Friday, March 11, 2011

Elvis and Annabelle - A Discussion

Let's focus on the interesting aspects of the movie and how it relates to the traditional version of Sleeping Beauty.

Obviously, there's very little "sleeping" in the movie as it wouldn't be much of a movie if all the heroine did was sleep. Or be dead.

What did you think of the "Prince" kissing the dead girl? I mean, did you feel that it was shown in a negative light, positive light or were there no feelings associated with it? Was it conclusively shown as right or wrong?

And Elvis and Annabelle? How different are they from the prince and the princess of the traditional tale? Do some character analysis. Annabelle is shown as pretty fluffy stuff but it isn't necessarily negative. At the same time, Elvis is hardly the well adjusted golden Prince Charming. Clearly he has issues but then again, who doesn't?

Parallelisms between the relationships of the two and their parents. Elvis and his dad compared to Annabelle and her mother. Thoughts?

Also, I know a lot of you are tired by the feminist approach but this needs to be asked, what did you think about Annabelle's mother? She seemed a more realistic look at what the modern Evil Queen from Snow White would be, to be honest. Concerned with beauty, not so much for herself as for her daughter. 

Other thoughts, observations?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yet another Quote...

"Fairy  tales are the bedtime stories of the collective consciousness.  They persist in the cultural memory because they interpret crises of the human condition that are common to all of us. They are shared wish fulfillments, abstract dreams that resolve conflicts and give meaning to experience. Philosophers of myth have sketched the genealogy of fairy tales, tracing most of them back to primitive rites de passage and initiation rituals. In some way, most of them celebrate the metaphoric death of the old inadequate self as it is about to be reborn on a higher plane of existence. Like Charon's boat they grant us passage to a world where the mortal and the eternal, the sacred and the secular, meet; where the past and the future are divined; where good and evil clash, but where goodness, truth and beauty are destined to victory. Fairy tales are thus primarily metaphors of the human personality, of the individual psyche's struggle to be free of fear and compulsion." - Madonna Kolbenschlag, Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-Bye

The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir

Woman is the Sleeping beauty, Cinderella, Snow
White, she who receives and submits. In song and
story the young man is seen departing adventurously
in search of a woman; he slays the dragon, he battles
giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a
cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound
asleep: she waits.

This is a poem/extract from The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir. I found it interesting take on fairytales and the roles women play. I'll bring it up next class, see if I can start a discussion ;)

Sleeping Beauty - A Discussion

Here are some questions to help you get thinking about Sleeping Beauty in a more academic manner.

1. Why is Sleeping Beauty the least popular of all the romantic fairy tales in the canon (esp. the ones we are studying)? And what do the reasons for its unpopularity (or would it be lack of popularity?) say about our contemporary society? What is it about Sleeping Beauty that we can no longer find acceptable (kissing dead/unconscious women being one of them)?

2. Does the spindle symbolize anything, do you think?

3. Let's, for a change, look at how the men are disregarded in this story. We have been reading from a feminist stance all this while but I do think that there's a lot of injustice where men are concerned too. At least from a modern perspective. Thoughts?

4. If you were to re-tell the story and you could twist things around any way you wanted, what are the things you would change? And why? (You can use the two books we read as a sort of directive in this question.)

So tomorrow, we will be discussing your answers to these questions amongst all the other observations you have about the readings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Margaret Atwood's "Unpopular Gals"

These are vignettes or maybe even shorter glimpses into the psyche of the "unpopular girls" of fairy tales. The evil stepmother, the ugly sister, etc. It's a short fun read and it's Atwood. Read it!

"You can wipe your feet on me, twist my motives around all you like, you can dump
millstones on my head and drown me in the river, but you can't get me out of the story.
I'm the plot, babe, and don't ever forget it."

Read it here.

What Fairy Tales Teach Us

Alysa directed me to a couple of pictures that say a lot. And here they are:


Friday, February 4, 2011

Sydney White and the Seven Dorks - Discussion

Okay, unfortunately we didn't get to discuss as much of the movie as I wanted to but hey, at least we saw it all, eh? Anyway, if there's anything you have not talked about, here's the part to do it.

For instance, I know we covered this briefly in class, but why do you think the "Evil Stepmother/Queen" was taken out of this retelling. Keep in mind that according to some academics, the fact that the stepmother is older is significant because it shows a certain fear of old age and being replaced in the father's affections. By making Rachel Witchburn Sydney's contemporary, if we read from the perspective of the academics and focus on the "replacing" bit, can we not interpret that a large part of Rachel Witchburn was the fear of being replaced, of her popularity being eroded? If you agree, what does this say about modern society? Is it a constant competition to remain on top of ...the game?

And I know that ostensibly the movie is all about "girl power," but is it really? When compared to men, I mean. I know it's working on stereotypes but the fraternity dudes are not shown in as negative a light as the girls. And out of all those girls, there is only Sydney who dares to fight back. Are the negative things being said about women justified by Sydney? Or am I reading too much into it and need to lay off the pineapple.

Anyway, these are the lines along which you should be thinking. It's called Fairy Tales Retold for a reason, you know. :P

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snow White

To get you guys geared up for the awesome new fairy tale we are moving on to, here are some links that you ought to enjoy.

1. How Fairy Tales Really End


2. Pros and Cons of Fairy Tale Couples 

Snow White and Prince
HER: Leaves her loyal friends after just one kiss.
HIM: Falls in love with a dead girl. Ick.

3. Some "articles" that will hopefully make you smile (before you wince).

Dating advice from the princesses.

 4. Okay, this next article is not directly related to fairy tales but since we are studying evolving fairy tales and these new tales seem to be the new generation's "wonder tales," I think the article is very pertinent and a good read. YA and Rape Culture.

5. Check out the "Snow White" section for some pictures etc.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


1) So I got a copy of the two course packs. The critical reading one is horribly bad but some of the stories in the supplementary reading pack leave much (like, a lot) to be desired. I apologise for that. I don't know what happened (or how it happened). The Copy Smart people tell me that "this is the way it works" and well... there isn't anything much I can say to that. What I can do for the stories that are unreadable is type them up. It will probably take some time even though I have awesome typing skillz but I'll get them done.

As for the the critical readings which are vastly more important, the pages that aren't clear, I can scan (oh no, the scanning machine!) them and put the pages up in the Secret Scrolls section for your reading pleasure.

Again, I apologize for this. I did my best but I guess it wasn't enough.

2) Here are the suggestions for novels for Sleeping Beauty (thank you, Amanda!). I say we go for both of them since they're only 208 pages and 176 pages each. Respectively.
- Beauty Sleep - Cameron Dokey
- Twice Upon a Time - Wendy Mass

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cinderella performed by Bolshoi Ballet

I don't know how much of a retelling this is but it really does look interesting. So have a watch if you have time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Materialism in Cinderella

I thought that one of the things we could focus on (amongst other things) is the materialism prevalent in Cinderella. What does such focused attention on the material items in the story hope to accomplish - what message does the Glass Slipper impart to all the wide eyed (well, we can pretend) little girls (and some boys) out there? I mean, think about it. A glass slipper, apart from being pretty, has no real use in the real world. It breaks easily, you can't run in it and it has to be uncomfortable. Thoughts?

The song, while cheesy, does bring up interesting aspects of the Cinderella story. I hope this is food for your thoughts.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Seminar Approval is Mine!

Maybe if Cinderella took matters in her own hands, we'd see more of these scenes. (picture by: Eugenico Recuenco)

Okay! As the title loudly proclaims, I was just told to go ahead with the course with the revisions I had made and yes, I am quite utterly, deliriously happy. I feel like I should apologise for the loopy personality I have expressed within the words of my posts but eh. I am a bit loopy so it's not exactly a lie? Anyway, here's where I explain how this website works:

The pages:
1. Secret Scrolls: contain all information pertaining to the course. Like reading material, course syllabus, etc. Please check it for updates frequently.

2. All the other pages. As I said, I hope this website will be a shared medium where all of us can update it with items of interest we find that are relevant to the seminar and the topics we are exploring. Whether these are ads dealing with fairy tales or pictures, illustrations whatever. If it's recognizably one of the fairy tales we are studying, it doesn't matter. The main page will do. I will be updating it with stuff I find (links, pics, etc when I have time).