Hansel And Gretel Essay

1982 words - 8 pages

In "Hansel and Gretel" and "Snow White" there are many comparisons that arisewithin the two stories. In "Hansel and Gretel" the children's presence creates hardshipsfor the parents, and because of this, life turns problematic for the children. In "SnowWhite" it is not any external difficulty such as poverty, but the relations between her andher parents which create the problematic situation. In "Hansel and Gretel" and "SnowWhite" the mother insists that the children must be gotten rid of. The children are broughtinto the forest and abandoned from their parents.The story "Hansel and Gretel" begins realistically. The parents are poor, and theyworry about how they will be able to take care of their children. Together at night theydiscuss their predicament, and how they can deal with it. Even taken on this surface level,the folk fairy tale conveys an important, although unpleasant, truth. Poverty anddeprivation do not improve man's character, but rather make him more selfish, lesssensitive to the sufferings of others, and thus prone to embark on evil deeds. Therefore,in Hansel and Gretel the children's presence creates hardships for the parents, andbecause of this, life turns problematic for the children. In "Snow White" it is not anyexternal difficulty such as poverty, but the relations between her and her parents whichcreate the problematic situation. Snow White's stepmother begins to feel threatened bySnow White's beauty and becomes jealous.The ready acceptance of the hunter figure as a suitable image of a strong andprotective father figure, as opposed to the many ineffectual fathers such as the one in"Hansel and Gretel", must relate to associations which attach themselves to this figure. Inthe unconscious the hunter is seen as the symbol of protection. In this "connection wemust consider the animal phobias of which no child is threatened and pursued by angryanimals, creations of his fear and guilt" (Myers, pg167). Only the parent-hunter, so hefeels, can scare these threatening animals away; keep them permanently from the child'sdoor. Hence the "hunter of fairy tales is not a figure who kills friendly creatures, but onewho dominates, controls, and subdues wild, ferocious beasts. On a deeper level, herepresents the subjugation of the animal, asocial, violent tendencies in man" (Myers,pg167). Since he seeks out, tracks down, and defeats what are viewed as lower aspects ofman, the wolf, the hunter is an eminently protective figure that can and does save us fromthe dangers of our violent emotions and those of others.A weak father is as little use to Snow White as he was to Hansel and Gretel. Thefrequent appearance of such figures in fairy tales suggests that wife-dominated husbandsare not exactly new to this world. More to the point, it is such fathers who either createunmanageable difficulties in the child or fail to help solve them. This is another exampleof the important messages fairy tales contain for parents.The reason the stepmother is depicted...

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