Compare & Contrast: Sun, Moon, and Talia, Briar Rose, and Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

Again, this is a case where the three tales share some story elements, but have many differences in how the stories are executed. All of the stories have a princess (or lord’s daughter) who is destined to sleep after pricking her finger. In all of the stories, she is rescued by a prince (or a king) and wakes up. All stories also involve fairies of some sort.

Sun, Moon, and Talia also shares more similarities with Sleeping Beauty in the Wood in that both tales involve Sleeping Beauty having children. Further, both tales also involve an evil female figure in the family of the prince/king, who tries to eat or serve Sleeping Beauty’s children, and who also tries to kill Sleeping Beauty – only for the prince/king to return at the last moment to save her and cause the demise of the evil woman instead. However, in Sun, Moon, and Talia this evil woman is the king’s current wife, whereas in Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, she is his ogress mother. In addition to an evil woman, these tales also have a heroic cook who saves Sleeping Beauty’s children.

Further, Grimm’s tale shares some similarities with the Perrault version, as both stories involve a feast and a scorned fairy causing a curse that intends to kill Sleeping Beauty with a spindle – only for another fairy to reduce this curse to a mere hundred years’ sleep. Both of these stories also share the sleeping of the castle figures around Sleeping Beauty, as well as a wall around the castle – in Perrault it is a wall of trees, bushes, and brambles, but in Grimm it is a wall of thorns.

Perhaps the largest difference in any of the stories is the rape in Sun, Moon, and Talia, where the already-married king finds Talia unresponsive and “takes her to bed”. Even more alarming is his “friendship” with Talia when she wakes and has had children in her sleep. This all seems very sketchy to me. In this tale, Talia only wakes when her children dislodge the splinter in her finger, whereas in Perrault she awakens to her prince’s arrival, and in Grimm to his kiss.

Beyond that, smaller differences can be found scattered throughout the stories. In Sun, Moon, and Talia, the fatal splinter is of flax. In Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, the Ogress accepts her demise in a pit of vipers, whereas in Sun, Moon, and Talia the evil Queen is cast into a fire along with her accomplice (who does not appear in the other stories).  In Grimm, there is no evil figure in the prince’s family, which makes the ending rather gentler. Amusingly, Grimms’ Briar Rose also notes that Sleeping Beauty is dressed like the prince’s great-grandmother. This is also the only tale of the three in which Sleeping Beauty does not have children – instead, the tale ends with a wedding and a happily ever after.

Overall, it seems that Sleeping Beauty in the Wood is a middle ground – it has some similarities with Sun, Moon, and Talia, and some similarities with Briar Rose. In terms of evolution, I would speculate that its origins occurred between those of the other two.

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Compare & Contrast: Little Snow White and Red as Blood

I expected that these stories would have a lot in common … and wow, I was wrong about that.

The stories are similar primarily in their inclusion of common elements. The stories share many of their characters: a queen, a magical mirror, a beautiful Snow White, a Huntsman, and a Prince. The stories also share similar actions, such as the three gifts from the queen to Snow White, which are a girdle (or laces, which seem to be worn the same as the girdle), a comb, and a poison apple that puts her into a death-like sleep. Both stories also involve the prince waking Snow White from her sleep.

However, that is about where the similarities stop. In the Grimm version of the story, Little Snow White is innocent and naive, and her mother is the current queen at the time of the story. However, in Red as Blood, the queen is Snow White’s step-mother, and the character of Snow White is much different than we might expect – her name is Bianca, and she’s a vampire.   Many of the other differences in the stories revolve around these major character shifts: in Lee’s version, Bianca is a vampire and her stepmother is a religious woman. This contrasts with the Grimm version where Little Snow White’s mother is simply jealous of Snow White’s beauty. Interestingly, the mirror in Red as Blood cannot see Bianca – I would guess that this is because she is a vampire.

This reversal impacts the rest of the story’s details. For example, in Grimm’s version, the huntsman cannot bear to kill Snow White and returns to the queen with a boar’s insides instead, but in Red as Blood, he attempts to kill Snow White and is instead tricked out of it which leads to his own death. Snow White’s encounters in the forest are also different. In Little Snow White, the dwarfs are present as expected, but in Red as Blood they are not the dwarfs we are accustomed to envisioning, but instead dwarf trees.

The stories’ endings are also quite different – in Grimms’ Little Snow White, the prince saves Snow White and the queen dies by being forced to dance to death in iron slippers. However, in Lee’s Red as Blood, it could be said that the prince “saves” Bianca, but in a very different way. Bianca’s saving is a religious conversion, her savior has a scar on his wrist where “a nail had been driven in there” implying that she is saved by Jesus to begin a new life. This is confirmed by her transformation into a dove, a creature symbolizing innocence and peace, as well as her ability to wear a crucifix and be seen by the mirror. In Red as Blood, the step-mother “saves” the vampire Snow White, which is very different from the original where the prince must save Snow White from her mother’s poison apple.

Weekly Training Journal #2

Looking through the Grimm collection, what stories jump out at you, why?

So many stories jump out at me. A lot of these stories are unfamiliar tales whose titles sound intriguing. Of course, a story’s title does not tell us much, but for one reason or another some stood out to me more than others. I am curious about “Riffraff” (because riffraff is a fun word to say), “All Fur” (what is furry, I must find out), “The Summer and the Winter Garden” (because as a skier I like all things winter-related), “The Castle of Murder” (this sounds dark and mysterious), “The Blue Light” (why a light, and why blue), “The Lion and the Frog” (because in the past I have liked stories about different creatures interacting so maybe this will be interesting on those grounds) , and “The Golden Key” (what does it unlock, I must know).

In addition, I will admit that a few of the titles intrigue me because I am a Harry Potter fan. I know that J. K. Rowling drew some material for the Harry Potter stories from mythology, so I am curious to see if there are any connections between fairy tales and Harry Potter. Stories that intrigue me on these grounds are:  “Little Red Cap”, “The Bird Phoenix”, and “The Three Brothers”.

Familiar stories also jump out immediately. Perhaps the one that jumps out for me the most is Rapunzel. I adore Disney’s Tangled, and I cannot wait to read the original version of Rapunzel’s story. I know that original Rapunzel will be very different from Disney Rapunzel, but that is exactly why I am so intrigued – I want to see how the story has developed and changed over the years, from the original Grimm tale to the version I heard as a child to the Disney version.

Cinderella also stands out, because I have previously read an older version of it but I don’t recall which version. I am curious to see if this version matches the one I remember reading. Naturally, I am also curious about a few stories that relate to other movies I have enjoyed, including Briar Rose. This looks like it might be the original tale of Sleeping Beauty. I have always been partial to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, I especially love the beautiful Tchaikovsky music in its soundtrack. Another movie character whose story I am curious about is Puss in Boots, who I am familiar with thanks to the Shrek movies, and also the 2011 DreamWorks Puss in Boots movie.