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1. Getting Married in a Brothers Grimm Tale: A Storytelling Research Paper Rachel Payne INFO 682: Storytelling May 2014 2. Payne, Rachel 2 Table of Contents Page…
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  • 1. Getting Married in a Brothers Grimm Tale: A Storytelling Research Paper Rachel Payne INFO 682: Storytelling May 2014
  • 2. Payne, Rachel 2 Table of Contents Page Introduction 3 Literature Review 3 Methods 5 Results 5 Suitors 5 Heroine 6 Mystical Intervention 7 Situation 7 Marriage Negotiations 7 Conclusion 8 Appendix A: Abbreviated summaries of the stories 11 Appendix B: Story Deconstruction Chart 14 Bibliography 16
  • 3. Payne, Rachel 3 Introduction The world is full of assumptions. Assumptions like only the rich marry beautiful women. Everyone deserves a Cinderella story, even men (see the movie Cinderella Man). If you are a good and beautiful woman/girl, you will marry a Prince. Or a woman is helpless before an evil male. But where do these assumptions come from? We learn about the world through stories (Silberner. 2013), whether that is in the news like the stories of scandals or war, or in the folk stories that were told to us as children. When we hear the stories years later they have the power to pull us back to when we heard them (Say, 2005). So what do the stories of our childhood say to girls about marriage? To investigate this question seven tales (some well known, others not so well know) from the Brothers Grimm were selected for analysis, Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Furrypelts, The Girl with no Hands, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Snow White and Rose Red (see Appendix A for a brief summary of each story). In this selection of stories all eight heroines get husbands, and eight of the nine suitors marry the heroines. Literature Review As the preface to the first edition of Children’s Stories and Household tales says “These Stories are suffused [with a] purity… so wondrous and blessed to us: Most of the events in these stories are so basic that many readers will have encountered them in real life…These narratives always end by opening the prospect of boundless happiness… (Grimm, J., & Grimm, W., 2009).” This wonder, which shapes our worldview from a young age, is one example of how stories shape the way we think (Isbell et al, 2004). Those who hear stories, especially family stories, often have higher self-esteem, stronger self-concepts, more robust identities, better
  • 4. Payne, Rachel 4 coping skills and lower rates of depression and anxiety (Reese E., 2013) making them better prepared for marriage when it comes. Stories become a motivating force in our lives by sharing a vision that changes our perspective and pushes us towards our full potential (Gardner, S., 2010). We pull upon these visions and perspectives as guidelines for what life is like. Fairy and Folk tales connect us to the past, present and future (Baltuck, 1995) helping us to consider them years later. Throughout folklore in all cultures there is a heavy emphasis on family and the creation of families, specifically courtship and marriage. Most folk and fairy tales are about married people or end with a marriage. Modern literature both fiction and nonfiction are full of do’s and don’t for how to get married. When looking for a potential spouse there are a number of things that people should look for, but more important is the characteristics they have themselves. Some of the most important are to: be someone/be an individual; be respectful; be interested; be honest; be realistic (Galbraith, K., 2009). In real life when we are actively preparing ourselves for marriage, it tends to go a lot better, but what about in folk tales? Rarely do we see anyone prepare for marriage in any way other than going to a ball. The only preparation found in a review of the literature was offered by Phillip Pullman (2012) who points out that Briar Rose who was just a girl, needed the time she slept to go through puberty and be ready for marriage when she awoke. It is as if people didn’t want to have to put in the effort to work for want they wanted so these “Tales were fantasies that fulfilled [their] human wishes and dreams” (Greene, E., & Del Negro, J.M., 2010). While not likely to face witches, grand balls, the devil or angels in this modern era there are aspects of each story that we are likely to face such as creepy attention from the others, being
  • 5. Payne, Rachel 5 denied what we want and having to work for it, and losing loved ones. “Most of the events in these stories are so basic that many readers will have encountered them in real life…these narratives always end by opening the prospect of boundless happiness… “ (Grimm, J., & Grimm, W., 2009). Methods Stories selected: The selected stories, Briar Rose, Cinderella, Furrypelts, The Girl with no Hands, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Snow White and Rose Red were each chosen for very specific reasons. The heroines are the focus of the story and all get married by the end (there is a surprising lack of very well known Grimm tales where the male protagonist gets married). Briar Rose, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White are all very well know, Furrypelts, The Girl with no Hands, and Snow White and Rose Red are all far less well known. Procedures: Analysis was conducted by deconstructing the stories into a chart (see Appendix B). For each story the suitors were broken down into their physical characteristics, other characteristics and status, and the heroines the same way. The environment was recorded including their kismet, why they continued to meet, and any mystical intervention. Marriage negotiations are described by each character involved. Once the chart was complete, surprising themes appeared. Results Suitors “There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire” (Gaiman, N., 1999). Unfortunately, while all but one of the men get their heart’s desire, when it comes to describing the suitor’s the brothers Grimm didn’t spend much time. Out of these seven stories the
  • 6. Payne, Rachel 6 only suitors whose physical attributes are mentioned are the Prince from Rapunzel who is said to be “young” and “handsome” and in Snow White and Rose Red the Prince when turned back from being a Bear is said to be a “handsome young man.” We can infer a few things about two of the other suitors. The King in The Girl with no Hands had to be healthy and strong because he was a soldier for seven years. The Prince in Cinderella is never described but he had to be a dancer, strong (to lift her up on his horse) and apparently farsighted since he couldn’t tell that the stepsisters weren’t the woman he danced with. Of the non-physical traits, the most common traits the brothers Grimm gave the suitors are: determination (seven out of nine); curious (five out of nine); love of beauty (five out of nine); travel (three out of nine); possessiveness (three out of nine); and persuasion (three out of nine). All were single (one was widowed) princes or kings, and of the princes we assume that all but one was the heir (and he was the brother to the heir). Basically the Grimms liked determined, beauty loving and curious royal men for their heroes. Heroine For the women, descriptions are left simply at beautiful (six out of eight) and has golden hair (three out of eight). Only Cinderella can we infer was athletic. Their characteristics are much more varied. At four out of seven heroines the three most common traits are virtue/piousness, kindness, and being trusting, followed by three out of seven heroines being hard workers, humble, and brave. They also have a wider variety of statuses. While three are princesses, one is presumably from the merchant/lower nobility, and four are famer’s kids. So as long as a woman is beautiful and good, it doesn’t matter what class she is from she has an equal chance marry a prince.
  • 7. Payne, Rachel 7 Mystical Intervention In keeping with the Grimms’ collection about half these stories have a supernatural element. Thirteen ‘wise women’ bless and curse Aurora, a dove provides for Cinderella, an angel protects the girl with no hands, and the only story, Snow White and Rose Red, to paint magic in a purely negative light, a mean dwarf turns a prince into a bear. In each case the hero and the heroine most likely would never have met without the supernatural intercession due to differences of generation or class. Situation The kismet for most of the couples is unique, two meet while the woman is sleeping, and two meet at a ball, two through more mundane means, the front door and through a sibling, but the others are more interesting and sometimes disturbing: stealing, climbing through her window, and being her father. The most common place for ‘courtship’ is in a palace for four out of nine relationships, followed by two out of nine relationships in towers, balls, and forests, then more uniquely gardens and homes. Ultimately they are thrown together each time (except Rose Red and her prince) because the prince/king wants to see her again. Marriage Negotiations In many of the Grimm tales, a young man sees a rise in his fortunes and is able to “win a wife” (Pullman, P., 2012) without having to actually court her. Making the fact that none of the heroes or heroines received their spouses as a reward in any of the selected stories a possible argument against this selection, or it might show that those stories that focus on the women, rarely have reward spouses. Matchmaking especially in fairytales is a part of life (Tatar, M., 1987). Yet only in Furrypelts do parents and matchmakers play a role in the wedding negotiations. Her father the
  • 8. Payne, Rachel 8 King declares that he will marry his daughter and his matchmaking advisors are [rightly] ‘aghast’ at the idea. The courtship trends in the stories lean heavily on the men to establish the relationship. While we know nothing about the relationship between Rose Red and her prince, Furrypelts again has the one abnormal courtship in which the Father is determined to do whatever it takes to marry her, and she rejects him and runs away. For the successful relationships they boil down to three methods, the most popular at five out of the remaining seven relationships is the man searches for the woman. In two the man decides to save the woman from danger/starvation, and the last courtship behavior, which was paired with searching, is impregnation. Yes, Rapunzel’s prince got her pregnant long before they got married, a fact the Grimm Brothers downplayed dramatically. Often the Grimm brothers threw in a quick marriage or alluded to marriage to make the following sex scene(s) more ambiguous and morally acceptable for children (Tatar, M., 1987). The women had a greater range of courtship actions. Briar Rose and Snow White just smile at their princes, whom they’ve never met before and that is the end of the marriage negotiation. Rapunzel has and raises her prince’s kids before they are married. As far as we know Rose Red, her sister Snow White and the girl with no hands had no problems with their Princes/King because they just accept them. Again Cinderella and Furrypelts put in more effort, they beat the odds to go to the balls, and danced with their men, Cinderella tried on the shoe and Furrypelt gave him gifts. Conclusion Marriage is the conclusion of the conflict in each of these stories; it is the “fulcrum and major event of nearly every fairy tale… Good, poor and pretty girls always win rich and
  • 9. Payne, Rachel 9 handsome princes, never merely handsome, good but poor men” (Marriage, 1997). All the girls ended up with their handsome princes and kings and we assume lived happily ever after. This study gives expression a lot of things the Brother Grimm tales imply. Men are usually good looking princes/kings who are determined, curious, love beauty and often travel, are possessive, and persuasive. Women who marry Princes are beautiful tend to be blonde and are hard workers, humble and brave, and usually either have little to no wealth or have had it striped from them. Magic usually helps you and even when it doesn’t it always helps you to find your future spouse. If you want to get married go to a palace, tower or outside. Guys don’t have to do much courting and girls only do when the guy doesn’t know they exist. There is a lot more to these stories than just this though. While stories like Briar Rose and The Girl with no Hands typify J.D. Zipes (1995) comment that the Brothers Grimm added men to their folk tales “because they believed that a woman could not fend for herself but had to be saved from her mistakes by a [man].” Many of the women in the original Grimm tales teach women to be strong; it is only some of the modern retellings that make females helpless before men (Tatar, M., 1987). Listening to folktales helps children learn how to problem solve (Wipf, J., & Ros-Voseles D., 2012). Running away from an unwanted marriage as Furrypelts did might be a “lame” escape (Pullman, P., 2012), but it still shows that you have to be true to yourself in any relationship and being true to yourself is the most important thing you can do to prepare for marriage in a fairy tale or in real life. Women in the Brothers Grimm tales were often far spunkier than many of the modern interpretations of them; women and girls today are not going to be faced with the same problems and the heroines in these stories. All we have to do is look around to see that as Maria Tatar said, just because something happens in our culture’s folklore doesn’t mean that it happens today too.
  • 10. Payne, Rachel 10 The Zuni Indians are a perfect example of this. In their folklore, deformed babies are common and they are always on a regular basis they are abandoned, but this is not true in of their culture (1987). These stories show girls some of the traits that are needed for preparing for marriage in this era: be someone/be an individual; be interested in him; be honest to yourself and others; and be realistic about life (see Galbraith, K., 2009). Marrying a prince is probably out of the question, but connecting as children on an emotional level to fairy tales will help children both in their present and their future to cope with the complexities of everyday life (Wipf, J., & Ros- Voseles D., 2012). “Once upon a time the famous physicist Albert Einstein was confronted by an overly concerned woman who sought advice on how to raise her small son to become a successful scientist. In particular she wanted to know what kinds of books she should read to her son. ‘Fairy Tales,’ Einstein responded without hesitation. ‘Fine, but what else should I read to him after that?’ the mother asked. ‘More fairy tales,’ Einstein stated. ‘And after that?’ ‘Even more fairy tales,’ replied the great scientist, and he waved his pipe like a wizard pronouncing a happy end to a long adventure” (Zipes, J., 1979).
  • 11. Payne, Rachel 11 Appendix Appendix A: Abbreviated Summaries of the Stories Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty): Twelve wise women are invited to a party celebrating the King’s baby girl’s birth and give her blessings. A thirteenth wise woman who was not invited comes anyways and curses the baby to prick her finger on a spinning wheel when she is sixteen and when she does she will sleep for 100 years. The girl grows up, pricks her finger and everyone falls asleep. Deadly thorn bushes grow up around the castle and would be rescuer princes die on them. When the hundred years are up a new prince walks through the retreating thorns, finds the princess, wakes her and marries her. Cinderella: Middle class/lower nobility wife dies leaving a beloved daughter. Father remarries to a cruel woman with cruel daughters who all boss Cinderella around. Cinderella is faithful to her mother’s memory and doves grant her wishes. The royal family hosts a series of balls, everyone goes but doesn’t let Cinderella go. The Doves bring her clothes and she goes to the ball, dances with the Prince and gets home before everyone but loses a shoe. The Prince finds the shoe and determines to marry the woman who can wear the shoe. All the women try on the shoe, the stepsisters nearly fool the prince, but in the end he finds Cinderella and they get married. Furrypelts: Queen’s dying wish is that her husband doesn’t remarry anyone less beautiful than her. Eventually their daughter grows up to be just as beautiful as her mother and the King decides to marry her. The Daughter hates this idea and tries to prevent it. The King gives her gifts and she runs away the night before their wedding. She ends up working in the kitchen of a neighboring
  • 12. Payne, Rachel 12 castle. She uses her gifts from her father to attend three balls and win the heart of the King while dancing with him and making his soup. Eventually he recognizes her and they get married. The Girl with no Hands: A farmer makes a deal with the devil for money, unknowing that he promised his daughter to the devil. When the devil comes to collect she washes and the devil can’t take her. Three times the devil tries, on the last try he tells the father to cut off her hands or he will take the father instead. The cowardly father does so with the daughter’s permission and the devil leaves. The girl decides to leave home and walks away from home. When she is about to faint from starvation an angel empties a canal so she can walk across and eat a pear on a tree. The next day the King asks his gardener what happened to the pear, who tells him two angels came and one ate it. That night the King, his priest and gardener wait for the angels to come again. When the girl shows up with the angel over her shoulder the priest talks to her. Learning of her plight and admiring her beauty the King decides to take her home and care for her, has silver hands made for her and eventually marries her. In the end her hands grow back. Rapunzel: Mom and Dad are farmers, when pregnant mom really wants to eat a Rapunzel salad. Dad climbs the wall to the witch neighbor’s garden and is caught stealing Rapunzel. The witch says he can have as much as he wants as long as he gives the child to her. He takes the Rapunzel, and when the baby is born gives it to the witch who raises it like her own child. When the daughter is twelve they move to a tower in the forest and the daughters very long braid is the only way in and out of the tower. Time passes and one day a traveling prince hears her singing and falls in love with her voice. He comes back everyday and eventually figures out how to get in. When he comes in the window he persuades her not to be afraid and even to have sex with
  • 13. Payne, Rachel 13 him. He comes daily and they treat each other as man and wife. Eventually the witch finds out and casts Rapunzel out, and blinds the prince. Rapunzel gives birth to twins and raises them in the forest, seven years later the prince finds her and her tears heal his eyes. Snow White: Widower King remarries a vain woman. Once the King’s daughter grows up the evil Queen’s mirror says that Snow White is the prettiest in the land. The queen tries to have her killed, Snow White escapes into the forest and lives with seven dwarves. Three times in the forest the Queen tries to kill Snow White. The last time Snow White falls into a coma, the dwarves mourn and put her in a glass coffin in the woods. One day a Prince passes by convinces the dwarves he is in love with her, and they give her to him. When moving he coffin it is dropped and Snow White wakes up. She and the Prince marry. Snow White and Rose Red: Two poor sisters live with their mother on the edge of a forest. One winter day a bear comes in saying that he needs to get warm. Their mother lets him in to warm up by the fire and every evening he laid in front of the fire while the girls played with his fur and jumped on him. Come spring, he left them and the girls played outside. They help an ungrateful dwarf twice and finally they are in danger from the dwarf and the bear saves them. When he does he turns into a prince and eventually marries Sno
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