In fairy tales, the parents attempt to survive in a harsh reality that requires chance and sacrifice. In both “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Grethel”, the characters are faced with financial difficulties and tough decisions. How are they going to survive? How will they feed their children? How are they going to get by? The fairy tales “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Grethel” are great examples of the parents living a harsh life in the stories.
In the story “Rapunzel” the wife is in a critical condition: “if I cannot get any of those radishes to eat out of the garden behind the house I shall die!” (Grimm 67). The husband makes a costly decision and decides to climb the wall to the witch’s garden out of love for his wife. After the third time of scaling the wall and stealing the radishes, the witch catches the husband, forcing him to make a rash decision and give up their first born child in return for as many radishes as he pleases: “...you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world.” (Grimm 67). In this harsh life there is only one thing going through the minds of the parents, survival. And because of the witch’s demand, the sacrifice of their first born.
“Hansel and Grethel” tells the story of a famine stricken family, a poor woodcutter and a wicked step mother. They have two children from the father’s former marriage. His wife is despiteful towards his children, constantly trying to convince him to lead them into the woods to leave them. Finally, the husband agrees to sacrifice the children, even if he feels it is a involuntary and harsh decision: ”we will lead them away quite early in the morning into the thickest part of the wood,...and leave them alone, so they will not find the way home again and we shall be freed from them.” (Grimm 56). The parents were struggling to feed their children and themselves, which caused the parents to sacrifice the children and abandon them.
The parents in “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Grethel” had to...
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