Sleeping Beauty Literature Review
The story of Sleeping Beauty has evolved over time and has been changed slightly throughout the different versions. It has changed in order to fit social norms for the time and context has been altered to appeal to the current audiences. The three main versions of Sleeping Beauty are the Charles Perrault in 1697, which was adapted from the original fairy tale Sun, Moon, and Talia by Giambattistas Basile in 1634. Perraults version was a tale of rape, adultery and cannibalism. The Brothers Grimm interpretation, from 1812 that made the story more tame and the Walt Disney version from 1959 that was drawn mainly from the St. Petersburg Ballet version of 1890 and the Grimm Brothers version, obviously this version was cleaned up a lot from the predecessors in order to appeal to a younger and more moralistic audience.
Most Fairytales hold a kind of formulae that can be seen in Vladimir Propp’s morphology of the folk tale. His theory suggests that most stories just use the same formulae however in different contexts. Sleeping beauty is a typical example of how mostly all of the characteristics used in storytelling are used in this narrative. Such characteristics used in Sleeping Beauty are the character types. The hero, the villain, the donor, the dispatcher, the helper, the princess and the father or in this case the parents. The fairy godmothers play a huge part in the storyline of sleeping beauty, you could say they act as the donors who provide an object with magical properties, such as the sword given to prince charming that defeats the villain. They are also the dispatchers and the helpers who send the hero in the right direction to save the princess. Although these don't seem like the main characters in the story, they hold together the narrative and fill in the gaps that link the events in the story, also without the fairy godmothers we would be missing out on our fix of magic that is needed in any good fairytale. Propp’s theory suggests that these character types are found in every story or film but are just rearranged for different effects. In Shrek, typical fairytale themes are implemented, however the traditional ideas and social norms found in fairytales are swapped around. ‘Shrek upstages Prince Charming and Princess Fiona saves Shrek from Robin Hood and his merry men’. Women are not necessarily depicted as being an inferior sex nowadays as they were back when the initial story was wrote. Sleeping Beauty came from a time when the lesson was that women should wait quietly for the man who would give them their role in society, Not such the case in modern twists on fairytales. However Propp’s strict order of characters and events is restrictive. The format he suggests may change the way in which text is received, for example if the main character dies, the audience is left unhappy because there has not been a happy ending. It is the typical story line in most children's fairly tales, where there is a vulnerable female in need of rescue by her Prince Charming. We see this again, and again in stories such as Snow White, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. All of these stories have reoccurring patterns in them such as the evil villain, a spell that needs to be broken, a hero prince who needs to rescue a damsel in distress, all of these elements leading up to a happy ending.
Propp’s actions as functions of narratives can also be seen throughout the different stories, they are used to progress the narrative. The preparation, complication, transference, struggle, return and the recognition. Firstly The kingdom is preparing for the new born of the king and queen, whilst this gives the villain an incentive to complicate things and upset the palace, In great joy brings great upset this is common at the beginning of most stories, something bad must happen in order to be fixed. Sleeping beauty is then transferred to a safe house in the...
Bibliography: Perrault 's Fairy Tales (New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1969), pp. 3-21
Vladimir Propp (1968) Morphology of the Folktale. University of Texas Press.. http://www.scribd.com/doc/37368054/Fairy-Tales. Date Accessed 25/02/11
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