Grimm vs. Disney: The Making of a Fairy Tale
Proffessor Kari Lomanno
The fairy tales that we grew up with are not the originals. Disney and the brothers Grimm had two very different versions. While many of us grew up watching cute birds and mice following the woe begotten princess, the original stories were forgotten by most. These stories were far darker, ending in cruel justice for a stepsister or worse. The difference between aspects of the two tales discussed, in some instances, is the difference between night and day. Grimm fairy tales contain more violence, harsher villains, and swifter justice.
The first example of this can be seen in the difference between Disney’s and Grimm’s versions of Cinderella. In the Disney version of the story, Cinderella is a poor girl who lives with her stepmother and sisters. She wishes to go to the ball and she falls in love with him before running off to make her curfew. Then of course, he comes to her rescue and everything ends happily ever after. The good characters are good and the bad characters are bad. There is a happy ending and no one really gets hurt in the end.
Grimm’s Cinderella is a similar tale with some fiercer consequences to the villains. The Grimm version has many of the same plot elements and devices as the story we all know and love. In this version her father is still alive and still lets the rest of the family treat her like a slave. Instead of a fairy godmother granting her wish it is a tree she planted on her mother’s grave and some birds. When the sisters try on the golden shoe one cuts off her toes, while the other cuts off her heels and the birds chant that neither could be the prince’s proper bride. Finally, the sisters are punished at Cinderella’s wedding by birds who peck their eyes out, leaving them forever blind.
Snow white, another acclaimed Disney tale, also contains plot devices and ending punishments that are very...
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