Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blog Entry 12: This is your final blog. In this blog, please reread all blogs you have written and reflect about what you have done and learned in the semester. How did you like the material covered? Was it challenging for you? Did you spend enough time reading the required material? Etc. Blog is due by Thursday, May 9.
I really enjoyed the material that we covered in this class. It really exposed my to literature outside the normal European perspective. I especially enjoyed the guest speakers that breathed life into tales that otherwise would just be words on a page. Especially Dr. Ocheing, he really knows how to tell a story and draw someone into it.  I feel like we also went much more in depth then I ever have with fairytales.
I think this class was challenging without overwhelming. I am not a psychology minded person so the Jung and Freud perspectives we definitely a challenge. Sometime I wasn’t even sure that I understood them at all. But as the class went on it began to make much more sense. The other thing that was challenging was relating the fairytales to my own field of study, sociology. But just like the psychology perspective after a while I figured it out. But other then that it was not too bad, just a lot of reading, which is understandable.
I spent a lot of time reading the material assigned. But I wish that we had more time in class to discuss. Some of the tales I felt like we kind of rushed through. Especially the ones that the guest speakers presented on. They were so interesting but we never really had time to discuss them as a class outside of asking the presenters questions. I feel like there is so much more that we never got to talk about but that is the restriction of a semester long class. 
Just a last thought, in the very first blog I said Little Mermaid was my favorite and that has not changed. But now I like it for different reasons. The imagery in Han Christian Anderson's tale is so beautiful. I think the falcon, for me, is when the grandmother is clamping the clams on the little mermaid's tale. I know it doesn't sound like much but it encompasses all of the ideas of sacrifice and following the right path that the rest of the tale tries to portray. 
Margaret Tarrant's Little Mermaid 1


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Entry 10: Write a reflection either on the lecture by Dr. Alles or Dr. Ochieng’ and show how the myths and legends of the Ādivāsīs in India or the Kenyan folktales are similar or different from those have read and discussed so far. How did you like his lecture and presentation? How did this enrich your knowledge of folk and fairy tales? Be reflective and elaborate on what you write. Blog is due by Sunday, April 28

Dr. Ochieng’s lecture on Kenyan folktales was vastly different from the majority of the tales we looked at throughout our class. First of all while European folktales are generally told to sooth fears such as marriage, “Beauty and the Beast,” Kenyan folk tales are used to show origin or aspects of the community. The tale that he told that explained the origins of jealousy is an example of this. Otiono is trying to get rich, leading him to the animal kingdom where he is given a gift. This gift allows him to become so rich he can take a second wife. This second wife is very jealous, when she dies she is cremated and who ever the ashes touches feel jealous. This is the origin of jealousy. In a n European tale there is no talk of why things happen or where they come from, they are just tales meant to help children explore their inner psyche. In “Beauty and the Beast,” nothing of origin is ever discussed instead the tales purpose is to sooth young girl’s fears on marriage, by showing them their husband to be is not really a beast.
In the Kenyan tale additionally wit is valued this is a similarity to the European tales. When the monkey tricks the shark into taking him back to the tree, the monkey’s wit is valued. He is seen as the hero of the story because he is able to out smart the shark and save his own skin. This is similar to some of the Bluebeard tales where the girls are able to use their wits to either sew their sisters back together and save them or hold of the villain long enough to out wit him and escape. In both cases the hero is able to out smart their enemy and is rewarded for their actions. 

Image source~

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This entry should be either about the Jewish folktale tradition or on the Native-American stories and how these are distinctly different from those of European origins. What is unique about them?) Blog is due by Sunday, April 14.

These Jewish tales are different from European tales in a few ways. For one the Rabbi for the most part is always at the center of the tale. The Rabbi tends to be the central guiding figure that teaches the others a lesson and is generally looked favorable upon. In “The Rabbi Who Was Turned into a Werewolf,” even though at the end of the tale the Rabbi turned his wife into a donkey, he was still seen as a good man. In fact the Rabbi was seem as a reasonable man, making even the relatives of his wife see the justness in his action, thereby placing no blame on him. This is the opposite of what happens in some European tales with transformation elements where the person who caused it is punished and the transformed is returned to their original state. For example in The Swan Maiden” the husband steals the wife’s swan feathers and that is how he is initially transformed to a human. By the end of the tale the wife has regained her feathers and returned to her original state as a swan and the husband is punished with loosing his wife. In the Jewish tale there is no punishment for the Rabbi’s misuse of power over his wife.
Folktales of the Jews
This leads to my next point, the lack of happy ending or soothing in the Jewish folk tales. In the “Swan Maiden” although the husband is punished for his actions towards his wife there was ultimately a happy ending. Where as in the Jewish Folk tales there is less of a focus on a happy ending and more of a focus on the lesson. In “Chelm Justice” there is no happy ending, in fact there is just the opposite, the ending is utterly unsatisfactory. The roofer is called to pay the price of cobbler’s crime. There is no soothing message within this tale to soothe the worries of the child. Instead there is the cold harsh reality of life’s unfairness. A roofer had to pay for the crime, instilling in the reader the idea of life’s unjustness. There is also the hidden lesson of making yourself unique. In a world where thing do not have to be fair this tale teaches to make oneself indispensable to those around them.
Leader in the community


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Entry 7: This entry should be about Bluebeard as a villain: Which of the Bluebeard tales we have read did 
you like
the most/ least? Why? How is this tale different from others we have 
read? What makes it special? Please elaborate and include quotes from 
the tale to prove your
point of view.

I preferred “Fitcher’s Bird” by Brothers Grimm; I enjoyed the element of magic that the tale presented. That Bluebeard was not only a twisted man that killed his wives, he was also able to get women simply by having “touched her and she jumped into his basket” (Tatar, 148). It also added an interesting image to the tale outside of the gore. Later in the tale when the third sister found her sisters chopped up in a basin I remembered the peaceful way he got the girls to come with him in the first place. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two images of the villain it showed his cunning as well as his sinister side. Also I like that he used magic because it showed early on his distrust of the girls, this distrust made it easier to accept later in the tale that he would kill over betrayal. If he was not even willing to ask a girl to marry him for fear of rejection how could he stay with one that well against his express will. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way condoning his actions, I just find Bluebeard to be a sad character. In Fetcher’s bride he has no one in his life, everyone who has entered his life was forced out by his rage and mistrust. Then at the end when he could not find a trace of blood on the egg or key and thinks he has finally found someone to trust, he has still been betrayed.

I did not really mind any of these tales, there was so little various among them that I liked them all. Though I did find Bluebeard to be an odd character. He was different from all of the other villains so far in that he did not have any transformative elements. With Beauty and the Beast tales at the end the beast becomes human, or visa versa, and they two live happily ever after, if they are of the opposite sex. I cannot think of any tales where two characters of the opposite sex, where one is a villain, that does not end with the evil one becoming good. The times that the villain does not become good are in tales like ‘Snow White’ or ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ where it is a parent trying to kill the main character, in which case the character has no option for marriage to villain. Bluebeard is the only time that the villain is killed. An example of this is in the Fitcher’s Tale when “they set fire to [the house] so that the sorcerer and his crew burned to death” (Tatar, 151).


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog #6~ Watch “Sonne” by Rammstein and compare the story and persons, motives, symbols in the music video with those of “Snow White” fairy tales read in class. What is similar? What is different? Which one do you like better and why?

        The Rammstein version and the Brothers’ Grimm version of ‘Snow White’ have some similarities but also very different. In both there are little men, although there are only 5 ‘dwarfs’ in the Rammstein version. In the music video, Snow White was herself the evil ruler, punishing the little men for not finding enough gold for her, whereas in the Brothers’ Grimm version the queen is the evil one, finding fault in Snow White for being so beautiful. From the translation that I used, there was no mention of beauty, just the sun can blind and hurt you. Additionally, in ‘Sonne’ the dwarfs appear to serve Snow White as opposed to her forming a social contract with them to do house work, the dwarfs can be seen brushing Snow White’s hair and polishing her apples. Which brings me to my next different, Snow White is the one with the apples. There is no 3rd party trying to hurt her. Instead she is hurting herself, and ultimately killing herself, by snorting the gold that the dwarfs find in the mines. Although there is the similarity of the glass coffin at the top a mountain in both stories the means for awakening are very different. At the end of the video instead of the apple killing her and the prince coming to save her, the apple awakes her from her glass coffin, by breaking it. The “Young Slave” had even less in common with the music video. There is not mother ever mentioned nor is there a kind uncle or wicked aunt. In the music video there are only Snow White and the dwarfs. The girl in the video is not seeking a way to get back to her rightful place and does not ask anyone for anything but gold. 


         I actually preferred the Rammstein version to the other ones. I enjoyed the dwarfs actually seeming upset at the invasion of Snow White into their homes. As they dug in the mines for more gold, it appeared to me that they were frustrated with their work and bitter at having to serve. I also liked that Snow White herself was the evil queen instead of a helpless maiden. She made the men work for her and give her what she wanted as opposed to doing all their housework for them. She took on some of the stronger characteristics of the evil queen in other versions which enabled her to be independent and take over the dwarfs’ house as leader. 

Image sources~