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Angelic Daughters and Monstrous Mothers

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

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Housekeeping

  • Rough Drafts
  • Conferences
  • Rubrics

 

Agenda 



Angelic Daughters and Monstrous Mothers

 

"Snow White"

  • Who wrote this literary version of "Snow White"?
  • Where was it published?

 

Snow White is an ATU 709 tale. It's primary elements are a "pure and virgin queen." This queen is contrasted with the envy of a beautiful but evil queen (mother/step-mother). The pure queen is (temporarily) overcome by the wicked queen and trapped in a death-like state.

 

Group Project:

Break into groups and make a list of DICHOTOMIES in this fairy tales (opposites). What significance do these fairy tales have in the narrative? 

 

Discussion Questions about "Snow White":

  • How are dichotomies a formal element of fairy tales? 
  • How are dichotomies in this fairy tale related to gender?
  • How are dichotomies in this fairy tale related to the construction of female purity in this fairy tale?
  • How are dichotomies undermined (perhaps unintentionally) in this fairy tale? 

 

Discussion Questions about Once Upon A Time:

  • How does Once Upon A Time co-opt and recreate "Snow White"? 
  • What is emphasized in the pilot?
  • Who receives attention?
  • How does this recreation of "Snow White" play with the female dichotomy in the literary fairy tale?
  • How is economic power incorporated into this fairy tale about female sexuality?  

"Rapunzel" 

 

"Rapunzel" is an ATU 310 tale. It is characterized by supernatural opponents as well as the theme of appetites. 

 

Group Project:

Break into groups and identify different examples of appetites and their significance. 

 

Discussion Questions:

  • What examples of appetite are present in this fairy tale?
  • How is appetite illustrated?
  • How does Tangled (2010) transform the ATU 310 tale?
    • How is the supernatural opponent portrayed?
    • How is appetite illustrated in Tangled?

 

 

Snarled: The Twisted Message in Tangled

 

Introduction: Disney’s Tangled (2010) promises a refreshing twenty-first century twist on the traditional ATU 310 tale “Rapunzel.” However, the social and political ideology submerged in Tangled leaves this film mired in the past. It repeats the message of sexual freedom articulated in Charlotte Rose de la Force’s “Persinette” (1698), but this liberating idea is buried in sexually repressive gender norms and racialist ideas that seem to reflect the Victorian era, not the new millennium. This ambiguous combination is especially disturbing because of film’s immature audience.

 

Theory:

  • ·      Jack Zipes, Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (1988): as literary fairy tales were retold, they accumulated dense layers of meaning. This density of meaning may be unintentionally passed along – this is what we see in Disney’s Tangled. Not only in the script and plot, but also in the animation and sound effects, there are layers of past narratives – sexism and racism of earlier eras transported into this revision of an old tale.

 

Traditional ATU 310 Tales:

  • ·      La Force “Persinette” (1698) 
  • ·      The Grimms “Rapunzel” (1852)  

 

“Bad Girls and Bold Boys”:

  • ·      Eugene Fitzherbert
    • bad boys = bold and brave
      • Narrator = exerts verbal and physical control
      • Renegade sidekicks = thieves and raiders – 2nd chance
      • ·      “Good” Girl: Biological Mother
        • Silent
        • Passive
        • ·      Bad Girl: Mother Gothel
          • Irredeemably evil
          • Nurtures and cares for Rapunzel for 18 years in (relatively) healthy relationship
            • Not the wicked step-mother figure from other Disney Princess movies.
              • ·      Language resembles healthy child/parent relationship:
                • I love you/I love you more/I love you most
                • Encourages/models strong, independent woman for Rapunzel
                  • SNARLES
  • Demonized
    • Active, independent woman demonized and killed (no second chance)
    • ·      Rapunzel rebels against good mother
      • Does not address the “snarl”/conflict/consequences of this rebellion
      • Becomes increasingly silent and passive – unable to affect own rescue 19th C gender norms – not refreshing 21st C tale.
        • Bound and gagged
        • Submit to evil Gothel to save Eugene

 

ATU 310 “The Maiden in the Tower” – Sexual Exploration and Repression

  • ·      La Force’s “Persinette”
    • Sexual desire and exploration (prince climbing into maiden’s tower – visual/narrative metaphor)
    • ·      Grimms’ “Rapunzel”
      • Sex channeled into marriage and romance
        • Retains symbols
        • ·      Disney
          • Represses sexual symbol
            • Eugene climbs tower (w/o hair) to hid stolen crown (of lost Princess)
  • Denies sexual desire/threat
    • Eugene claims he doesn’t want Rapunzel’s fairy (body) or crown (virginity)
      • ·      The symbolism of the crown becomes especially obvious in Rapunzel’s dialogue with Gothel where she repeats “Give it to him.”

 

POTENTIAL DANGEROUS SNARL

ESPECIALLY IN AN AGE OF INTERNET PREDATORS

 

  • ·      Eugene – felon & grown man
    • Opening scene he sneaks into castle and steals crown
      • Brings Rapunzel to scary biker bar (Viking bar)
      • Beard and mature male body – not other Disney hero depicted as mature male
  • Gothel Brings Up (Eugene’s felon past)
    • No adequate response: “I think he might like me”

SNARL

DENIAL OF POTENTIAL SEXUAL DESIRE/THREAT – ENCOURAGES IMMATURE AUDIENCE TO IGNORE REALITY OF SEXUAL DESIRE/THREAT POSED BY ADULT MEN

 

Snarled Sexual Images:

  • ·      While Disney’s Tangled verbally denies sexual message of traditional ATU 310 tale, film is replete with violent sexual images.
    • Eugene forces his way into Rapunzel’s tower (she does not let him in)
    • Eugene “de-flowers” Rapunzel by cutting off her fairy (suggestive looking shard of glass)
    • Eugene rolls over on top of Rapunzel during their first kiss/embrace
      • 1st Disney animated movie where kiss has smacking kiss sound (Nathan Greno and Byron Howard)
      • ·      Rapunzel
        • Visually disempowered
        • Conclusion – bound, chained, and gagged (image Disney has avoided in all other Princess movies – and it’s not necessary for this film either)
        • Verbally disempowered
          • Promises to submit to evil Gothel

Racial Snarl

  • ·      Name “Mother Gothel” may have racial implications in “Persinette” and “Rapunzel” – Disney visually creates unresolved racial tensions in film.
  • ·      Visually associated with Nordic heritage: fair skin and straight hair
    • Rapunzel
    • Eugene
    • Towns people
    • Vikings
    • ·      Mother Gothel: black curly hair/darker complexion
      • American audience – racial connotations (African American/Semitic)
      • Black, curly hair threatens magical blond hair – racial connotations become menacing snarl – never resolved.

 

DISNNEY: PROMISES REFRESHING 21ST CENTURY TWIST ON TRADITIONAL ATU 310 TALE “THE MAIDEN IN THE TOWER”

 

SNARL: RACIALIST (if not racist) MESSAGE

 

SNARL: TREATMENT OF (traditional) SEXUAL MESSAGE OF 310 TALE

  • ·      Denies desire/threat
  • ·      Encourage sexual exploration
  • ·      Dangerous for immature American audience
    • Although Rapunzel is 18, she looks like a skinny, pre-pubescent teen
      • She V ISUALLY resembles the 4-12 year olds (film target audience) – thus her actions will be taken as a model for this audience (especially because she does not grow/mature in the film – only Eugene seems to grow)
  • La Force – aimed at mature audience
  • Grimms – modified their message for Victorian audience (without denying threat of sexuality)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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