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The Importance Of Appearance Essay

2316 words - 10 pages

Appearance is always the fundamental theme of fairy tales, especially in “Donkeyskin”, “Catskin”, and “The Princess in the Suit of Leather”. The appearances of the girls caused many of the actions made by the other characters. For example, the princesses’ unmatchable beauty made their fathers or an old man to desire to marry them. But appearance is not just about the beauty of the people; it is, also, about the social appearances. It seems that other people’s view of the princesses changed as the girls switched between social classes. The girls worked hard through the rough life of a maid and ridicule but at the end achieved the true “happily ever after” life. Even after a horrible life, the girls were still graceful, beautiful and fair. In any adaptations you may read, they will always have an emphasis on appearances. The reason why these tales focus so much on appearance is because it correlates beauty with goodness and ugliness to evil. The attractiveness of the princesses had a direct linkage to social class and how people treated them. The way that the princesses look and present themselves is the element that creates the plot.
In each adaptations, appearance is the main reason for many of the actions made by the characters. The importance of appearance in “Donkeyskin” is immediately noted in the beginning of the story. “Neither the court with its many beauties, nor the country, nor the city, nor the neighboring kingdoms where they were making the rounds could such a woman. Only his own daughter was more beautiful” (Perrault 110). The king in “Donkeyskin” became maddened with desire to marry his daughters because Donkeyskin was the only woman who surpassed the beauty of her mother. This caused Donkeyskin to run away which ultimately gave us a story. This plot is very closely related to that of “The Princess in the Suit of Leather”. The princess in faced the same problem and just like Donkeyskin, she ran away. This first conflict with the women’s appearances is one of the main points of the story where it is clear that the importance of appearance in these tales.
In contrast, another rendition called “Catskin” where the father did not care for the daughter because she was bony and female and thus gave her up to whomever wanted to marry her (Jacobs 122). She was still beautiful but because she was a girl, she was not liked by her father. This adaptation is more acceptable in our society because rather than attempted incest it was a random nasty old man trying to marry the girl. Jacobs took away the taboo part of the story but still kept the same morals and storyline. By removing this risqué part, it let the reader focus on the lesson of the story rather than be disgusted and in shock of what caused the girl to run away. This difference in this tale is what really set it apart from the other renditions because Catskin is not described to be out of the world beautiful and even despised by her father. This makes the tale less indecent and...

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