they take the comb out of her hair and she wakes up. After both tries the Queen goes to the mirror and asks who is the prettiest in the land and both times the mirror responds with Snow-white's name. Finally, the Queen gets fed up with Snow-white and poisons an apple so only one side of it is poisonous and then dresses up as a farmers wife. She goes to the cottage and offers the apple, however when Snow-white refuses she doesn't push her knowing that Snow-white is really craving the apple. Snow-white does take the apple and with one bite the poison is in control of her body and the piece of apple lodged in her throat. This time when the dwarfs come home they can't find anything externally wrong with her and figure she is dead. They cannot bear to bury her in the ground and so build a glass coffin so everyone can share her beauty. And, the Queen's mirror finally told her that she is the fairest in the land.A king's son comes to visit Snow-white and is so entranced by her beauty he takes her home with him. On the way the bumps in the road cause the apple in Snow-whites throat to come dislodged and she awakens. The king's son decides he wants to marry Snow-white and she agrees. The Queen is invited to the wedding and before going looks into her mirror one last time and asks who is the prettiest of the land and again it answers Snow-white. The Queen decided to go to the wedding anyway even though enraged and when she arrives the prince and Snow-white have prepared iron hot slippers for the Queen and she dances her way to death.

And, now...

Once again like in the previous story there is a stepmother. I have all ready discussed my views and opinions for the use of the stepmother in the tales so refer to Hansel and Gretel.

The whole, "white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony" are(what I've found after a little research)the three colors that represent maiden, mother, and a withered old woman. Snow-white is only named after one of the three parts of womanhood suggesting that she is innocent and naive (which is also displayed by her actions of allowing the Queen to enter the cottage three different times).

And, the biggie in this tale is the mirror or looking-glass. Recall Greek mythology for a moment, and think back to Narcissus the young boy who fell in love with his reflection. In this tale the mirror has two jobs (maybe more, but I haven't caught anymore)which includes the husband/father figure that is absent through most of the story that the Queen and Snow-white are competing for his approval. And, the male's view of women and that they only have their looks.

The forest...again look up at Hansel and Gretel

There is significant importance in the fact that the Queen wants to eat Snow-white's liver and lungs and it isn't just cannabalism. It was said that by eating parts of other creatures one would acquire the characteristics of that creature. The lung represents breath or spirit while the liver represents love and desire. The Queen ate these thinking that she would acquire these traits and could finally win the approval of the mirror.

THE APPLE! The apple here can be considered the fruit of knowledge just like that of the bible and the Queen is the snake. The tempting fruit is what allows Snow-white to finally see clearly and no longer through the lense of naiveness since she finally kills the Queen. The apple represents knowledge in the bible as well as in greek mythology. The apple was important to Aphrodite. It represented knowledge, and in past years love and affection which she has with the prince.

The glass coffin is significant as well I believe, however I just can't seem to place my finger on what makes it so important.

Oh, and the way the stepmother dies is crucial to the story. She dies of hot iron slippers that are placed to her feet right at the end of the story meaning that just because Snow-white got her prince the story is still a tragedy.

The message that the Grimm brothers are trying to get across throughout the tale is that a person will suffer because of their actions and ways. Also, that being naive isn't a good thing as we have seen through remember to keep your eyes open for anything especially those old hags.


Latin class helped so much last year with the mythology and stuff!

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