Sunday, February 24, 2013

Find a cartoon on-line with “Little Red Riding Hood” as a theme and write a reflection on that cartoon.
By: Bob Gonzalez

This is I think a social cartoon. This cartoon makes 2 points, I believe. The first is that the world is not as trust worthy as it once was. That even going to sweet old grandma’s house can be a dangerous affair. While in modern times the actual wolf is not a major concern, I think that the idea Perrault expressed about the wolf actually being people to be wary of is still a major concern. This cartoon is trying to say that danger hides in all places and it is best to always be prepared, even in what appears to be a safe environment. It is essentially a social comment on the state of the world.
The other point that this cartoon is trying to make is the absurdness of this story. That a little girl is meant to face the big bad wolf, in some cases all on her own, is in it of itself silly. But for her also to confuse the wolf with her grandmother is even more ridiculous. The Friar giving her, his mace for protection shows how readers see the obvious threats presented in the story. I found that interesting the author chose to portray the little girl in a way that he assumed he wished to see her, protected and prepared for what is to come.
This comic strip made me wonder if it could represent part of what Bettelheim talks about using fairytales to work through the unconscious. The author is portraying Little Red Riding Hood with 2 male role models, while in many versions of the tale she has no male to protect and adore her. In this strip she has not only her uncle, but also the Friar, who cares enough to give her a weapon. These two men give her what the storybook Little Red Riding Hood does not have and that lack of support ultimately leads her to the arms of the wolf.  I am just making a guess, but this my not have sat well with the author of the comic and so he created a world in which the opposite was true, a safe world.
I enjoyed this comic strip enough. The author actually had a few different strips about little Red Riding Hood, all of which were interesting. They all had similar themes of Little Red being prepared for the wolf. Which I thought was interesting, and goes back to what I said about the Author’s unconscious need to feel safe and protected. Overall it was an interesting interpretation especially the introduction of a religious element, with the Friar, which is absent in the real versions of Little Red Riding Hood.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The topic of this blog entry is “The Child as a Hero.” Describe the role of various children as heroes in at least 2 fairy tales. Also explain the meaning of this from a Freudian (here Bettelheim) psychoanalytical point of view.

The Rose Tree~ Joseph Jacobs
            In this story I believe that the hero is the little brother that buried his sister’s bone. Even though girl is the one that killed the ‘evil’ mother the little brother is the one who asserted himself as an independent entity from this parents, thereby saving his sister. While the sister is bent on revenge against her stepmother by collecting items from various people, the brother is able to think clearly enough to not eat the stew and bury his sister’s bones beneath the rose tree.
            Bettelheim would say that the sister is suffering from denial and regression by trying to return home to exact revenge, thereby following her id instead of thinking rationally. The brother on the other hand is able to recognize his sister’s dependence on finding acceptance in his mother as well as the dangers of that dependence, and it able to turn away and find independence. The brother is able to recognize this and the “encouragement of growth toward a higher plane of psychological and intellectual existence.” (Bettelheim 165) The bother is able to refuse eating his mother’s stew because he is able to think intellectually and push aside his psychological dependence on his mother. By doing so, he can logically identify that his sister is in that stew and that just because his mother says it is okay to eat does not make it the moral and correct thing to do. The brother in this moment becomes the hero of the story, the hero who is enabled to save his sister by his psychological and intellectual independence from his mother.

Hansel and Gretel~ Brothers Grimm

            Either child in this story could be considered the hero. Though for this assignment I am going to solely focus on Gretel. Gretel is able to defeat the witch by out smarting her intellectually as well as overcoming her oral greediness and dependence on her mother figure, the witch. The witch represents the children’s oral greed and dependency. Instead of submitting to the id, Gretel has to follow her ego. This means “goal directed behavior based on intelligent assessment of the situation,” (Bettelheim 162) a clear example of this is, Gretel tricking the witch into climbing into the oven. In taking a logically assessment of her situation she was able to rise above her id’s impulses to run away, or cry, whatever else it was trying to do, in order to save the day.
            Gretel’s higher stage of development, the evolvement form the oral stage, is possible because she was able to recognize the “dangers of remaining fixed to primitive orality with its destructive propensities.” (Bettelheim 162) This shows that that Gretel is able to find security within them instead of in an external mother figure. I think that makes Gretel one of the heroes in this tale, her ability to over come her dependency and save her brother from witch’s control.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Develop a one-page working definition of folk or fairy tale based on class discussions, materials we have read in class.

I really liked the introduction in Bettelheim’s description of a fairytale. That fairytales need to be simple enough that anyone can understand. The Hero in a fairy tale should be the main focal point; the hero has to be inherently good otherwise there would be confusion, just like the villain has to be evil all the time. This creates a character that people can identify with and that they can use to sort out internal stressors, such as dealing with the transition from childhood to adult.

Fairytales have to start simply and clearly stating the problems that the hero with face. Also throughout the story the function of the fairytale cannot change and therefore enforce the constants of the story. The actions tend to follow Propp’s 31 functions. Additionally the stories tend to follow the Aarnie Thompson Classification system. Meaning that they follow a distinct path that always end in relatively the same way.

       Fairytales are simple stories that embrace different aspects of the culture in which they were founded. Fairytales also tend to have similar archetypes and motifs all around the world. Though they may have originated at different times and places they ten to follow the same pattern and address the same issues. The archetypes are universal things that affect everyone, making fairytales influential, regardless of where they originated or who is reading them now. It is also why I believe that even today airy tales are influential and continue to re-emerge in pop culture and children’s literature.

       Fairytales tend to follow the same patterns for the beginning, middle and ends. They always start by straight off introducing the hero as well as the villain and the problem. The conflict is always something that the hero can remedy by going on a quest, fighting someone or achieving an attainable goal. Then the hero goes on their journey and a twist occurs, the villain interferes with the hero’s so far easy journey. Once the hero over comes this new obstacle they emerge victorious. The villain is defeated as well as punished for their evil action and the story ends in a happy way where the hero gets everything they’ve ever wanted. I think that is what makes a fairytale that things start out bad and get better and that the good guy always wins. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blog Post 1

Why did you choose this class?
Well who doesn’t like fairytales? I think every kid grew up loving fairytales. But I always felt like there was more to the stories then the cookie cutter version that Disney presented. I thought this class would be a good way to expose myself to those other versions of Fairytales, which are maybe not so bright. I am also really interested in how fairytales and folklores relate to religion. I have always been interested in how religion relates to society and fairytales are an expression of society, so I assume there is some connection. I just need a chance to figure out what it is!!

Why did you choose this class?
Well…I am not sure yet. But, at least for now, I am hoping to be able to see the deeper meaning in fairytales. Or maybe to find some surprises in them that I never ever expected!

What is your favorite folktale and fairytale off all time and why?
Honestly my favorite fairytale is "The Little Mermaid" and has been since I was little, although the reasons have changed over time. When I was little, it was because I had very red hair and Ariel, in the Disney version, made me feel a little less like a weirdo, since I didn’t know anyone else with red hair. Additionally my best friend was and is named Ariel, so obviously that added to my love of the Disney version of the fairytale! But as I grew older so did my obsession with the little mermaid, and I began to read various versions of the ‘Little Mermaid.’ Now my favorite is where she has to stab the prince in order to stay human or turn to sea foam, and she chose to turn to sea foam. I do not know why, but that version has always stuck with me!