Little Snow White: Big Dark Opression

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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In 1812, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm recorded an oral folk story that they entitled Little Snow White. This story had been passed down for multiple generations, with each generation modifying it to conform to current social standards. At the time when the brothers Grimm transcribed Little Snow White, the female gender was commonly forced to play a subservient role compared to that of their male counterparts. In the story Little Snow White women were depicted as second class citizens by characterizing them as being male dependent, utterly vain and only capable of domestic duties.

The issue of male dependency in Little Snow White is visible through Snow White's relationship to every male character in the story. Starting with the huntsman, Snow White's very life is held in a male character's hands. If it had not been for the pity that the huntsman felt for Snow White, which was based solely on her beautiful appearance and no other worthy attribute, the story of Snow White would have ended right there in the woods.

The second group of male characters that Snow White encounters is the seven dwarfs. Again, it is apparent that Snow White's safety is dependent upon the kindness of men. If she had not miraculously stumbled upon the home of these men, she would have surely perished this time right there in the woods. The final male character is the story in the King's son. It is he who decided to have the coffin relocated during which his servant jarred the coffin causing the piece of poisonous apple to become dislodged from Snow White's throat. Again, in order to get Snow White out of trouble, a male must intervene. She was saved from death by a male huntsman, assisted by male dwarfs,