Friday, November 28, 2014

Twelfth Post-November 28, 2014


This is your final Blog. In this blog, please reread all blogs you have written and reflect about what you have done and learned in this semester.

In this semester, I have learned more about fairytales than I ever thought was possible in fourteen weeks! I have been exposed to a whole new world of hidden meanings behind the Disney films I grew up with.  Fairy tales are usually full of light and happy ever after, but they have shadows of darker themes. I knew that the fairytales were dark, but I was not prepared for just how eerie they were. Juniper Tree, for example, contains cannibalism where the child is beheaded and made into a stew. I also learned about all of the psychoanalytical components in the tales, and how twisted they can be if you interpret them a certain way. You want Bettelheim references? I’ve got plenty!  In Cinderella when the prince puts the shoe on her foot, it symbolizes sexual intercourse. In Snow White, the apple is a symbol of sexual maturity.  I also explored how fairy tales connect to each other and how their lessons and morals can apply to daily life.

I have learned many lessons that I will carry outside the classroom. The Boys and Girls Club project taught me to always be prepared and to have a backup plan, as well as a backup for the original backup. I learned to dig a little deeper when answering questions thoroughly on exams, that there is always something there that you can add to enhance your answer. The workload of the course made me stay one jump ahead and be proactive in getting things done. I feel very fortunate that I was able to be part of this world and in this FYS. I truly could not imagine being in another class. My classmates are some of the best friends I have made here in college. I do not know how I will cope with not seeing them three days a week. They are the most kind, supportive, and encouraging group of people I’ve known.  I have a dream, though, that we will stay friends even after the FYS is over and for years to come.  Much like your biological family, you do not get to choose who is in your FYS with you. This family full of poor unfortunate souls is more than I could have ever hoped for.
                  

This class has been so magical, and I hope everyone gets their happy ever after. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eleventh Post-November 26, 2014 (A Midsummer Night's Dream)


Connect A Midsummer Night’s Dream to fairytales.
In Midsummer, we have four lovers, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander. We also have the king and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon and Titania. In a way, Puck, a fairy who works for Oberon, is a villain, but she is misunderstood. Oberon tells her to put the love juice in the eyes of the man wearing Athenian clothing, but they are in Athens. Everyone is wearing Athenian clothing. Needless to say, she anoints the eyes of the wrong man.  A huge conflict brews because of this misunderstanding.  Fear not, because an antidote later remedies the situation and everyone loves the right people in the end.
 This is similar to a fairytale, because it contains true love, misunderstandings, and comedy. There are many interwoven plots, motifs, and so many symbols.  Each character is essential to driving the story along. The falcon scene in the play is when Puck mistaking Lysander for Demetrius anoints his eyes with the love potion. It might seem like a small and insignificant scene, but it sets everything askew, and the rest of the play is spent trying to remedy that mistake. There are many comedic elements in this play, including the subplot thread involving the laborers. They want to perform a play for the Duke of Athens’ wedding, but they too get wrapped into the magic and mayhem of the fairies. Magic is used several times in the play, to enchant flowers, remedy wrongs, control people, and to become invisible. There are many spells sung throughout the performance, mostly when the flowers are used. Singing adds another layer of magic and amazement to the show. When characters sing, you know something important is happening. 

                                
This play was an amazing experience to be a part of. I am so proud to be included in such a talented group of cast and crew. It was a magical, glitter-filled few months. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tenth Post-November 22, 2014

Find a cartoon on-line with a Rapunzel motif and discuss the cartoon and compare it with either the original tale or the Disney film.
URL: http://www.catversushuman.com/2013/02/blog-post.html


In this cartoon by Yasmine Surovec, Rapunzel is depicted as a crazy cat lady. She discovers that the cats that have climbed up her hair are the Prince’s cats. Portraying Rapunzel and the Prince as “crazy cat people” might seem odd, but it makes sense once you tie it in with isolation and loneliness.  Rapunzel is alone in her tower with only Mother Gothel to talk too, which can be pretty boring.  These cats that climb up her hair are her only real companions. In the film Tangled, Flynn Rider is always on the run. He does not stay in one place very long, so he does not have the opportunity to make many friends.  The friends he does make, however, he ends up betraying either by stealing from them or deserting them when they need him.

The Prince does not notice Rapunzel until one of the cats has started playing with her long, braided hair, which mirrors how Flynn did not really see the magnitude of Rapunzel’s beauty until the children were braiding her hair and she was dancing with the townspeople at the festival. In the second panel, when the Prince goes to take the cats home with him, he automatically asks Rapunzel if she would like to go with him. This is similar to the Grimm tale where Rapunzel falls in love with the Prince at first sight.  He continues to visit her and make a silk scarf so she can leave the tower.  In the end, the couples get their happily ever after, whether that is a cuddle puddle of cats or marriage.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ninth Post-November 8, 2014


Reflect about the three versions of the story of “Bluebeard.” How are these tales similar or different? What is unique about them? Which one did (didn’t) you like the most? Why/Why not?


My favorite of the three tales we read (Fitcher’s Bird, The Robber Bridegrom, and Bluebeard) would have to be Fitcher’s Bird. In this tale, the daughter is able to save her sisters. She takes charge of things and becomes the heroine. This is very unusual because men were the active ones and in those times, women were supposed to be passive and just wait for things to happen. In the Robber Bridegroom, there is an old woman who warns the girl that her new husband is a murderer. The girl also assumes an active role and tells her wedding guests that her husband is a murderer on the day of their wedding and brings out a severed finger as proof. This shocks her guests, but incriminates the robber.

 In Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard, a woman falls in love with a man at a party. Bluebeard gives her keys and tells her not to open a specific door. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she opens the door to find several corpses of his previous wives. Once Bluebeard discovered her disobedience, he planned on killing her. She begged him for half an hour where she could pray, and she uses that time to summon her brothers, who Bluebeard. By default, the woman is now heir to his estate.


The version I disliked the most was the French film Barbe Bleu. The plot of the film is not linear, as it jumps between girls reading the story and the actual tale itself. However, it did mostly adhere to the plot of the Perrault tale, which I appreciated. The film did include scenes of violence that were unnecessary as well as creepy, which I did not enjoy.

  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Eighth Post-October 31, 2014

Find a cartoon online with “Little Red Riding Hood” as a theme and write a reflection on that cartoon.


                This cartoon covers the environmental issue of deforestation. It is both a political and social cartoon, since political issues are closely entwined with social issues. The cartoon takes place in in the part of the story where Little Red Riding Hood is journeying through the woods to her grandmother’s house to deliver cake and wine to her. Little Red Riding Hood’s journey through the woods is virtually nonexistent, because there are no woods. All of the trees have been cut down, and it is much easier for Red to find her way to her grandmother’s. This cartoon addresses a serious topic in a humorous way, which I enjoyed. By adding the element of a classic children’s tale to the cartoon, it captivates the audience and makes them think about the topic in a different light. Putting a subject such as deforestation and connecting it with a fairy tale makes people more likely to take a second glance at the cartoon and think about the issue.
The URL for the cartoon is http://twistedcartoonist.blogspot.com/2011/06/little-red-riding-hood.html
There was no author credited except spikeys_studio.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seventh Post-October 24, 2014


First read the story of “Cupid and Psyche” at http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/cupid.html, then write a comparison of this old Greek tale with that of the Brothers Grimm. Add two pictures to your blog, one from “The Frog King” and one for “Cupid and Psyche.

In the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, Psyche is the youngest of three daughters of the king and queen.  She is more beautiful than Venus herself. This makes the real Venus jealous, so she sends her son Cupid to get vengeance and have Psyche marry a monster. Cupid and Psyche fall in love and they are married before Psyche has a chance to see what he looks like. He forbids her to look at him and only visits her in the darkness of night. Soon, rumors swirl around that she married a monster. Curiosity gets the best of Psyche, and she holds a lantern to Cupid’s face, illuminating not the face of a monster, but a god. Cupid flees, but Psyche is able to win him back.

In the Grim tale of The Frog King, the Princess, also the youngest of three daughters, loses a golden ball. A frog offers to fetch it for her, and in her desperation, she offers him her hand in marriage as a reward. The frog carries out his task, and the princess is bound by her promise to wed him. The frog demands to be close to the princess. When she objects, her father, the king, refuses to let her break her promise.  When the frog requests to sleep with her, she becomes enraged and throws him against the wall. She finds a prince in his place who explains that he was cursed by a witch. The Princess then marries the prince.


The tales both contain a motif similar to that of Beauty and the Beast. The youngest of three daughters marries a beast who then turns out to be beautiful. Cupid and Psyche were already married when Cupid was discovered to be beautiful. However, the princess in The Frog King only fully desires to marry the prince after he transforms from being a ghastly frog.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sixth Post-October 2nd, 2014

Look at the blogs of all other students and find the blog you like the most. Explain why. Which blog entry did you like the most? Why? Also find a blog that according to you needs improvement. Explain why!
I enjoyed the unique aspect of Emily’s blog. (http://emily-fys.polyvore.com/) It is hosted on a website called Polyvore and I think that adding the picture collages is a very creative way to think outside the box. I also liked how you can hover over each of the pictures and it will show the source for that image. Her entries are very insightful and have a different perspective.  I also liked Tabitha’s blog, (http://tabithafys.blogspot.com/) because it is very detailed. It contains many pictures that help the reader understand the focus of the entry. Her blog posts also fully answer the prompt in detail.

My favorite entry is Hannah’s post “A Recipe for Fairy Tales”. (http://verygrimmtales.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-recipe-for-fairy-tales.html) I never thought of the process of writing a fairy tale was similar to making a muffin or chocolate chip cookies. Hannah’s post equated an unusual concept with something many people can identify with, baking.  She also uses quotes from works we covered in class to reinforce her statements.

I believe that many of my classmates could add pictures to improve the quality of their blogs. Pictures are a visual representation if the thoughts you are trying to get across. They can also help break up the walls of text in a post and help you get creative. Pictures are also a fun way to tie in a movie to a story and make connections. As a whole, I believe the majority of the class has awesome blogs and I enjoyed seeing how everyone has their own unique spin on the same prompt. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fifth Post-September 27, 2014

Compare the original tale by the Brothers Grimm with Disney’s film from 1937. Highlight a few differences and similarities. Why did Disney divert from the original version of the tale? What were the reasons? Consider the time when the film was made and also Walt Disney's own story.

The 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs includes a major element that the 1812 Grimm tale does not, the element of music and singing.  Music intensifies a situation and adds more drama than if the scene did not have music. Think of the shower scene from the movie Psycho. That screechy violin track is famous because it adds so much suspense to the scene. Now imagine that without music. 

The music in Snow White is iconic in the same way. Everyone knows the dwarfs’ song that they sing on the way to and from work. Without music the film would be less engaging and boring to watch.  The dwarfs themselves add another layer to the Disney film that the Grimm tale lacks. In the original tale the dwarfs are unnamed and act in unison, there is no difference between the first and the seventh. In the Disney film, each dwarf has a name, a different outfit, and a unique personality. Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, and Dopey are more memorable than the Prince in the film, who only appears in the beginning and final scenes. The dwarfs drive the plot forward and act as Snow White’s guardians, trying to protect her from the evil Queen. 



Walt Disney also used the film as an opportunity to showcase his greatness. He refused to give credit to his fellow animators and if he had to acknowledge them, they were in smaller negligible print while his name was on the first still in large letters-“WALT DISNEY”. He often changed and manipulated the tales to fit his message and agenda, discarding the original. Animation was viewed as the sole focus of the film, to showcase Disney’s impeccable talent. The actual plot came second. To Disney, these films were not about bringing the magic to everyone, he had an ulterior motive to get the audience to see how wonderful and talented he is.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fourth Post-September 20th, 2014


Cinderella is one of these so called “rise tales”, which features a narrative arc of “rags to riches through magic and marriage” (Ruth Bottigheimer). Write a reflection on this motif. Can someone reach success or riches with magic or marriage? How realistic is that?
I do not think that the “rags to riches” idea can be properly executed in real life. Cinderella is a poor girl whose dreams become satisfied by a fairy godmother’s wish-granting ability.  Unfortunately, the world is not full of fairy godmothers with their wands at the ready to make dreams come true. If I want my dreams to come true, I have to be my own fairy godmother. If I want to become the world’s greatest neurosurgeon, I would need to study everything I could get my hands on, practice, and get into the best medical school in the country. Once there, I’d need to secure a good position by beating out my colleagues and being the best. That is not going to happen if I am sitting waiting for people to bring success to me. I would need to put forth the effort to get the results I desire. That is how it worked for Dr. Ben Carson, who was raised primarily by his mother in Michigan and worked diligently and with great dedication to become the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins at the head. He did not just say “I wish for the twins to be separated” and it happened. He planned, strategized, and put time and effort into the 22 hour surgery. 
One could possibly achieve more if they “married up” or wed a spouse who had connections to help that person achieve their dreams.  If someone is extremely motivated, they will do everything they can to achieve their dreams. Princess Diana is a real-life example of a princess story. She married Prince Charles, but before then, she was a regular person who worked as a preschool assistant and nanny. She would not have had the public exposure she did or be able to help as many people without being associated with Prince Charles and the royal family. Her fairy tale came true but not without tremendous scrutiny under the public eye. What you envision as a happily ever after might not be the case. 



Friday, September 12, 2014

Third Post-September 12, 2014

 


Compare the original Grimm tale with the MGM version. What is different in the film? What is similar? Why did the movie directors make these changes?

The Grimm brother’s fairy tale is similar to the film in many ways. The biggest similarity is the basic plot. The children are sent into the forest by their evil mother, much to the dismay of the children’s father. Hansel attempts to mark the pathway with pebbles and breadcrumbs, and the latter are eaten by birds. They come across a gingerbread house and are enchanted by the amount of food before them. The house is owned by a witch, who tries to fatten Hansel up so she can eat him, while making Gretel cook for her. The children outwit the witch, and Gretel pushes her in the oven. The siblings escape, and are rewarded for their cunning with jewels and gold coins. Reunited with their father, the family can live happily ever after.
There are significant deviations from the tale as well. The mother is originally loving towards her children, it is not until they let the donkey loose and it makes a mess that the mother starts to deeply consider sending her kids away. When Hansel and Gretel arrive at the gingerbread house, the walkway is lined with gingerbread figurines. The children are filled with such awe and are so enchanted by the amount of food before them. This reminded me of the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Gene Wilder sings “Pure Imagination”.  Towards the end of the film, it is revealed that those gingerbread figurines are actually children, victims of the witch that have been saved by Hansel and Gretel. 

Hansel and Gretel’s time in the house was elaborated on and expanded to show the hard work and effort the children went through. We see Gretel making many different and complex pastries, and Hansel being forced to eat them. Another element in the film that was added is the witch’s magnifying glass, which Gretel tricks the witch into smashing. This was not included in the original Grimm version, but was added to enhance the conflict between the siblings and the witch.

The most significant change between the Grimm tale and the film is the addition of song. There are at least three instances where song and/or dance is included. This adds a hook for younger audiences and draws them in to the film, it also adds a break from the tense scenes in the film that are often darker. The songs briefly lighten the mood and provide transition between scenes. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Second Post-September 5th, 2014

Develop a working definition of a fairy tale based on class discussions, stories and other articles we have read in class.

MÓ“rchen is the German word for fairy tale. Fairy tales are fictional narratives of magic (zauber) and fantasy. Fairy tales can originate from one place, or can come from many places simultaneously. For example, many cultures have a flood story; in Christianity it is Noah’s Ark, and in Mesopotamia it is the legend of Gilgamesh. These tales also contain archetypes, which are stock characters that all cultures share (the villain, the nurturing mother, etc.)


Fairy tales usually start out with the words “Once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after”. In between those phrases, a lot of action takes place. A hero is introduced, and promptly does something they should not do. There is a lot of repetition in tales as well (Goldilocks’ eating different porridges, for example).  Often there is a villain or conflict to make the story exciting and to add depth.  Finally, the conflict is resolved, and the main character comes home a hero to live happily ever after, returning with a lesson or moral they have learned while on their adventure. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Post-August 24, 2014




Why did you choose this course as your FYS? I have loved all things Disney for a long time. The movies and stories they are based on fascinate me. I love how books and films can transport you to a whole new world, all from the comfort of your room.  I took a trip to Disney World in Florida this past June as a graduation present, which was amazing! I love finding a whole new dimension to old stories and things you thought you knew from childhood, then going back as an adult and getting a whole different meaning from it, and uncovering little treasures you did not notice the first time around.

What are you hoping to accomplish in this seminar?
To see fairytales in a new light. I want to know what the princesses and other classic characters were like before they were transformed and doused with Disney sparkle.  Often, stories are sugar coated for kids, and it will be interesting to know the true adult versions. Plus, it would be fun to put my Snow White costume to good use.

 What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
            Only one? I have loved Beauty and the Beast for forever, because Belle did not look like a cookie cutter princess to me. She read books, was always exploring her surroundings and questioning the world around her, instead of just blindly following what everyone else was doing. She always tried to look for the good in people,  beyond their exterior to find what that person was like on the inside. She did not pay attention to the townspeople's opinion of her, she kept doing what she wanted to do.