Hansel & Gretel
In the fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel” by the Brothers Grimm, the protagonists
Serve as heroes who must overcome the circumstances of their birth in order to reach maturity and enlightenment. This hero quest takes place in three stages. The first is the separation, in which the parents cast the children away from their home. In this stage, the children are for the most part controlled by their surroundings. The second stage of their journey is the transformation, when the children “battle a monster,” or, in this case, defeat an evil witch. In this stage, the children rely upon their own increasing intelligence to control their future. In the final stage, the return, the children reunite with their father. By this point they have completed their journey and can enjoy the treasures (literally and figuratively) of their newly found enlightenment.
When the stepmother decides that the children should be thrown out of the house (and subsequently forces the husband to agree with her), the first stage of the hero journey has, quite unwillingly, already begun for Hansel and Gretel. They are not able to control what is happening to them, and in fact can only gather pebbles in an attempt to prepare to return home.
While the children know that their father is initially on their side, no attempt by the
Father is made to save them. He is an ineffective figure throughout the story, and pales in
Comparison to the all-important Mother, in both her positive and negative aspects. It is
Ironic then that by the end of the story, the children triumphantly return to him and
Embrace him as though he was long trying to protect them. Heroes, however, must make
Their returns to their families, and Hansel and Gretel are not exceptions.
Although the children lack the distinguished parents that generally define a hero, they would appear to have a suitable replacement. The... [continues]
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