Gitta's Literary Escapades

Just another reader taking on (modern) classics, best-sellers, award-winners, non-fiction, and (guilty pleasure) chicklit armed with common sense, a brain and feminism.

Snow-white and Rose-red by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Snow-White and Rose-Red - Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm

The Brother Grimm's fairy tales are in the public domain and can be read online and downloaded to your e-reader or Kindle from Project Gutenberg for free (see links below).

"They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful, as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her housework, or read to her when there was nothing to do."



This is exactly what I dislike about fairy-tales: The Madonna-Whore complex (Virgin-Whore dichotomy). Fairy-tales (and to some extent their Disney adaptations) which teach girls that passive, subservient behaviour in servitude of others -- mostly men -- equals a virtuous girl. An idea which has become many a young girl's dream: to be a little princess. Or in other words, a chaste Madonna who knows how to be of service to her patriarchal keeper, father at first, host during their exile from their parental house and then their husband. 


"Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother’s little cottage so neat that it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother’s bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from each tree." 


This tale is no different, unfortunately. I did not grow up with the Disney princesses, which is perhaps the reason why I dislike the outdated objectification of girls picking flowers and catching butterflies preparing for Prince Charming to take them away. To take them of the hands of their parents into the next patriarchal household.


I asked my mum recently if she let me Disney princess' films, because I could not remember watching them more than once. She answered that we had them, but that I never wanted to watch them. It is true. I remember watching Babar the Elephant, Robin Hood, and The Lion King loving the adventures. I was a tomboy and I literally have the scars that befitted that lifestyle. I just cannot enjoy a story which begins with a character sketch based on their wifely merits and ends with marriages to handsome princes with whom the girls have not spoken more than five minutes. Children -- boys or girls -- do not need lessons like that, lessons that are not needed in nor appropriate to this century. However, I have given it two stars because I cannot expect a 21st century attitude from a traditional folk-tale written down in 1812. But it is, nonetheless, a frustrating story.



Description & Where to Buy


First published: 1812
Original title: Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot (in Kinder- und Hausmärchen)
Author: Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Edition: Online at Project Gutenberg
Pages: 24
Read: 5 May 2013
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