Gender in Fairy Tales
7 October 2014
Hansel and Gretel
In the original story "Hansel and Gretel" by Jacob and Wihelm Grimm, their mother is portrayed as an evil mother who doesn't love her children. However in the movie Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters which debuted in 2013 it takes place fifteen years in the future and Hansel and Gretel are now witch hunters. Their mother in the movie is portrayed as somebody who loves her children and will do anything to protect them. The stereotype of the evil mother is greatly altered and diminished.
In the very beginning of Hansel and Gretel there mother says "Husband, listen to me. Tomorrow at daybreak we'll take the children out to the thickest part of the forest and make a fire for them and give them each a piece of bread. Then we'll leave them and go about our work" (Grimm 111).
This suggests that the mother doesn't love her children and doesn't want to care for them anymore. As the husband and wife continue to argue about what to do with the children. The wife calls the husband a fool. '"You fool!" she said. "Then all four of us will starve. You may as well start planning the boards for our coffins. And she gave him no peace until he consented" (Grimm 111). The wife forces the husband to listen to her and agree with her to abandon their children in the woods. She clearly doesn't feel any responsibility for the well-being of her children if her idea is to leave them in the woods and hope for the best.
The first time the mother and father lead Hansel and Gretel into the forest, Hansel out smarted them by leaving a trail of pebbles on the ground...