Today we spent a good part of the class talking about Snow White. Focus was on the roles of women; the idealized version of a woman was Snow White; she is beautiful, innocent and takes care of others, in this case the dwarfs, by cooking and cleaning. The stepmother was seen by the professor as not necessarily “wicked,” but more as a woman who was not accepting the mores of the time. The stepmother was a woman who knew what she wanted and tried to achieve it, something that was not usual for females at the time.
Another lens of the tale had to do with the “eternal triangle” or the relationships among Snow White, her father and the stepmother. Both females were seen as wanting the father’s attention and love.
Interestingly, the Disney movie was released in 1937. This was a time when people were happy to have work following the Great Depression. This is reflected in the movie with songs like “Whistle While You Work.” Also noted was that, in the fairy tale, Snow White was seven years old whereas she is a young woman in the Disney movie. Finally, Snow White does not awaken from a kiss in the story; the apple is dislodged when she is being moved in order to live with a Prince who plans to admire her in her coffin. Of course, when she wakes up, she willingly goes to live with him, though she does not know him at all.
More fairy tales next week and then it will be Alice in Wonderland.
Readers, are you interested in Children’s Lit posts? What are your thoughts about this tale? Please let me know!