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  • Make sure you've signed up for Conferences AND Class Presentations!
  • Time limits are going to be VERY important (at conferences and during class presentations).  
    • Show up early for conferences so we can start on time because we must finish on time.
    • Time your presentation! You can NOT run over!



ATU 510A "Magical Helpers"



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


"Puss in Boots"

  • Who wrote this ATU 510 tale?
  • Where was it published?


Discussion Questions:

  • What similarities do you see between these two fairy tales?
  • How does the magical helper function in these fairy tales?
  • How does the magical helper shape the identity of the hero/heroine? 


In the fairy tale collections, like the Grimms' Kinder-und-Hausmärchen, "Cinderella" is one fairy tale among many. It was the first fairy tale to attract focused, scholarly interest. In the 1890s, Marian Cox compiled hundreds of variations of Cinderella from around the world and discussed their similarities and significance. And it has continued to generate scholarly attention. However, the significance of this fairy tale in the United States goes beyond that of other cultures. In the US, "Cinderella" has become representative of all fairy tales.  




The glass slipper motif has become representative of Cinderella, although it is only found in a few versions of this tale. However, the object that brings recognition is much more pervasive. Do we see a similar object in "Puss in Boots"? How is the hero "recognized" in this tale?


  • What is the significance of the object that generates recognition? How does the theme of "being the perfect fit" become culturally pervasive?
  • How is this message gendered?  


The Metamorphosis of Cinderella

Cinderella has been identified as "arguably the most popular tale in the world" (Alan Dundee). It's popularity has garnered responses from artists for centuries.


Let's consider the representation of gender, power, and sexuality in a few of these images:



Elenore Abbott. Ca. 1920. 


William Crane. Mid-1800s.


  • Compare the body positions of the female characters in Abbott and Crane's illustrations. 
  • Consider Crane's representations of the gendered body. Can you tell the difference between Prince Charming and Cinderella? 





Arthur Rackham illustrated both Perrault's "Cinderella" and the Grimm Brother's "Ashenputzel."

  • What are the similarities between these heroines?
  • What are the differences?
  • How does Rackham's fairy godmother compare with the magic helper in Crane and Abbott's illustrations?


Aubrey Beardsly painted this image in 1894. 

  • How does it compare to the other illustrations?
  • How is the female body represented here?
  • How is the body framed (and what is the significance of that)?




Dulac 1910.


  • How does Dulac's fairy godmother compare with the other fairy godmothers we've seen?
    •  How does this image negotiate issues of class and gender?
  • How do all these illustrations negotiate ideas of material culture and gender?



Jessie Wilcox Smith is famous for her illustrations of young children.

  • How does Smith's Cinderella compare to the images we've viewed so far?
    • Consider the body position and use of color.  
    • How does this image create a gendered message? 


How do these images create gendered messages that are different from the literary fairy tales we've explored here? How do these images fit into (or resist) the theories about gender we are exploring in this class?  


ATU 510B "The Father Who Wanted To Marry His Daughter"


"Donkey Skin"

  • Who wrote this ATU 510B tale?
  • Where was it published?


  • This is another variation of "Cinderella."
  • How is this similar to the ATU 510A tales?
  • How is it different?



"Donkey Skin" is not fairy tale that typically appears in children's fairy tale collections, but it has attracted a lot of attention in revisionist fairy tales. Why are we uncomfortable sharing this with children? Why do revisionists find this fairy tale attractive? 


How does this fairy tale complicate the idea of a woman being "the perfect fit"?


Group Activity:


Based on the fairy tales we have read so far, how would you define the genre "literary fairy tale"? Specifically, think about the role of the fantastic or feelings of "wonder" that fairy tales typically produce. What is wonder? What is the fantastic? How are they created? What is their function?


Spend a few minutes discussing it with your group and right the criteria you develop on the board.


We began the semester with THIS definition:

  • A working definition for the genre of fairy tale might be: a short narrative with a identifiable hero or heroine and a plot that revolves around (expectations of) the fantastic.


We've added:


  • The fairy tale builds upon an established literary/oral tradition but each literary tale is the product of a specific time and place. 
  • The fairy tale articulates/celebrates some cultural value (often reinforcing gender expectations). 
  • The fairy tale often depicts moral extremes (good vs. evil).
  • The fairy tale is relatively simple (narrative structure, character development...). 



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