Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Final Blog!

         This is the final blog for the semester and I certainly have learned a lot about fairy and folk tales. I did not know there were so many images and purposes for these tales. It seemed that everything was a phallic symbol with the weirdest symbols being the foot going into the shoe. I still do not believe that that should be interpreted as phallic symbols. I also did not know about how far reaching fairy tales were, like I did not know that fairy and folk tales existed in places like Kenya. I also did not know about how dark and bloody a fairy tale can get with the darkest one we read being “Bluebeard”. 

Overall, I loved this class, I would definitely suggest it to any sophomores if this class is offered again next year. I liked all of the readings, however I would have preferred for there to be less lectures. I liked our class discussions more, especially when we would draw graffiti. However, I would not say that this was a difficult class, while it does involve some critical analysis of texts, you are still reading fairy and folk tales. It does not take that much time to read all the materials for the class to know all the information. Still, I really enjoyed the class and I hope it is offered for other students next year.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth

        Today we had a lecture from Dr. Deveny about the movie “Pan’s Labyrinth” and it was much different from other lectures we have had. Other lectures were about fairy tales from other countries and cultures, but this lecture was about a movie which displayed fairy tale themes. It showed various things such as the use of the number three in fairy tales. The main protagonist, Ofelia, had to accomplish three tasks in order to gain entrance into her home world. Even within the three tasks there was use of the number three. For example, Ofelia had to retrieve a golden key from a toad’s stomach by making him shallow three rocks. 
We also went through Valdimir Propp’s thirty-one functions of fairy tales, and saw how they related to the movie. We not only saw some functions relate to the fairy tale aspect of the movie, but these functions were also used with the historic aspect as well. For example, Valdimir’s fourth function mentions how the villain tries to gain information, which is what the captain did when trying to find the guerrillas hiding in the forest. Another function seen in the historic aspect of the movie was when the captain is shot, which is Propp’s thirtieth function where the villain is punished. 


Deveny, Thomas. “Once Upon a Time in Spain in 194: The Morphology of El laberinto   del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth).” Westminster. 26 Apr. 2012. Lecture

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This past Tuesday Dr. Shabbir Mian came into our class and gave a presentation titled “Rupkoth”. In his lecture, he taught us a lot about fairy and folk tales from Bangladesh. He taught us how the tales were passed on orally, created over a thousand years ago, and were used to teach others various life lessons.I had already known all of this information, if not assumed, because this is how it seems all fairy tales originally were. 
Even though I already knew a lot of the things Dr. Mian talked about, there were many things which I did not know about Bangladesh folk and fairy tales. For example, he taught us that in their culture, red is designated as a pure beautiful color, while usually for our culture, it is used for more gruesome or darker images like blood, demons, or even the devil. He also went into great detail about various collections of their fairy and folk tales, each of which involved names which were incredibly long and complex to me. For example the Panchatantra, which is a collection of sanskrit fables, was made in 550 AD. Then a more modern collection of tales is the Lal Behari Dey which was made in 1875. Even though his presentation had a lot of information I already knew, I still learned a lot.


Mian, Shabbir. “Rupkoth.” Westminster. 17 Apr. 2012. Lecture

Sunday, April 15, 2012


In the past week, our class has read fairy tales from one of my favorite authors of all time, Oscar Wilde. His tales had some difference from other tales we have read in class so far. One difference which can be seen is in tale “The Nightingale and the Rose” when a life is given in order to make a red rose. The rose was to be given for a date, however when the boy offered it to the girl, she replied no and he threw the rose away. This tale is different because it makes the sacrifice seem meaningless. In other tales we have read, when someone sacrifices their life, something is gotten back.


Another difference which can be seen in his other work, “The Selfish Giant” is the introduction of a religious theme. Other works we have read introduce a divine theme to it such as “Urashima the Fisherman”, but none have actually introduce a religious theme. This religion can be seen in “The Selfish Giant” when the giant goes out to see the boy he once loved, only to have the boy with nail wounds in his hands and feet, inferring that he is Jesus. Lastly, it reference a garden as Paradise, which can be viewed as heaven or the Garden of Eden. 


Friday, April 6, 2012

Storytelling in Kenya

       On Tuesday, Dr. Ochlieng’ K’ Olewe came in and talked to our class about folktales and storytelling from Kenya. This lecture was different from the other lectures we have had so far and by far this one was my favorite. While with the other lectures, we would sit and listen and answer some questions, Dr. Olewe would have the entire class stand up and sing along with him. Along with that, he would have us all dance along to whoever was asked to lead the rest of us. This lecture was the best one we have had so far, but it was also very educational.
He taught us about the various types of storytelling and folktales in Kenya. I originally thought that folktales were just told to help teach lessons to others, however in Kenya there are many other purposes for folktales. The tales are used to teach lessons, create a sense of community and teach others about history. It is also used to explain the order of things in life; for example, Dr. Olewe told us this story of how a ear chose the human head over the mosquito, so from that point the mosquito buzzes past one’s ear. I learned a lot from his lecture while having fun.


Olewe, Ochieng K. “Folktale and Storytelling Tradition from Kenya.” Westminster. 3 Apr. 2012. Lecture 

Thursday, March 29, 2012


“Bluebeard” is a tale in which a man marries a woman; when he goes away on business, he gives her a key to the house, but tells her not to go into one room. She decides to go in and in there she sees the dead bodies of the women Bluebeard had previously married. When she drops the key from shock, it becomes stained with blood which cannot be removed. Then Bluebeard sees this blood, knows she went into the room and decides that he must now kill her. I think that it is pretty obvious that Bluebeard is the villain in the story. Not just from wanting to kill her, but also because he killed all of his previous wives. 
While this version of the story is Charles Perrault’s version of “Bluebeard”, and one of the best known versions, my favorite version of this tale is the Grimm’s, “Fitcher’s Bird”. The main reason this is my favorite story is because there are two women who are killed, but are simply put back to together, and are alive again. “She set to work gathering all their body parts and put them in their proper places: heads, torsos, arms, legs. When everything was in place, the pieces began to move and joined themselves together” (Tartar 149). This made it my favorite tale just because this is the most absurd way to bring someone back to life in a tale. It does not even say that through magic that they are brought back to life, but rather, they just “joined themselves together”. 


Tatar, Maria. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999.   Print

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rags to Riches

In all the different versions of Cinderella, she becomes rich and happy through either magic or marriage. In the Grimms’ version, she is given dazzling outfits by a magic tree and attends a party. In the end, Cinderella marries the prince after her foot fits into the slipper she lost. Meanwhile her stepsisters are punished, not only from having cut off part of their foot, but by having their eyes pecked out by birds. 

In the versions in which Cinderella marries a prince, she shows how one can just marry to get into the upper class, even though this is not meant to be the lesson in the story. This not only happens in fairy or folk tales, but also in reality. There are those women who marry for love but also happen to marry someone wealthier than themselves. Then, there are women who marry, not out of love, but just for the money aka “gold diggers”. They usually marry older rich gentlemen and then divorce them to get half of their money. Lastly, there some women who get pregnant in order to get more money. The only “magic” which may be involved in a woman marrying  someone richer than themselves is the magic of love. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Storytelling with Sign Language

      Today Professor Rust from McDaniel’s ASL program came to our class to teach us about storytelling in sign language. He talked about how with sign language, one does not hear a the story, but rather sees it. He showed the class various videos which demonstrated how in deaf storytelling, one uses their hands, facial expressions and body movement to create an image for the viewer. Some stories could be signed in such a fashion that anyone who does not know sign language could tell what the story was about. One example Professor Rust used was a story about how a man got pulled over for speeding and did not get a ticket because he was deaf, however his hearing friend tried to pull the same trick but the officer knew sign language. 
Unfortunately this lecture was not that informative to me simply because I am currently involved in the ASL program and have had to create stories using body, hand and facial movements. I did still learn a few things though, such as how there are still fairy and folk tales in deaf culture. I also learned different types of storytelling in deaf culture such as ABC stories. In that format, one must tell a story using the letters of the alphabet as different symbols to create a tale. Hopefully I will get to use this form of storytelling in my ASL class. 


Rust, Mark. “Fairy Tales and Story Telling in ASL.” Westminster. 8 Mar. 2012. Lecture

Monday, March 5, 2012

Midterm blog - Sammi

For this midterm blog, each classmate had to read the blog of the person to their left and write a brief reflection about. This meant that I had to read Sammi’s blog and I was certainly shocked with what I read. It was unlike everyone else's blogs, she wrote her blog from the third person perspective. Another aspect of her blog which was different from other blogs was how she made it seem like she was in a story. She often talks about how she is in a town, castle or forest rather than just jumping in to what ever she was supposed to write about. One of my favorite things about her blog is how she refers to Dr. Esa as King Esa.
Aside from the creativity that is clearly put into her blogs, they are also really well written. Each entry answers all the questions Dr. Esa wants us to answer, but by providing it in a story format, she goes above and beyond the requirements for the class. I would not really change anything about her except to possibly add a picture or two to future posts. Even so, where she does not add a picture, she makes up for with creative writing. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Video vs. The Tale

      The music video, “Sonne” by Rammstein is another version of the fairy tale Snow White, however there are many differences between the two. In “Sonne”, there is no evil step mother trying to kill Snow White, but rather, it is Snow White who is destroying herself. She does not fall under the spell of the the step mother’s comb, corset or apple, but she falls asleep through her own actions of overdosing on powdered gold. Another difference is the portrayal of Snow White; in the video she almost takes the appearance of the queen by being cruel, controlling and vindictive, while in the story Snow White can be viewed as one who takes care of the dwarves home. The main difference that I noticed between the tales and the video was the image of the apple. In the fairy tale, it is the apple which she eats and becomes trapped in her throat, making her seem dead. At first she was weary about taking the apple from her disguised step mother, but in the music video, she has a whole bushel of apples set aside for her. Even as she first steps through the door, there is an apple at her spot on the table. Lastly, as she in encased in the glass coffin, she is not freed by a prince, but rather, she is freed by an apple falling from a tree, breaking the glass case ending with her catching the apple. In the video, it seems she has embraced this “forbidden fruit” while in the story it is the apple which causes her downfall. 


The music video may have been vastly different from the fairy tale but it did have some similarities. One odd similarity I noticed was how in both versions, the dwarves truly cared for Snow White. In the fairy tale, they encase her in a glass coffin and mourn her when they cannot save her from the apple stuck in her throat. Then, in the video the dwarves also encase her in a glass coffin when she overdoses and they stand around her coffin mourning her death. Other similarities are things like the appearance of Snow White, meaning in both versions they have the black hair, white skin, and red lips, and in both versions, she is preserved  by a glass coffin. 


Celebration of Africa

      Last Monday there was an event called the Celebration of Africa. I loved attending this event with my classmate for multiple reasons. One reason is because I was able to taste different types of african food. Even though I did not particularly like the food, it was still fun to taste the different types of food. Another reason I enjoyed this event is because I was able to learn various things about Africa, specifically both their modern and traditional forms of dancing. Most of the other things they showed during the presentation, I had already known, such as the misconceptions of Africa and how it is not a barren wasteland as some think it is. 
After doing the different dances and talking about facts about Africa, they had a game where the table who answered the fastest, correctly would get a point. Even though my table had difficulty seeing the screen, we were able to come in second place thanks to one girl who knew all the different flags of the countries in Africa. The celebration ended with an enjoyable fashion show, where people presented modern fashion styles in Africa. I am glad I went to the show and I would definitely suggest that others go see it if there is another showing. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Beauty and the Beast vs. Cupid and Psyche

       The story of “Cupid and Psyche” reminds me of two of the versions of Beauty and the Beast. When I first started reading I thought that it seemed a lot like Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s version of “Beauty and the Beast”. Both stories have a “beast” or a “monster” living  off away from society, either deep in the woods or on top of a mountain. Then, both the castles are full of riches and wonders that surprise the beauty. Even in both stories, the beast does not approach beauty immediately, but rather has his servants talk for him from a distance or does not get close enough for her to see him. It is after this point where the stories differ. In Jeanne-Marie’s story, Beast is known to ugly and stupid, while in “Cupid and Psyche”, the beast is revealed to have been a beautiful god. Both endings are similar with them both living together happily.
      The aspect of beast being a god, reminded me of “Urashima the Fisherman” where the beauty is a god who falls in love with a mortal. In both stories, the god wants to be loved as an equal, rather than to be praised. Then, in both stories, a box seemingly causes a downfall in both relationships. Urashima opens the jeweled box and loses his love forever, while Psyche opens the box out of curiosity and falls asleep. The difference here is that Cupid rescues Psyche from this eternal sleep while Urashima never meets his love again.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood

        This cartoon depicts “Little Red Riding Hood” with a new storyline. Instead of having the wolf viewed as a snarling beast wanting to eat the girl walking through the forest, he is seen as an officer of the law wanting to protect her grandmother from being brought phallic symbols. Meanwhile, Little Red Riding Hood is still depicted as the same girl who is just bringing her grandmother some food and drinks but could also be viewed as wrong for bringing these phallic symbols to her grandmother. 
I liked this cartoon because it brought up the fact that everything in fairy or folk tales can essentially be called a phallic symbol. A tree, a tower, a loaf of bread, pretty much anything in a fairy or folk tale can be viewed as this symbol. In the case of this cartoon, the wolf claims that some beard, a banana, and a bottle of wine are different phallic symbols. Another reason I liked this cartoon is because of how it switches the roles of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the story. Instead of eating Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, the wolf is protecting her from inappropriate images seen in children’s tales.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Psychology and Fairy Tales

        Last Tuesday, Dr. Mazeroff came in and talked to our class about psychology with fairy tales. In his lecture, he talked about how fairy tales can affect a child’s psychology by teaching him or her certain lessons within each story. The example Dr. Mazeroff used was the tale “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Freud stated that this tale addressed development and conflicting issues while Jung stated this tale helped a child with growth and development. This story and practically every other tale can teach a child lessons which can help them progress through childhood. 
These two psychologists have theories on fairy tales and how they can affect children. Jung believes that people have a collective unconscious which is passed down genetically. This collective unconscious possess certain images and lessons, known as archetypes, which are known throughout the world. These archetypes also appear in fairy tales, which according to Jung influence the unconscious. Freud does not agree with the collective unconscious theory, but rather he theorizes that fairy tales can affect a child’s growth and development.
Both Freud and Jung use their theories to help explain why a child may act a certain way. Jung goes to say that if you have no emotional affect towards something, then you feel nothing towards it. Therefore, if you have no emotional affect towards a certain tale then you feel nothing towards it and may not have influenced you. All of this information was discussed during Dr. Mazeroff’s lecture and I would recommend talking to him if you have any further interest in psychology and fairy tales.


Mazeroff, Paul. “Fairy Tales and Psychology.” Westminster. 7 Feb. 2012. Lecture

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fairy Tales vs. Folk Tales

Folk and fairy tales have many similarities and many differences. Both are short stories which were originally passed down through an oral tradition. Eventually, both tales were written and spread through books. One of the similarities these tales have is that there is a hero or main character which must accomplish some goal. Another similarity with these two types of tales is that children were taught lessons through indirect means. For example, with the Grimm’s version of Hansel and Gretel, the two children are thrown into the woods and and encounter a witch living in a gingerbread house. After eating part of her house, the children are captured and are forced to eat and work. After killing the witch and traveling across a lake one at a time by a goose, the children are able to make it back home. This fairy taught a child to be responsible with food and it also showed that children can leave home and still be fine. Lastly the crossing of the lake one at a time shows that a child can be independent. All of these things are taught to the child through the stories without having parents explain it. Similar lessons are taught this way in other fairy and folk tales. 
The main difference between fairy and folk tales is the use of magic. Folk tales deal more with everyday life, but may have out of the ordinary things such as some animals with human characteristics. However, fairy tales often have things such as witches, magic animals, plants, curses, spell and other sorts of magic things. Fairy tales even have such things as fairies which often influence the fate of the hero or villain.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blog Entry 1

One of my reasons for choosing this class is because I had heard that the FYS From Grimm to Disney class last semester was great. Another reason I wanted to take this course was because I have never examined or analyzed shorter works in great detail. Lastly, I have chosen to take this class is because when I was younger, I was fascinated by the differences between Disney’s and Grimm’s version of Cinderella. I had not known that there were older, darker versions of fairy tales until I was a freshman in high school. 
With this course I am hoping to achieve a greater understanding of older and modern versions of fairy and folk tales. I also want to have better analytical and writing skills by the end of the semester. 
My favorite fairy tale of all time is Cinderella because it was the first tale I knew the different versions of. My favorite version of this tale was the darker story by Grimm. One example of how the Grimm version was much darker story when the slipper did not fit one would cut a part of their foot off to make it fit. The difference from Disney’s story where the slipper would just pop off made this my favorite tale. It was these differences which gave me a deeper fascination with fairy tales.