Sunday, May 6, 2012

And They Lived Happily Ever After

It is hard to believe that we've already had our last fairytales class. Like always, the semester seemed to absolutely fly by. However, when I took the time to go back over my old blog posts and glance at the final study guide, I was surprised to be reminded of all that we had covered in what seemed to be no time.

We read basically every fairytale I'd ever heard of and then some.. in every form I was familiar with and then some. As I predicted in my first blog post, some of the fairytales we read were shocking. They certainly weren't the Disney g-rated tales of my childhood but were full of sex, violence and other adult content. Reading the different versions was my favorite part of the class. I actually very much enjoyed the readings that were assigned to us. It was my way of "cheating" designated homework time, as I could tell myself I was doing homework, but secretly I was simply reading entertaining tales.

I noticed that in my first blog post, I labeled Beauty and the Beast as my favorite fairytale. Interestingly, the version I was referring to, was the same tale that Dr. Esa mentioned as one of his least favorites. He claimed it was much to detailed and precise to be a fairytale and killed the imagination. I, however, am going to stick by my initial assessment, keeping it my favorite tale. I view it more as well-developed, than lacking creative stimuli.

Part of the reason I came into the class liking Beauty and the Beast so much was that I felt it had an actual romantic concept within it of true love that was more than just looks. Accordingly, I was very pleased that we managed to talk about relationships, especially in regards to the woman's place, through out the class. Ultimately, my final paper reflected upon a topic I found especially resonate- the concept of the glorification of female passivity and vilification of feminine assertiveness. I enjoyed researching this topic and extending it past our in class discussions.

The guest lectures were another feature of the class I greatly enjoyed. I greatly appreciated our little tour of the world's folktales. Each speaker brought in a unique dynamic with their native culture and kept the classes interesting.

As for the movies, I throughly enjoyed The Brother's Grimm, even if it was incredibly painful to wait the entire semester to find out what would happen in the end. As for Pan's Labyrinth, I was not a huge fan. I certainly liked it more once Dr. Deveny spoke on it and gave it more perspective. But even still, it just hit me a little wrong. Perhaps it was just to dark for my tastes.

The class was a positive experience. We read quite a few stories. We also approached them in quite a few techniques of analyzation. We discussed many different topics and patterns within the fairytales that as a child I never would have picked up on, but as an adult I found intriguing. We dabbled in folktale culture around the world. Ultimately, I'd say we learned quite a bit. And, I think its important to mention, we had a lot of laughs along the way.

All I can hope for is that we will all live happily ever after. ... and that I get an A on the final, which would greatly aid in the "happily ever after" concept.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth

Our work this week with Pan's Labyrinth took our class on a different path than usual. Most notably, Pan's Labyrinth was not specifically a fairytale. Instead, it was a historical piece with a fantasy storyline infused in it. The tale took place in the early 1940's during Franco-era Spain. The real action of the story was propelled by the lingering tensions of the Spanish Civil War. Against this timepiece backdrop, however, a little girl also finds adventure in a paralleling magical world through her imagination.

Although traditional fairytales can sometimes be interpreted to fit a political view, the historical setting of the film made the social commentary directly relevant. In the film, the fascist regime of Franco is overtly villianized, while the Socialist guerilla fighters are glorified. The story makes repetitive references as well to the association of the "left" with goodness. The heroine has the mark of the princess on her left side, she offers her left hand, she completes a task opening the left box, etc. The film also can serve as a social argument for critical, independent and moral thinking. The good characters of the storyline, such as the Doctor, prove that sometimes it is necessary to disobey authority and do the right thing. Dr. Deveny suggested the director of the movie may have intended this as a more modern commentary on America in the aftermath of 9/11. He speculated the director may have been urging American's to think on a more independent, critical and moral way about their response to the tragedies of that day.

In addition to the more political nature of the film, the story broke from traditional fairytales in its portrayal of the female lead. In almost all of the fairytales we have worked with so far, the heroines have been extremely passive. Any female of action is generally villianized. In this film, however, Ophelia is uniquely active. She very assertively completes her three tasks on her own, with little aid from others. She also is willing to disobey authority and defy her father. Her personality is hardly that of the usual heroine.

Despite the unorthodox link to fairytales, during our discussions with Dr. Deveny we were able to identify nearly all of Propp's Functions within the storyline. Interestingly, many of the functions surfaced in the movie twice- once in the real world storyline and once in the fantasy storyline.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beautiful Words from Dr. Mian

Our tour of world folktales continued this week with two lectures from South Asia. On Tuesday, Dr. Shabbir Mian presented a lecture about tales from Bangladesh and on Thursday Dr. Alles spoke about fairytales from the Adivasis of India.

Dr. Shabbir Mian's presentation was entitled "Folk and Fairytales from Bangladesh." In Bangladesh, fairytales are known as Rupkotha or "beautiful words." Like the other folktales we have studied, the Rupkotha are part of an oral tradition. Accordingly, over time, the tales experience the same slight variations we have seen in other tales. Also similar to Western fairytales, these stories are full of life lessons. There are typical conflicts which contain a common theme in which virtue is rewarded. A slight difference, however, is that evil is consistently punished rather than forgiven.

Dr. Shabbir Mian also provided some cultural background to give us a context for the tales we were discussing. Dr. Mian showed pictures and spoke from his own experience living and visiting Bangladesh. He explained, for example, the influence of the tropical country and access to many bodies of water in shaping the environment of the tales.

Towards the end of the lecture, Dr. Mian showed a video production of the tale our class read- "Blue Lotus, Red Lotus." The video was actually rather shocking. It showed, vaguely graphically, a demon-mother eating her children, pulling them apart limb by limb. While a mother devouring her children really is not any more grotesque than the scenes of the original Western fairytales, it was certainly shocking to see it in video-adaption. As Americans, we are used to seeing only the "civilized" or "Disney-ized" versions of the tales reach the scene, so we never generally visualize the harsher realities of the tale.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Disenchanting Readings

This week our class read and studied the fairytale works of Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde. As far as fairytales go, I got a general sense of disenchantment from these authors. That is certainly not to say I was disappointed in them as general works of literature. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these more modern narratives. However, from both my childhood and the readings we have done in this class so far, there are some general assumptions a reader brings with them when starting to read a fairytale. It is from these fairytale expectations that the works left a feeling of disenchantment.

First of all, both of these authors delve into great detail in their tales. Each story is very lengthy. Every character and setting is described to the T. This narrative choice is very untraditional for fairytales. Fairytales almost always rely instead on the reader to tap into his imagination. The broadness of the language also allows for an otherwise unattainable universality in the tale. So, in this way, the precise language robbed some of the wonder from the readings.

These tales also backtracked from the traditional sense of magic within the tales. Certainly supernatural events occur, however, in these tales, a greater reliance on spirituality and religion emerges. A couple of the tales speak of souls and one even has direct allusions to Jesus within it. This transition of the supernatural takes away from the traditional imagery of fairytale magic.

Finally, these stories certainly do not deliver on the "fairytale" ending. There are no "And they lived happily ever after"s. In fact, in many of the stories, the main character does not even live at all. That's not to say they are all negative, morbid tales. However, there is such a strong religious message of self-sacrifice and morality that many of the tales do not give earthly gratification to the protagonists.

Nevertheless, like I previously mentioned, I enjoyed these tales. I especially found it incredibly interesting to read fairytale works from Oscar Wilde as I had never before associated him with the genre.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thank You! Come Again!

Dr. Ochieng's visit to our classroom was certainly a highlight within our fairytales classes. As an education minor, I had had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ochieng last semester as both a professor and an advisor. Knowing the energy he taught my education class with, I was looking forward to his lecture with great anticipation. I was certainly not disappointed.

Dr. Ochieng is an incredibly dynamic person and accordingly, his tellings of Kenyan folktales were very captivating. His methods of presentation provided not only entertainment, however, but a nice glimpse of his native culture. Turning off the lights and teaching us a few customary folktale phrases, for example, added greatly to the cultural exposure of the experience. I also found his explanation of the cultural significance of the themes within the morals of his stories enlightening. For example, he explained that many of his tales glorified "wit" as a response to the demands of the African environment for resourcefulness.

The inclusion of folksongs, chants and dancing, however, stood out as the most unique part of Dr. Ochieng's delivery. The songs were immensely fun to part take in and I could easily understand how they could become a staple within a culture. It was an extra treat to see everyone in class "shake it like the room was on fire" as Dr. Ochieng amusingly described the dance portion.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Jew Point of View

Our class took a break from reading traditional fairytales to briefly study Jewish Folktales. I throughly enjoyed the few tales were exposed to this week.

The Jewish Folktales contained many characteristics as the other stories we have read. First of all, many of the tales included magic- such as the magic ring of "The Rabbi who was Turned into a Werewolf" or a magic arrow and mirror in "The Magic Mirror of Rabbi Adam." However, in a slightly unique twist, these supernaturals forces were directly countered by Jewish religious doctrine. For example, in "The Magic Mirror of Rabbi Adam", the sorcerer who tried to challenge divine power ultimately met his ruin through his subversive endeavors. Such an ending promoted a strongly Jewish praise of true divinity and condemnation of false gods and misdirected dependencies.

The Jewish Folktales also exemplified many of the archetypes found in fairytales. In the Jewish culture, the "wise, old man" character is seen in the character of a Rabbi. The "trickster" archetype also emerged in many of the tales. The Rabbi who sneakily ate his guilty sentence in "The Rabbi and the Inquisitor" actually played the role of the trickster instead of the "wise, old man."

"The Rabbi that Turned into a Werewolf" stood out especially as paralleling fairytale characteristics. In addition to having a magic ring, like a fairytale, the story included the transformation of spouses into beasts, enchanted forests and kings sending men on quests. "Chelm Justice", "A Dispute in Sign Language" and "It Could Always Be Worse", however, stood out as quite different from traditional fairytales. These clever, short tales lacked any element of fantasy. Instead, they functioned as extended, yet highly enjoyable, witticisms.

The Jewish Folktales from this week's readings offered a refreshing contrast to the traditional fairytales we have primarily focused on.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Cinderella Story

In the plot-line of standard Cinderella fairytales, a heroine endures undeserved suffering until her ultimate redemption is realized. As a result of its fairytale nature, this "rags to riches tale" comes as a result of the intervention of magic and marriage to the young heroines life. However, "Cinderella" rise tales can happen in real-life. For application to realistic success stories, however, the magic and marriage of Cinderella must be taken more as symbolic.

Within every Cinderella tale, the Cinderella character is good from the start. In the fairytale world, this goodness is represented by her physical beauty. In real-life, this goodness could correspond to a hardworking nature or competence. However, due to situations, in both the real and fairytale world, this goodness is not initially appropriately realized. The maiden of the fairytale is forced to wear ugly, obtruding clothes and the Cinderella of the real-world may have been, for instance, born into poverty.

Eventually, after much suffering, magic enters and a turning point comes in the storyline. In the fairytale realm, supernatural forces provide the heroine with the resources and clothes to reveal her true beauty. In the real-world, however, this "magic" can be related to the opportunities that surface in ones life. Whether it be a job interview or a sports competition or an application form or personal relationships, suddenly a person has a chance to show their true worth. Situational forces no longer obtrude the virtues of a person, and he/she is able to come to everyones proper attention.

In the fairytale world, marriage serves as the ultimate redemption for Cinderella. From her lowly position as a housemaid, she is elevated by her marriage to extravagant living as the wife of a prince. In her society's eyes, this is represents ultimate success. In modern society, success is rarely correlated to one marrying a prince. However, "Cinderella"s of the real world experience the ultimate success comparable to the original's royal wedding. Whether it be a job or money or title or happiness, they too eventually reach what they are striving after.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Saw the Sign

Until the lecture on Thursday, I had never really considered the relevance ASL has to folktales/fairytales. However,  now I realize the many parallels between the two. Folktales and fairytales are narratives rooted heavily in oral tradition. As they are passed from mouth to mouth, they are subject to change. Every new performer of the tale is bound to, whether consciously or not, influence the story with their personality and background. The lack of reliance on written word gives folktales and fairytales a flexible and malleable nature. ASL serves as a visual representation of these attributes. Again, not written, ASL gives each signer a lot of leeway and a chance to show personality. With different movements and emphases, from body to body the ASL narratives are subject to change as much as a verbal tale would.

The most intriguing part of the Thursday lecture, for me at least, was the examples of physical word plays that are used in ASL. Never before had I considered ASL to be able to incorporate the same level of creative devices as spoken language. I naively believed that without sound, puns, alliterations and all other witty mechanisms of language were lost. I figured ASL humor relied predominately on slapstick humor and exaggerated movements. However, the examples of ABC and counting signing really floored me. Though some may consider it trivial, the clever spelling of "golf" simply served to me as an example of the incredible creativity humans are capable of even in spite of restricted conditions.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reviewing Josh's Thing

For our peer review assignment, I had the pleasure of reading over all of Josh's posts.

The main thing that stuck out to me was a funny connection between his first and last posts. For the first blog assignment (the sort of introduction one) Josh mentioned that part of his decision to take the class was his fascination by the differences between the Grimm and Disney take on fairytales. He said that until high school he had not known that there were alternative, darker versions of the tale. This brings me to the irony of the last post in which he had to analyze the Rammstein's take on Snow White. If he took the class to find un-Disney-y versions of fairytales, he definitely got what he signed up for.

I generally found Josh's blogs to be very informative. He used a direct style to convey clear answers to each week's assignment. The only main problem that surfaced were none of his pictures actually show up- just a small technical problem. The only other thing I could think of to suggest would be to add a little more personality to the posts, as blogs are a form of creative expression.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Uncivilizing Fairy Tales

If Walt Disney's goal was said to be to civilize fairytales, Rammstein's goal would easily appear to be to "uncivilize" them back up. The music video, Sonne, features a sexually charged, drug reference-laced take on Snow White that was of questionable enough content that YouTube had a "viewer discretion advised" notice pop-up before it started.

In the German band's music video, Snow White is depicted as the object of desire for seven mining men. The men play a totally submissive role to her, as they are shown toiling to find "gold" to present their female master and groping for her attention. In return, Snow White plays for them the role of the Dominatrix. She is shown spanking and beating them for their sexual pleasure.

The "gold" that the seven men present Snow White with, appears as a drug reference. She lays out lines of it as if it were cocaine and also is seen with a syringe. In this take on Snow White, her coma is induced by an overdose of this glittery substance.

This rendition of Snow White is drastically altered from the original. Most obviously, some main characters are simply missing- including the Queen, the huntsman, and the prince. Their absence makes the plot irreconcilably different. Additionally, Snow White's role is entirely different in this video. In the original, Snow White is the epitome of submissiveness. Many feminists even argue this defining character trait is the reason for her glorification. Here, however, Snow White plays the unconventional, dominating role. Rather than doing housework for the dwarves, she serves as their master.

Despite its obvious differences, Rammstein's version does contain elements of the original tale. Though they served an asexual role in the original, both include the seven dwarf characters. Also, the video features several symbols that play a vital role in the original- including a comb, apples, and the glass coffin on the mountain. Finally, though Snow White is not a slave to male gratification in this film as she arguably is in the original, she still is not free. Her use of drugs can be viewed as a correlating dependency that leads to her potential demise.

Given the choice between Disney's "civilized"Snow White (or even just the traditional, slightly less family friendly version of Snow White) or the Rammstein's ranchy take, I'd certainly pass on the German band. The music video was just uncomfortable to watch and seemed simply to be a glorification of the perverse.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

But You Love Ladysmith Black Mambazo!

I totally forgot to write my follow up blog to attending the African Dinner. I did not, however, forget the experience- as it was one of the more unique ones during my time at McDaniel.

Now that I think about it, most of my time at McDaniel has been spent participating in limited activities. Usually by the time I go to class, track and finish up my most pressing homework, my creative "get up and go", has got up and gone. At that point I generally think my only option left for passing time is cashing in on my meal exchange for a grilled chicken sandwich while sitting at the pub for a few hours.

The African Dinner, however, coincided with a wake up call that I could be experiencing so much more. Never before had I attended a McDaniel Cultural Event. I guess I hadn't even credited them as an option for what I could be doing with my time. But after experiencing it, I'll certainly have a different opinion for my future at McDaniel. While honestly, I went because the tickets were free and there was a lure of extra-credit, I truly, truly enjoyed myself at the African Dinner. A real celebration of culture, the atmosphere was incredibly welcoming and fun. The food was unique and unfamiliar but also delicious. The music was similarly distinctly different, yet nevertheless appealing. The fashion show and the dancing were incredible visual spectacles. The whole night just struck me as interesting and engaging.

While I'm usually very content to settle into my daily patterns, I was reminded that when I try new things, many times I enjoy them. Accordingly, I can really credit the African Dinner for prompting me to recently keep an eye out for other opportunities of new or foreign experiences. I also credit it for me listening to Ladysmith Black Mambazo on loop repeat everyday for the last two weeks.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Beauty and the Beast Support Group

While reading Cupid and Psyche, I got the desire to pull together the contact information from the characters of The Frog Princess and Urashima the Fisherman and send it to poor Pysche. Pysche's numerous problems were just so strikingly similar to those in the other "Beauty and the Beast"-esque tales that I felt she could have greatly benefited from hearing the others' tales and having a support group of sorts.

In Urashima the Fisherman, Urashima does not fall in love with a beast but rather with a deity. In this ill-fated romance, Urashima's shortcomings as a mortal are used to showcase the human impossibility of obtaining the divine. Similarly, Pysche's problems are rooted in the fact she is a human, yet flirting with the divine. Originally, she becomes the victim of Venus' wrath for having nearly inhuman good looks. This jealousy perpetually challenges her relationship with her god husband, and threatens to stand in the way of their union.

taro3.jpgUrashima the Fisherman and Cupid and Psyche also share the dilemma of the temptation box that is not meant to be opened. In both tales, the main character's, despite knowing that they should not, can not fight the curiosity to open a box that was intended to remain shut. By opening the box, both tales' characters sacrifice their relationship with their beloved. Pysche fairs a little better than Urashima, and is shown mercy despite her misdoing.

 The Frog Princess also has a scene of nearly thwarted love that has bears similarity to Cupid and Psyche. When Prince Ivan finds her wife's frog suit, he disregards her wishes and simply has the outfit burned. Upset his distrust in their relationship, the princess leaves her husband. In a similar situation, Psyche betrayed the trust of her husband when she snuck up on him in the night with a light and a knife. He reacted similarly to the frog princess, feeling betrayed and breaking his relationship.

The_Frog_Princess_by_artsangel.jpgIn The Frog Princess, the wife is repeatedly subjected to tasks to prove her worth. First she is asked to make a shirt, then to bake bread and then to dance. Each time, the princess secretly receives help from her nurses to help her succeed despite all expectations of failure. Similarly, Psyche, while trying to obtain reconciliation from Venus, is challenged to three successive tasks. Like in The Frog Princess, the tasks are perceived to be beyond her powers. However, she too receives unexpected aide that allows her to accomplish her tests.

The dilemmas within Urashima the Fisherman, The Frog Princess and Cupid and the Pysche are strikingly similar. Like I said before, I just want Prince Ivan, Urashima and Pysche to meet. They'd at least have a lot to commiserate about together.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Comic Relief

I'd been shifting through fairytale related cartoons for a little while when I came across this one. It just struck me as absolutely perfect for this blog. First of all, it was about Little Red Riding Hood, which was a requirement of the assignment. Fulfilling requirements is always a plus. But more importantly, I feel as though this cartoon really captures the spirit of our class.

In this cartoon, a psychiatrist is questioning the motives behind the wolf's desire to dress as the grandmother after eating her. This straightforward approach of shedding light on the strangeness of what the average person has simply accepted in the tale is obviously the basis of the cartoon's successful, deadpan humor. Ironically, this strategy is also the basis of our fairytales class. 

These past few weeks, our class has been delving deeply into fairytales- far, far beyond the average reader's interpretation. Each class we bring attention to all the quirks in fairytales that somehow escape children's (at least conscious) notice and interpret their meaning. Like in this cartoon- Why does the wolf put on his elderly victim's clothes? Most readers would say the clothing choice was simply meant to be a disguise to trick Little Red Riding Hood. But in our class and in this cartoon, it is suggested that there is some deeper motives to the wolf's cross dressing tendency. 

Almost all of the interpretations presented in class have some degree of validity to them. However, to be honest, on occasion, the class presents interpretations that simply appear to be absurd. In such cases, like this cartoon, at least it keeps us laughing.
Marty Bucella

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Psychology of Fairytales

Dating back to the origins of their field of study, psychoanalysts have been enamored by the deeper meaning they perceived in fairy tales. Refusing to accept fairytales as merely stories meant to entertain children, most psychologists believe fairytales represent a window into the inter-workings of the human mind.

Despite analyzing the same tales, psychologists have managed to interpret fairytales to support their various unique theories. Dr. Mazeroff emphasized Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung as two prominent figures in the psychology world who applied their concepts to fairytales in different ways.

Freud believed that fairytales, like dreams, tap into an individual's subconscious. Accordingly, fairytales are capable of revealing all three layers of the psychic apparatus- the Id (which represents primal, pleasure seeking desires), the Ego (which corresponds to a more rational thinking process) and finally, the Superego (which is connected to moral imperatives). With every tale, the reader's unique responses and connections to the struggles within the storyline reflects upon his own Id, Ego and Superego.

Jung's work with fairytales concentrated heavily on the idea of a "collective unconscious" and archetypes. Jung theorized that every individual has buried within their mind a repository of universal experiences shared with the rest of the human race. Through these common "memories", archetypes emerge as patterns within the tales. Archetypes such as "the wise old man", "the evil stepmother", "the eternal child" and "the great mother" surface as characters familiar to every human, regardless of culture or time. The theory of common experiences of humans also allow for the great attention Jung placed on symbolism within fairytales. Accepting all humans to share some components of the unconscious, Jung accepts that there is meaning behind every detail of a tale. In this thoroughness, even details as seemingly petty as the color of the stone Hansel places on the ground to retrace his steps serves a purpose.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dictionfairy Defintions

Human communication is a rather funny thing. For something so incredibly important to our survival and general well-being, we are incredibly loose with the precision behind our words. If you think about it, the language we as individuals use every day is simply the result of an elaborate series of deduction and guesswork. Most of the words we use in daily vocabulary were never formally defined for us. Instead, over our life times, we simply unconsciously track the pattern of the use of certain words until we are comfortable enough to know when the word is applicable.

The phrase "fairy tale" jumps to mind when I think about this quirk of human language. No one ever told me a definition of the phrase, and yet, I could list you a slue of stories that it could be appropriately applied to. I could also correct you if you tried to call a book like The Grapes of Wrath a fairytale.
Now that I've been using the term for almost 15 years, I suppose I might as well go ahead and acknowledge it really does have a definition. To find this definition, I simply have to reflect on the commonalities of the stories that fall under its umbrella.

First of all, whether in the form of spells or enchanted woods or mythical creatures, every fairytale incorporates an element of magic. As fairytales are clearly presented as fictional, the magical element is always intended to be openly accepted. It would be inappropriate to question why Cinderella's mouse friend can talk to her. It just talks because its a talking mouse and talking mice talk. Accordingly, fairytales are stories of fantasy.

Furthermore, every fairytale has many variations that stem from one basic structure of a storyline. Fairytales come from a long line of oral tradition, and thus do not claim a single author. As a spoken form of art, the audience is intended to in turn eventually become the performer. As the story is passed from person to person, their time period and specific culture causes changes. While the dramatis personae's and their functions essentially remain the same, the variations on their details can make the same storyline hardly recognizable on the surface level.

Based on these retrospective insights into the patterns behind the term "fairytale", I can at last define fairytales as fantasy stories that have a fluidity that allows them to change over time and over cultures while maintaining the same basic narrative structure.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happily Ever After

This winter Beauty and the Beast was rereleased to theaters. Somewhere between paying my lifesavings for the ticket of a movie I already owned and going cross-eyed from wearing the special 3D post-cataract surgery sunglasses for two hours, I realized that Beauty and the Beast had to be my favorite fairytale.

I have always been a sucker for the idea of "happily ever after" and for me, Beauty and the Beast is fairytale where that ending seems most plausible. When the Beast and Belle are united at the end, I am absolutely convinced that they will be that cute old couple that still holds hands while walking together on their golden anniversary. Tales like Cinderella and Snow White, on the other hand, simply leave me with prophecies of future marriage counseling sessions. The unique understanding within Beauty and the Beast is probably due to the fact that the couple actually gets to know and value each other beyond looks before pledging each other their eternal love. It seems like in almost every other fairytale, the princes become smitten with princesses simply upon realizing them to have pale and delicate complexations. Maybe I'm just not convinced that hematoma and vitamin D deficiency are the ingredients of marital bliss.

When I saw the fairy tale class being offered as an elective, I was instantly interested. My natural attraction to the more practical aspects of the story of Beauty and the Beast, I think represents my intrigue at looking past the surface level of these stories we read as children. I'm sure I'll be exposed to opinions that disenchant the tales with whole new levels of cynicism that even my most practical tendencies are not even comfortable with. However, I am looking forward to balancing the total critique of these tales while maintaining some devotion to the enchanting appeal of their more innocent interpretations.

So, here I am, signed up for the class, writing the first blog and hoping the experience will yield a very practical happily-ever-after ending to my sophomore year.