Wednesday, July 23, 2008

White as Snow, Black as Ebon, Red as Blood

Snow White was never my favorite princess. She was kind of a sissy. Screaming at the trees? C'mon. Her voice was kind of grating too. Usually I fast-forwarded through her singing in the beginning so I didn't have to listen to that sappy prince-stuff. The dwarfs were much better, anyway. All those roly-poly, bearded, mining men? They were hilarious! Grumpy was especially funny; Doc was my favorite. :) His half-moon glasses were cute. The truly terrifying scene in which her wicked step-mother-sorceress falls off the cliff was an intense part too. Then, when the vultures start circling down with evil glints in their eyes - that creeped me out. But at least th good guys won, right?
Now that I look back on it, I thought of Snow White mostly as a prop. She was just...there. The story followed her, but I didn't. I watched the movie for the dwarfs and the witch.
It wasn't until this year, with a renewed interest the classic fairy tales, that I deigned to look up the real story of Snow White; which is much darker and more powerful than most people give it credit for. When the Brothers Grim compiled their fairy tales from the folk tales they'd collected around the country, they tweaked some of them. Changing Snow White's evil queen nemesis from mother to step-mother was one of those changes. That change completely alters the feel of the story, though ultimate moral(jealousy is bad) stayed the same.
Personally, I really like this older version. It makes Snow White's plight so completely heartbreaking, I can't help but love her! I feel like I have to make up for the love that she's been denied by her own mother so I invest myself in her survival. It's such a small detail of the story, but in my mind it completely changes Snow White's character.
So I found a stylus and devoted a couple hours to honoring Snow White. I'm sorry I never appreciated her when I was little, she really is quite an impressive character.
This is a poem by Delia Sherman that really brought another dimension to Snow White. It's short and sweet, but pretty poignant. I like it.
Snow White to the Prince by Delia Sherman
The Grim Brothers' version.
Really Great Article with some cool Illustrations to boot.


J said...

Wait a minute. So, did the Brothers water the story down, or did Disney do that? I know Disney made a lot of those old "children's" tales more family friendly, but I didn't know the Grims had that habit.

Anyway, interesting post. And the picture is quite beautiful (two hours well spent, I'd say.)

Jake said...

Right on, Laura.