In class on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, we started off with a film presentation on the movie Coraline. The presenters, Aliena and Haeun, gave a brief summary of the movie and some of the controversy about dark fantasy. Coraline is about a little girl who is lonely begins to roam around her new house and being curious she crosses into an alternate universe where people’s eyes are replaced with buttons. The alternate universe is a place of darkness where she encounters a witch. The presenters stated that this film is not appropriate for kids because of its graphic and scary nature of dark fantasy. The movie presents themes of neglectful parenting and child abuse. In the movie, the witch describes that she will eat the children’s bodies. The witch in Coraline is very similar to the witch in our readings for that day. The witch in Coraline can be compared to the witch in Hansel and Gretel because both witches pray on young children.
After the presentation, we discussed the readings for the day which were about the fairytale, Hansel and Gretel. We had a small discussion about how we felt about the stories we read. It was a consensus that Hansel and Gretel is not anyone’s favorite fairytale. Referring back to the beginning of the course when having a small discussion about fairytales, I totally forgot about Hansel and Gretel. Also thinking about my childhood I honestly do not remember reading Hansel and Gretel on my own but I do remember the gist of the fairytale.
After the small discussion, we had a class activity where we compared each of the four stories to previous fairytales that we read. The four fairytale stories we discussed were: Hansel and Gretel written by Brothers Grimm, The Juniper Tree also written by Brothers Grimm, The Rose Tree written by Joseph Jacobs, and Little Thumbling written by Charles Perrault.
The Brothers Grimm version of Hansel and Gretel is the most similar to the version that is being told today. This version can be compared to the Little Red Riding Hood. Both fairytales compare in a sense that children are being left alone in the woods; both contrast because Hansel and Gretel are meant to be left in the woods to starve and die and Little Red Riding Hood is passing through with food. Both stories compare because there is trickery. In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf tricks her while in the woods whereas in Hansel and Gretel the old woman otherwise a witch tricked the children by disguising her home as bread and candy to entice starving children.
The Juniper Tree featured the first element of reincarnation which can be compared to the Happy Prince. The little boy was reincarnated as a bird when the stepmother kills him. Also The Juniper Tree can relate to the fairytale version of Hansel and Gretel because the boy is subject to be the victim.
The Rose Tree can be compared to both Cinderella and Snow White. The Rose Tree and Cinderella compare because the evil stepmother. Snow White can compare because the stepmother in The Rose Tree was jealous of the daughter so she cut off her head with an axe. The theme of jealousy and maliciousness of the stepmother compare to all three stories.
Little Thumbling can be slightly compared to Little Match Girl with hunger as an aspect of the fairytale. This version of Hansel and Gretel can also be compared to Snow White in a sense that the number seven is so important. Little Thumbling had seven brothers whereas Snow White has seven dwarfs. Little Thumbling can also be compared to Little Red Riding Hood. The motive of both villains in these stories is cannibalism. The wolf in Little Red Riding Hood wants to eat the grandmother and the ogre in Little Thumbling wants to eat the seven brothers. Both villains find the thrill of cannibalism.
This class assignment is a prelude for what is needed to be done in the midterm paper. Our midterm paper is to compare and analyze two fairytale stories or focus on one fairytale.