Categories for Books, films and TV

Read aloud: Snow White

I will be reading the Grimm fairy tale Snow White. The English name is actually Little Snow-white. But i stick with the Dutch title: Sneeuwwitje. Hmm, while i’m writing the Dutch title, it’s dawning on me that it’s the diminutive of Sneeuwwit. The appendix -je or -tje in Dutch means ‘little’. The same goes for -let in English and -lein and -chen in German. It’s actually in my first name, Neeltje. Which nobody has ever used! I mean, my name has always been Ellen, but officially my name is Neeltje Ellen Pronk. It’s in my passport.

German is close to Dutch, or better said, Dutch is close to German. The Dutch word for fairy tale is ‘sprookje’, the German word is ‘Märchen’. The Dutch word for girl is ‘meisje’, the German word is ‘Mädchen’. A better English translation is ‘little maid’. The English word Dutch is coming from the word Diets, a precursor to the modern Dutch. In the Netherlands we use the word ‘Nederlands’ for the word Dutch. Dutch to us sounds more like how we call the Germans, Duitsland, and how they call themselves: Deutschland. I do like how these words get mixed up and change meaning over time.

OK, an end to this digression. Back to Snow White. I did do a search for analyses of this fairy tale. It was hard to find decent ones. So many movies have been made, from Disney’s 1937 ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, the 2012 ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ and ‘Mirror Mirror’, the TV series ‘Once upon a Time’ and so many more. There is this rather nice article on the newyorker.com ‘Snow White: Beauty Is Power‘. In this article it is said the most important theme of the story is a generational sexual rivalry in a world where beauty – and youth – is the main asset of a woman. This does remind me of our current world still. Not strict, but the young are so beautiful, and it does give them power. Look at people like Ariana Grande, or Miley Cyrus. It’s not that they are not capable of what they are doing, but their beauty does add to their enticement. It’s not the only path a woman can walk, but it is still a very tempting one for the young and gorgeous people.

The seven dwarfs in Grimm’s version are not named. Also Snow White does not clean up their house, but eats a bit of their food, tries out their beds before she falls asleep in the one bed that fits her. The dwarfs in Grimm’s version are hard-working. They state very clearly from the outset the Snow White can stay at their place, only if she is willing to work. “If you will take care of our house, cook, make the beds, wash, sew, and knit, and if you will keep everything neat and clean, you can stay with us and you shall want for nothing.” Snow White needs to grow up and take responsibility of her own life.

I won’t go into any more possible analyses of Snow White. I leave it up to you. Enjoy!

Snow White

Published on May 21, 2015 at 6:00 by

Read aloud: Repelsteeltje

In my previous post i mentioned the book Grimm. I’m still reading it, i’m only at one third of the book. I do remember most fairy tales, but i have forgotten many details. With these tales, originally told and retold and remembered and changed all the time over the years, there are many different versions.

I am also a victim of disneyfication. I have seen Snow White, Cinderella and other movies. Reading the Grimm fairy tales now, i am surprised by the details, the different endings, beginnings, middle parts. Not every fairy tale ends in a happy way.

This blog is in english. But this time, i’m afraid i do read aloud in Dutch. I try to read as slowly as possible, but it’s not likely that people who do not speak Dutch will be able to follow the story. I will look for fairy tales translated in English, so maybe one day i will read one aloud in English. And then there are like 7000 other languages in the world. Sorry 🙁

The fairy tale i do read aloud this time is Rumpelstiltskin, in Dutch Repelsteeltje.

Sidenote: this fairy tale hangs together with lies and deceptions. The father lies about his daughter’s skills to make himself seem more important. The king is a gold lusting murderous man who threatens the girl with death if she doesn’t spin the gold in one night. The girl can’t actually spin gold. What daughter, or son, can? After a year, she stays inside the castle and lets her servant hunt for the name of the little creature. The only one capable of spinning the gold is this strange little imp. Who in the end tears himself in two. I did read some analyses of this fairy tale online. What is up with Rumpelstiltskin? and Story and Analysis of Rumpelstiltskin. The father and the king are the bad man in this story. The father pimps out his daughter. The king wants to get her to spin the straw, a worthless material, into gold. The imp is a nature spirit, a devil. Knowing his name will give power. But, the imp could be after the girl’s virtue. As does the father and the king of course. The fairy tale is a morality story. To be honest, even though Rumpelstiltskin seems like a nasty creature, he’s much better than the other two men. He actually helps the girl.

Repelsteeltje

Published on May 18, 2015 at 6:00 by