Essays On Hansel And Gretel Fairy Tale

The Dynamic And Ever Changing Hansel And Gretel

The Dynamic and Ever-changing Hansel and Gretel

Most fairy-tale aficionados have a static view of their favorite stories. That is, indeed, part of the glory which these tales hold…the fact that they are timeless, forever remaining fond memories of unforgettable stories that had been repeated to them from a young age. In both the oral and written traditions, these stories perpetuated themselves and became fixtures upon the cultures of which they have taken hold. For most people, the idea of these classics ever having been different not only seems odd, but also shakes the foundations of their childhood memories.

However, stories are dynamic and ever-changing. What a follower of the aforementioned school-of-though fails to think about is why these stories would have been changed. Sometimes fairy tales change because the person recalling the story has a bad memory, while other times they are deliberately altered by a rewriter. Often times with rewrites, the story is changed so that it is relevant to both the modern times and the life history of the new author. Hansel and Gretel, the classic German fairy tale, is certainly no exception to this trend of changing fairy tales.

One of the most famous written versions of Hansel and Gretel (although not the original) is from the early 19th century. This edition was written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the German fairy-tale-writing duo more commonly known as “Brothers Grimm” (Ashliman). The story is about a young boy and girl, brother and sister, named Hansel and Gretel respectively. They lived at the edge of a great forest under the supervision of their father (a poor woodcutter) and their stepmother. The family was very poor and running low on food…soon, they would starve to death. The evil stepmother convinces the reluctant father that the only way for them to survive would be to get rid of the children. So, she plots to take the children into the darkest part of the woods the next day, make a fire for them, then leave them with nothing and no way of getting home. Hansel and Gretel overhear the conversation, and witty Hansel grabs a pocketful of stones as there parents take them out the next day. All along the way, Hansel drops stone after stone (which shone brightly in the moonlight), therefore marking the path that they had taken deep into the heart of the woods. The plan worked, and the children were able to find their way home by the moonlight. Their stepmother was furious, but their father was overjoyed that the plan did not work.

Not much longer after that, Hansel and Gretel overheard their stepmother, once again, plotting against them, convincing their father that the only option was try to take the kids into the woods once again. This time, however, Hansel was only able to get his hands on a small piece of bread, and he used its crumbs to leave the trail as he had done before. When he tried to lead him and his sister home, he realized that...

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Hansel and Gretel Analysis Essay

873 WordsApr 4th, 20114 Pages

Fairy tales were once for everyone and reflected the values of the people that kept the legend alive. It wasn’t until recent times that the myths were rendered into a children’s entertainment monopoly. Therefore, if we melt the sugared coverings of Disney and wade waist deep into the wilder, more sinister side of human dreams, we are transported back to a time where the supernatural reigned and superstitions thrived. These stories were most often whispered in the dark, passed down orally from world-weary adults to wide-eyed children, thus providing a haunting warning against straying from societal values. While most of the tales have been altered with the shifting times, the majority of their original messages and values still continue to…show more content…

Additionally, this version reflects a patriarchal society that is heavily religious and more than slightly misogynistic in values.
The 19th century was a hard era, marked by the downfall of the world’s greatest empires. As a result, families were thrown into anarchy and confusion, often going hungry. When the Grimm’s were collecting their stories, child abandonment and infanticide in poverty-stricken families were almost common practices. The Brothers Grimm used the fairy tale to play on both the children’s fear of abandonment and to discourage parents from doing so. The story has the children surviving and coming home with riches despite their stepmother’s diabolical plans and she is punished by death. This shows the importance of family values.
Interestingly enough, the father in the story, even though he contributes to the children’s abandonment, not only lives but is allowed to enjoy the treasure that his children steal from the witch’s house. The Grimm’s also added the father’s reluctance to the stepmother’s idea, signifying their patriarchal viewpoints. This patriarchy is the main value in the story, and it is its inversion that causes problems. The use of the woman nagging and harassing the man into agreeing with her shows the disruption of a leading male figure and chaos results. Additionally, Hansel upholds

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