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FSU LIT 2230 - Week 8 – Feminism

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British Fairy Tales Final Exam Study Guide Week 8 – Feminism Tale Synopses Gobborn Seer This is a story of a witty wife that is smarter than her husband Jack. Jack’s father marries her to him after she proves her wit. Jack and his father, as castle builders, build a castle for a king. Jack’s wife ends up saving them from a king that wants them to be killed to ensure that no one else builds a castle grander than his. She does this by holding the king’s son ransom in a chest. Jack builds a castle far superior to the king’s and they live happily ever after. The Princess of Canterbury King of Canterbury: No one can marry my daughter unless they go throughout an entire night without sitting down or sleeping. If you fail, you die. A poor shepherd hears about the challenge and on the way, washes his feet in a river. He catches several fish with his toes, and then claims that he was fishing all night by pulling fish out of his bag whenever he’s caught sleeping. The princess and her father are convinced and he becomes a king’s son. The Fish and the Ring A magician’s son looks in the Book of Fate and finds out he’ll marry a lowly maid. The magician, knowing the girl is already alive, tries to kill her by throwing her in a river after taking her from her father, but she survives and lives with a river fisherman until she’s fifteen. The magician coincidentally meets her fifteen years later and instructs her to go to his brother with a letter that tells him to kill her. Robbers break into the inn she’s staying at and change the instructions from ‘kill’ to ‘marry’. He attempts to kill her again by throwing her off a cliff, but she begs for her life. He takes off a ring and throws it into the sea, telling her never to go back to his family unless she has the ring. She gets work as a cook in a castle, and when the magician and his son coincidentally visit, she finds the ring inside a fish that is to be boiled for dinner. The guests want to know who cooked the wonderful meal, and she comes out with the ring. The magician decides no one can fight against fate, and they all go home and live happily ever after. Kate CrackernutsKate is less beautiful than her stepsister Anne so that the queen, Kate’s mother, hates her. The queen consults a henwife to turn Anne’s head into a sheep head. They go out into the world to seek their fortunes and find a castle ruled by a king and his two sons. One of the sons is sick with a mysterious illness, and Kate offers to watch over him each night. At night, she follows him into a hill that has dancing fairies inside and steals a magic wand from one of them to cure Anne. The next night, she follows him again into the hill with the dancing fairies, steals a magic bird, and cooks it. The magic cooked bird cures the sick prince; they get married and live happily ever after. Mossycoat A widow makes a fine coat made out of moss for reasons her daughter doesn’t know. One day, before the coat is finished, a weird horny guy knocks on the door and starts flirting with the girl. He wants to marry her. Her mother tells her to tell him to come back with a white satin dress laced in gold. He comes back a week later with the described dress that fits perfectly. Her mother tells her to tell him she needs a silk dress for her honeymoon. He comes back a week later with the item. Then she demands dancing shoes for the celebrations: gold-and-diamond heels. He comes back a week later with the shoes. Having almost finished the mossy coat, her mother then tells Mossycoat to tell him to come back at ten o’clock the next morning. She packs up the nice items the man gave her in a suitcase and works throughout the night. In the morning, she finishes the ‘magic’ fortune-bringing mossy coat. Her mother tells her to take the suitcase and go and find her place in the world, saying she’ll take care of the man. After wishing she were a hundred miles away, she’s magically whisked into the air and lands in a foreign place. She gets a job as a cook at a grand house. She works in the kitchen where the people working there are cruel to her. She puts on the mossy coat, wishes all the servants asleep, and wishes herself at the ball with her suitcase full of nice clothes on. The young prince, the house’s owner’s son, falls in love with her. She escapes back to the house after a dance with the prince. This happens the next night, and she leaves her slipper behind. The young prince falls into heartsickness and will die unless he finds the girl. All the girls of the kingdom line up to try on the slipper, but none of them fit. He sends for Mossycoat, who they hadn’t seen try it on, and the slipper of course fits. They live happily ever after the mother fires all the servants. Tib and the Old Witch Girl goes out into the world to make her fortune when her father won’t let her marry a miller. She comes across an old woman, who she decides to live with. Tib pisses her off not long after living with her, and tricks the old woman into beating and destroying her own furniture tied up in a bag, upon which Tib laughs hysterically and runs away. Kay Stone – Things Walt Disney Never Told Us -Heroines are included in very popular tales, but they haven’t received as much scholarly attention.-Most heroines are passive and humble girls. They aren’t heroines if they don’t act with these virtues. Very few act with violence. In contrast, ‘Marchen heroes can be unattractive, slovenly, and lazy.’ However, male Marchen heroes don’t care for their disposition and act instead of having good things come their way. -Female heroines are more of a North American phenomenon. They occur less frequently in Europe and not at all in German fairy tales. -Disney, having three tales based on Marchen, tends to focus on helpless beauty victimized by female villains. This is only a stereotype; actually, tales have female villains only moderately, depending on the country. The villain is a woman in all three tales. -There are many instances of active female heroines (Kate Crackernuts, Mossycoat, Tib and the Old Witch). In Tib and the Old Witch, she leaves her father’s home because her father rejects her lover. These are tales in which the heroines are judged not by their inherent traits (i.e. beauty, good temperament), but by their actions. Stone argues this is something Disney never acknowledges when in fact strong women play a large role in our literary tradition.


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