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Princess Trials

Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 7 years, 7 months ago

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  • I've commented on your final paper material! The material that was posted looked remarkably good! 



Princess Trials 


Disney has made the French and German princess tales into staples of the American narrative-diet. We grow up with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. 


This SNL skit is borrowed from another student in this class! 


Real Housewives of Disney Discussion Questions:

  • How does this SNL skit apply fairytale expectations to our culture today? 
    • Where do we see these expectations?
    • How do we support (literally "buy into") these expectations?
  • How does this SNL skit invert these expectations?
  • Where do these expectations end?
  • What commentary does this make on the cultural impact of Disney Princess Stories?
    • How does this commentary depend upon the prevalence of these narratives in our lives?



  • Who wrote this tale?
  • Where was it published?


Discussion Questions:

  • How does "Griselda" set the pattern for the princess trials with which we are already familiar?
  • How does "Griselda" differ from our expectations for princess trial tales?
  • How is the explicit abuse in "Patient Griselda" sublimated (and resurrected) in the princess trial tales?  



Taking It Further:

Compare Boccaccio's "Griselda" with Perrault's later version "Griselda." 


"Sleeping Beauty"

  • Who wrote this version of "Sleeping Beauty"?
  • Where was it published?











While Arthur Rackham brings us to the moment when Sleeping Beauty awakens, most images emphasize her death-like sleep. Why is this the moment that captures the visual imagination?

How do these pictures of the sleeping Sleeping Beauty compare with the glorified "dead woman" of the nineteenth-century?


John Millais' famous "Ophilia"


This is Cabanel's "Ophelia" (a little more active that Millais'). 


This is Waterhouse's "The Lady of Shalott" (another doomed woman celebrated by the Pre-Raphelites).

"The Lady of Shalott" (1873) Notice the connection between the dead woman and the swan - beautiful, white, not-human! 



Discussion Questions:

  • How does "Sleeping Beauty" shape gender expectations?

    • Can we related this to what we know about Germany in the early-mid 1800s (see Bottigheimer)? 

  • How does Letitia Elizabeth Landon respond to this narrative?

    • How does this commentary critique fairy tale expectations for women?

  • How is sexuality figured in "Sleeping Beauty"? 

    • Female sexuality? 

      • Briar Rose's sexuality?

      • The queen's sexuality?

    • Male sexuality? 

      • The princes who cannot get past the briars? 

  • What does the spinning wheel symbolize (if anything)? 

  • How is power constructed in this narrative?

    • Who is allowed to have power?  

    • What kind of power is acceptable? 






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