“But What Does It Really Mean?”: “Wolfland” And The Ambiguity Of Meaning

926 words - 4 pages

In the introduction to the The Classic Fairy Tales, Maria Tartar notes that there is no “single, univocal, uncontested meaning” for any particular fairy tale (xiv). This is primarily due to the “kaleidoscopic variations” of fairy tales that have been “reconfigured” to meet the needs of different, distinct audiences (Tartar ix). As Tartar notes, “local color” shape each the telling of each tale (ix). However, the local color shapes more than just the telling, or variation, of a tale. When coupled with the personal experiences and expectations of the listener/reader of a tale, the local color also affects the meaning of a tale. As a result, a singular fairy tale or tale variation ...view middle of the document...

Her childlike characteristics are reflected in her childish, petulant behavior throughout the story. At times, even Lisel recognizes that her behavior is “foolish” and immature (Lee 137). And yet, she does little to correct this childishness as she continues to throw fits and behave as a child in the midst of a temper tantrum. Her childlike innocence can also be found in her response to the “lurid novel” that she discovers in her room (Lee 132). Even though the novel “outrage[s] the girl’s propriety,” she reveals in the thrilling parts as a child would in participating in an activity that is known to be wrong (Lee 132). Her submissive nature is demonstrated multiple times in her behavior towards her grandmother. This is first made apparent by her decision to visit her grandmother despite insisting that she “shan’t go” (Lee 123). Once there, she says and does many things in an attempt to fulfill what she believes are her grandmother’s desires. Each time Lisel seems to firmly make some sort decision, she quickly deviates from the intended course of action, conforming to the will of those who are stronger than her. She is later transformed without her knowledge and against her will, further emphasizing her weak, submissive character.
On the surface, it seems as though Anna is a strong, independent woman, but, in reality, she, too, is a weak woman. In Anna’s life, her husband has all the power even after he is dead. While he is alive, Anna must submit herself to his abuse. Initially, she is the “helpless, threatened …wife” that typically garners the approval and sympathy of the fairy tale audience (Lieberman 199)....

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