Theme of Stereotypes
One of the main themes that I noticed when I was reading through the fairy tale texts was the theme of stereotypes. Firstly, what are stereotypes? Stereotypes are essentially an offensive generalization or an over exaggerated view that is used to categorize a group of people. I noticed that in two of the three texts that I have selected for this paper, the authors, Jakob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, tend to portray women as being very dependent on men. In addition, to being depicted as being very dependent, they were also shown to be weak and very naïve. My goal in this paper is to highlight the numerous accounts of stereotypes that are cast mainly upon women and sometimes men as well, whether it be fictional or non-fictional, through the use of two texts. These texts are “Cinderella” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. For my third text I chose to use “Precious” by Nalo Hopkinson, because it challenges the stereotypical ideas presented of women.
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into four main sections. The first two sections are supporting the idea that stereotypes towards women are indeed present in fairy tales. In the first section, I will address how stereotypes of mainly women are portrayed through the fairy tale of “Cinderella”. I will outline the fairy tale and then provide arguments as to why some of the things it mentions are a stereotype against women. In the second section, using the “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” text I will again provide accounts where women and men are portrayed stereotypically. I will then argue again how the events pertaining to Snow White are stereotypically against women. In the third, I will refer to the “Precious” text by arguing how it challenges the idea of typical stereotypes that are portrayed of women. In this section I will also mention how it portrays stereotypes of men. In the fourth and final section, I will be comparing all of the text and basically tie them all together. In addition, I will be discussing how the readings relate to one another even though they vary plots. However, they still express similar ideas focusing around the theme of stereotypes.
I found that Jakob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm worked on “Cinderella” to be vastly different from the Disney version. The Grimm brother’s version had no fairy godmother and was very gruesome. An example of this is the telling of what the step sisters did to fit into the slipper that was used to find the prince’s bride to be. “The eldest [step sister] tried it on first in another room, and her mother stood by. She could have worn it if her great toe had not been so large, so her mother offered her a knife, and told her to cut it off ‘When you are queen,’ she said, ‘you will not want to use your feet much’” (Grimm and Grimm 93-94). She did indeed cut off her great toe just so she can possibly get the chance to marry the prince despite all the pain she had to endure in order to do so. That was the same choice her...