SOCIAL CONTEXT OF FAIRY TALES
- Fairy tales arise from specific social and cultural conditions and are thus shaped by them.
- Fairy tales usually reinforce the dominant social ideas and attitudes of that specific time.
- Hence, the ideas that are still socially acceptable remain in the fairy tale throughout the ages, and others are altered over time.
- In other words, the changing nature of fairy tales has its roots in social and cultural forces. They are not simply due to the opinions and approaches of different storytellers.
OLDER VERSIONS OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
- Often extremely violent, for example, inclusion of bottles of blood and human flesh.
- Little Red Riding Hood always portrayed as innocent and obedient.
- Often very moralistic and aimed at getting children to obey their parents, respect their elders etc (ie. teaching children social norms).
- Reliance on male saviour to rescue Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother (ie.
patriarchal dominance of society at that time).
MODERN VERSIONS OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
- Less moralistic, but still reflective of the social limitations of this period in time.
- Often aimed at conveying and underscoring contemporary attitudes relating to child assertiveness and protection to both children and parents.
- More pressure on the story to be told in a politically correct manner. Excessive violence and female inferiority and weakness is minimised.
HOW THE FILM "EVER AFTER" RELATES TO "CINDERELLA" & THE FAIRY TALE GENRE.
- Young woman loses father.
- Is forced to work as a servant for mean stepmother.
- Eventually wins the heart of the prince, overcomes hardship to become the queen.
- Glass slipper, ball etc.
- Once stepsister good, the other mean.
- Prince and Cinderella meet several times before the ball.
- No pumpkin carriage, no Fairy Godmother (a reflection of modern values).
- Contextualisation, ie inclusion of post-modern elements of Brothers Grimm and Leonardo da Vinci and his painting of Saint Anne.
- Issues of class and poverty are emphasised by the Cinderella character, Danielle. She is very academic, strong-willed and intelligent despite her degraded social position.
Fairy tale features & themes
- Good versus evil.
- Not very magical - the effect of a modern adaptation.
- Changes in the role of the main female character (Cinnderlla/Danielle) from one of pity and helplessness to one of strength and determination.
- Danielle is rewarded with true love, not just riches and social status.
- Subversion of gender values (eg. Danielle saves the Prince from the wrath of the gypsy thieves).
- Transformation, but through self-determination however, not magive.