Hansel and Gretel Analysis

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Fairy tales were once for everyone and reflected the values of the people that kept the legend alive. It wasn’t until recent times that the myths were rendered into a children’s entertainment monopoly. Therefore, if we melt the sugared coverings of Disney and wade waist deep into the wilder, more sinister side of human dreams, we are transported back to a time where the supernatural reigned and superstitions thrived. These stories were most often whispered in the dark, passed down orally from world-weary adults to wide-eyed children, thus providing a haunting warning against straying from societal values. While most of the tales have been altered with the shifting times, the majority of their original messages and values still continue to resonate. The story of Hansel and Gretel was most likely spawned on the outskirts of Germany’s Black Forest. However, like all true fairy tales, pinpointing an exact author and time frame is next to impossible. The folk lore has multiple layers of value lurking behind the obvious, including additions made by the Grimm brothers. The original German edition was a far more pleasant story in terms of family relations than its well known counterpart. In this rendition, the mother is neither step nor evil and sends her beloved children out to pick strawberries for supper. Although they are given strict instructions not to wander far, Hansel and Gretel disregard the advice and soon are lost. The rest of the tale continues relatively similar to the more familiar version, except that the mother doesn’t die and is instead waiting anxiously with their father for their return. Children are the intended audience, providing a chilling, dramatic consequence for unruliness. This instructs the value of obedience and has wayward children experience dire repercussions. However the plot had morphed, becoming more ominous and had accumulated additional subtexts of cultural values by the 19th century. The Grimm brother’s version was more, well, grim...
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