When an illustrator signs on to illustrate a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, I bet the scene they look forward to the most is depicting the gingerbread house. On the other hand, how to make it original? Continue reading “The Gingerbread House In Hansel And Gretel”
There’s a really old storytelling trope: A trickster girl — and it is usually a girl — overcomes an Opponent with word play rather than physical tousle. Oftentimes the ‘word play’ is simply guessing the opponent’s real name.
Contains Breaking Bad spoilers. But hopefully you’ve already seen that if you wanted to.
“The Unclouded Day” is a short story by Annie Proulx, first published 1985, included in the Heart Songs collection. Rich and poor, city and rural bump up against each other. This story is an excellent example of two narrative techniques in particular:
- Santee has both an outside opponent and one from within his own group. (Earl most obviously, but also his wife.)
- The revelation comes early for Santee, but the story has to conclude with Earl’s ‘fake’ self-revelation before we’re done. If you’d like to write a trickster story, “The Unclouded Day” provides a successful template.
WHAT HAPPENS IN “THE UNCLOUDED DAY”
This is my collection of fairytale links. I’m interested in fairytales from a writing perspective — how do fairytales help us to create new, contemporary stories?
TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF FAIRYTALES
- the “serene, anonymous” voice in which it’s told
- the “conventional, stock figures” who inhabit it.
This is according to American poet James Merrill , as described at the opening of “The Book of Ephraim”.
THE ENDURING APPEAL OF CERTAIN FAIRYTALES
A lot of fairytales are harrowing. Nothing written fresh today would get published and heavily marketed for children if it included cannibalism and other child abuse. Yet many of us still read Hansel and Gretel to our children before bedtime. Perhaps my real question is: Why are popular fairytales so awful, and why are they still here?
Fairytales do not become mythic unless they are in almost perfect accord with the underlying principles of how the male members of society seek to arrange object relations to satisfy their wants and needs.
The ethics of a fairytale are not completely static; they do evolve somewhat with the times.
As they spread, folktales evolve like biological species, from The Conversation
Celerity: swiftness is a great virtue in the fairy tale. A good tale moves with a dreamlike speed from event to event, pausing only to say as much as is needed and no more. The best tales are perfect examples of what you do need and what you don’t: in Rudyard Kipling’s image, fires that blaze brightly because all the ashes have been raked out.
The opening of a tale, for example. All we need is the word ‘Once . . .’ and we’re off
The speed is exhilarating. You can only go that fast, however, if you’re travelling light; so none of the information you’d look for in a modern work of fiction – names, appearances, background, social context, etc – is present.
Modern publishers know how most picturebooks are read: at night, by parents, to put their children to sleep. Harrowing as the content may be, a home-away-from home structure is considered essential for putting young kids to sleep, and fairytales provide just that. (At least, the enduring ones that get published over and over again.)
FAIRYTALE ANALYSIS AT THIS BLOG
- Beauty And The Beast
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
- The Foolish Wishes
- The Frog Prince
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Hansel and Gretel
- Into The Forest by Anthony Browne
- Hop O’ My Thumb by Charles Perrault
- Charles Perrault’s Fairytale Morals: Rewritten for a Modern Audience
- The Pied Piper Of Hamelin — part legend, part fairytale
- The Magic Porridge Pot
- Puss In Boots
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff
- The Three Little Pigs
- The Juniper Tree
Myths and folktales are assumed to be the very first stories in the history of humankind, closely related to rites of passage. Thus, a fairytale becomes a travel instruction for a young person on the way toward adulthood, directions on exactly how to behave in various situations. […] The hero’s task in a folktale is totally impossible for an “ordinary” human being, it is always a symbolic or allegorical depiction. Allegories (like Dante’s Divina Commedia or Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress) are also travel instructions. But the addressee knows that you cannot die and then rise from the dead, nor be eaten by a whale and then come out again, nor descend into the realm of death, and so on. When the March sisters try to follow Bunyan’s instructions for a journey, they have to “translate” the allegory into more everyday conditions. […] The modern version of a travel instruction is formula fiction in all its forms: crime novel, science fiction, horror, romance, soap opera, and so on. The addressee of these texts also knows that the story has very little to do with life. On the contrary, the text is based on detachment, especially through its exotic settings and incredible events. Many scholars have noted the similarities between fairytales and formula fiction. As early as the 1920s Propp suggested that his model for folktale analysis could be applied to novels of chivalry and other texts with fixed narrative structures.
–Maria Nikolajeva, From Mythic to Linear: Time in Children’s Literature
- Badjelly The Witch by Spike Milligan
- Breaking Bad And The Influence Of Fairytales
- Animal Kingdom: Modern Fairytale
- What is a fractured fairytale?
- The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
- Why We Need Fairytales from The Savvy Source
- 8 Reasons Why Fairytales Are Essential To Childhood from Imagination Soup
- Are Fairytales Out Of Fashion? from Slate, who need to take a closer look at the story app world.
- Gender-swapped Fairytales which are anything but Grimm from The Mary Sue, and more at Huffington Post
- Can Fairytales Survive In The Age Of Kindle and Facebook and Twitter? notes from an RNZ interview with Maria Tatar
- Why Do Some Fairytales Survive So Well?
- Robin Hood And The Success Myth: How Fairytales Damage Men, from The Good Men Project
- Do Fairy Tales Encourage Good Imaginations, or Teach Our Kids to Lie? from BlogHer
- Top 10 Gruesome Fairy Tale Origins from ListVerse
- 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations
- Introducing Kids To Fairytales Online from The Book Chook
- Fractured Fairytales: An internet resource for the classroom from Read Write Think.
- Modern Fairytales For Twenty-Somethings from Lost At E-Minor
- The Plot Points Of Every Single Fairytale
- Fairytale Archetypes, a big mindmap
- Kay Nielson’s Stunning 1914 Scandinavian Fairytale Illustrations from Brainpickings
- Artistic Takes On 9 Different Fairytales from Mental Floss
- Sinch Art & Design released a series of minimalist posters.
- Why Can’t Hollywood Make A Decent Fairytale Movie? asks io9
- 10 Great Fairytale Films from BFI
- 9 Fairy Tales For Adults That Are WAY Better Than Disney from Huff Post Books
- 10 Totally Psychotic Fairytales That Hollywood Should Film Next, from io9
- Taking A Fairytale’s Emotional Temperature from Discover
- Kate Bernheimer’s essay: Fairy Tale Is Form; Form Is Fairytale
- Myths, Legends, Fairytales and other similar terms
- Fairytales Were Originally For People Of All Ages
- Real Life Fairytale Houses at Wil Wheaton’s Tumblr