Myths And Fairy Tales Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

Myths and Fairy Tales A comparison between Two Snow Whites As one of the most enduringly popular and recognizable fairy tales in the Western World, Snow White clearly has something that readers love to see, such as an evil stepmother, talking mirrors, and poisoned fruits. With its production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Disney successfully enthralled most Americans with a hyper-idealized love story, advocating the notions of good triumphing over evil and the punishment of the evil stepmother and, most importantly, love conquering all. However, not everyone likes Disney's interpretation of Snow White. Anne Sexton is one of them. Therefore she gave her own opinions about the story in a poetic form. In her version of Snow White, Sexton highlights some interesting differences, such as jealous, lifeless Snow White, and personalized dwarfs. Despite those differences, Snow White is described as a defenseless and silly princess in both two versions.

First of all, the description of Snow White's facial appearance is quite different: in Sexton's version, Snow White is referred as a "thing", and constantly compared to objects, with a description of "cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper, arms and legs made of Limoges, lips like Vin Du Rhone" ("Snow White and Seven Dwarfs" 97). Moreover, "rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut" (97) compares her to a doll. The mechanical motion of the eyes shows her as a lifeless form without any mind of her own. Nevertheless, in Disney's film version of Snow White (1937), there is no such feeling. Snow White is simply suggested as "white as snow, as red as blood, and black as ebony," an ordinary Disney beautiful princess without anything special. In fact, Disney's princess is always described as innocent, kind, and sometimes naive figure, including Snow White, Beauty, and Cinderella. According to Maria Tatar, "The film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sets a pattern for future Disney's heroine to follow" ("The Classic Fairy Tales" 79). Thus, unlike the lifeless figure of Snow White in Sexton's poetry, Snow White appears as an innocent and gentle princess under Disney's imagination.

Another theme that draws readers' attention is vanity. Sexton and Disney have different opinions regarding this issue as well. In the movie, the stepmother is so vain that she cannot bear to hear that anyone is more beautiful than her: "I would hear of no beauty surpassing my own" (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937). The only thing she wants in this world is to be the most beautiful woman. By contrast, the young Snow White, one of the major protagonists throughout the film, is portrayed as a victim of her stepmother's jealousy and apparently is not poisoned by her beauty. The Snow White in the poem, on the other hand, though younger and kinder, still demonstrates the notion of vanity. As the last four lines of the poem suggest: "Meanwhile Snow White held court, /rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut /...

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