Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blog#12 :: Final Blog

:: Re-read all blogs you have written and reflect on what you've done and learned in the semester. How did you lie the material covered? Was it challenging for you? Did you send enough time reading the required material::

What sticks out to me the most regarding what I learned from this course was what I wrote about fairytales in my research paper. I discussed 'fairytales as an educative tool'; my thesis  detailed how 'fairytales are seen as an educative tool as they are a quintessential embodiment of the various moral messages instilled unto young children'. 
I also learned how these tales vary cross-culturally. Some stories are used to convey a moral messages (European tales) whereas others  explain the questions we have about life/ why things happen/ why things are the way they are (African Orature). Then there is the fact that some cultures pefer to tell their stories orally rather than other cultures where these tales are written for us to read on our own.

Often we would have creative/interactive parts of the class. We captured the most  important/ meaningful part of a story in a single picture using no words on a piece of posters paper.
Even people with the same version of a tale had different pictures that spoke to them and reasons to why they felt it was the most important part of the story.
Form this activity I learned how stories can speak to each person differently as to where everyone can grab a little something from it.

For this class there were also weekly blogs that we had  to complete. When I  think about it, i realize it's purpose was to get us to reflect on what we learned so we didn't just read the fairy tales assigned and forget them the day after. Although it was pretty time consuming  ( if you waited to the last minute like myself) I still thought it was a nice way to share your opinions on the readings and learn from our classmates thoughts as well. 

I really like that material covered; in particular I favored Tatar's The Classic Fairy Tales. 
This course was not very challenging. The only thing that made it remotely difficult was not reading what was assigned- reading the material was what got you through the quizzes and class participation. The time I spent reading these tales varied- I would try my best to get all the readings in. 

----BLOG #12 :: FINAL BLOG !!! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog # 10 :: Reflection-Lecture with Dr. Ochieng

               Blog  #10 - Reflection- Lecture with Dr. Ochieng

:: Write a reflection on the lecture by Dr. Ochieng' and show how the myths and the legends of the Kenyan folktales are similar or different from those we have read and discussed so far. How did you like his lecture and presentation? How did this enrich your knowledge of folk and fairy tales? Be reflective and elaborate on what you write ::

So far, in class we have reviewed Jewish Folklore, Native-American folklore, European Folk and Fairytales, and African American Storytelling. These stories however, particulary different from Kenyan Folktales (which fall under African Orature). So, what is so unique to African Orature that is not highlighted in the fairytales we have discussed so far? First of all, African Orature is Predominately Oral! Pretty Cool huh? Even more interesting, when they narrarate these stories the tone of their voice can emphasize different meanings even they say the same word. Compare this to the fairytales we've discussed so far in class you see that the majority of them are written- essentially meaning that it gives us only one choice which is to read these stories.  Now i'm not saying reading fairy tale literature is horrible, it's just not much of an experience and a journey as when they are told orally. Another big difference is that African orature is purposed to give understanding to a phenomena- answering questions like what makes this a certain way?  why do things happen the way they do?  Whereas the other fairy tales we've reviewed in class tend to teach moral lessons.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog #9 :: Jewish vs. European Origin

                                                                        Blog Entry #9
:: This Entry should be either about the Jewish Folktale tradition or on the Native American stories and how these are distinctly different from those of European origins. What is unique about them ? ::

When I think of Folk and Fairytales I don't usually delve into the nitty-grittty; I mostly consider them as elaborate stories purposed to entertain. After this week however, I've come to learn that there is a backdoor to folklore; one that gives individuality to  each narrative through its own unique cultural influence. Let us compare Jewish folklore tradition to that of European origin:
Jewish Folklore tradition are legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs that are the traditions of Judaism. These stories are characterized by unusual characters (giants, dwarfs, faeries, and ghosts ), the transformation transformation of men into beasts, or the unnatural occurances such as flying horses or 'a hundred years' sleep'.
European folklore on the other hand refers to folklore of the 'western world'. Although there is no single European culture, stories under this cultural influence are generally based upon christian mythology.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog #8 :: From "Rags to Riches"

From Rags to Riches

:: Cinderella is one of the so-called "rise tales", which features a narrative arc of "rags to riches through magic and marriage"(Ruth Bottigheimer). Using the film [Pretty Woman] as an example,  write a reflection on this motif. Can someone reach success or riches with magic, marriage, charm, etc.? How realistic is that ? ::

Yes, it is possible that someone reach success or riches with magic, marriage, charm, etc.
A great example roots from a Sociological (Historical) standpoint, where we see it is quite common for women in different countries to find themselves betrothed to men at a young age. Many of these women come from poor families and they themselves rise from "rags to riches" as they are typically marry into families of great wealth. It is through such matrimony that the men benefit by having a female companion, while the women act as a financial asset to their own families by ensuring them a portion of the wealth. Much to often it is the case that women under these circumstances are not marrying for love, but it is through such a union that an individual (women in particular) come to reach success and riches.

The film pretty woman makes it quite evident that it is possible to reach in some form or fashion 'success and riches' - in this case through marriage. The main characters of the film are Julia Roberts, (as the prostitute) and Richard Gere ( as the business man). It wasn't until the end of the film that the idea of marriage was a legitamate idea; up until then Julia Roberts was more so adopted by Robert Gere as his personal female companion. She then found herself upgrading from street-side prostitution to living a glamorous lifestyle along side the man of her dreams. How can this not bee seen as reaching a sense of success and happiness? Showered with cash, gifts, and jewelry , such riches were far beyond what she believed would come to be her reality.

But really is the idea of reaching success or riches with magic, marriage or charm etc. that realistic? Not entirely. In modern society people gear more toward creating their own success and prospering financially at their own hands. Not to often do you see women out of wedlock securing their families finances and benefiting through personal gain; more so it has become quite popular for individuals to secure themselves through a good education and a stable career.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog #7:: Bluebeard as a Villan

Bluebeard as a Hero?? VILLAN !!!

:: Which of the Bluebeard Tales we have read did you like the most ? WHY? Please elaborate and include quotes from the tale to prove your point of view::

"'Bluebeard'  stands virtually alone among fairy tales in its depiction of marriage as an institution haunted by the threat of murder (Tatar, p.139). " Reading this in the Introduction to Bluebeard sparked my interest and got me looking forward to reading this tale. Out of all the versions, my least favorite was Perrault's Bluebeard because Bluebeard never followed through with the threat of murder towards his wife (stated in the above quote) which ultimately left the story flat and uninteresting. I mean if Bluebeard is really the villan he should follow through with his title and not prolong the threat in saying "I will give you a quarter of an hour but not a moment more (Tatar, p.146)" when the wife asks to pray one last time before she dies. Of course the wife is going to find a way to escape! 

 Grimm's Fitcher's Bird was what caught my attention and kept me reading. However disturbing and gruesome the tale may seem, it was actually pretty interesting- reminding me of the horror movies and serial killer movies that are shown today. It was pretty obvious that Grimm decided against the whole 'the villan must die !' theme and actually gave the character some backbone as he followed through with his threats. Fitcher's Bird otherwise referred to Bluebeard as a 'sorccerer' and instead murdered two of his wives who happened to be sisters! - he had some nerve. (The thrird sister was however clever enough to avoid such tragedy).
Overall,  version that interested me the most in my opinion seemed to be dependent upon how 'Bluebeard' was developed as a character. Was he a dog with all bark and no bite? or Was he truly a murderous villain? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blog #6 "Sonne" by Rammstein

A Comparison of
 Rammstein's "Sonne" and the story of Snow White 


[KEY] When reading the following, the text that outlines the similarities of both versions will be color coated Purple; the differences will be in the color Green.

After watching the music clip by Rammstein and comparing it to the original story of Snow White I found it especially interesting the simmilarites and differences that arose between both narratives. In both versions I noted the development of the  dwarfs (responsible over the mines) as characters in the tale. In the tale of Snow White the dwarfs varied in personality and they were not specifically referred to as 'men' even though they appeared that way. The clip on the other hand portrayed these dwarfs as strong, hefty, built men who were always serious. Both versions also highlighted the importance of the relationship between the dwarfs and Snow White. The level of such a relationship however can be argued. The original story highlights the importance of this relationship by emphasizing the dependence Snow White has on the dwarfs- she relies on them to keep her safe and give her shelter. Whereas in the the clip, both the dwarfs and Snow White appear to be using each other; the dwarfs need her to fulfill their hidden sexual desires and she needs them to satisfy her drug addiction (get high). 
Finally, both versions shared the final aspect of the story where Snow White fell into a deep sleep. Rammstein's "Sonne" shows Snow White unconscious after over dosing on drugs. The original story  however shows Snow White falling  unconcious after eating a poison apple given to her by the evil witch. A Witch that is not even developed as a character in the clip and identified as the center of all evil, is replaced by the uncontrollable need and desire to get high which in the end is what leads Snow White to her demise.
Between the two, the one I enjoyed the most was the original version. Personally i enjoy how the original tells a story, leaves room for the imagination, and makes you ask questions. The clip in my opinion was ultimately uninteresting and lost my attention. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog #4 : Loss of Innocence

Loss of Innocence 

This social cartoon themed "Little Red Riding Hood" was one I found entertaining.
It depicts a police investigation; two police officers question a wolf as he is the suspect present at the scene of a young girl's murder. One of the officers say, " He [The Wolf] claims she was skipping around in a threatening way, carrying a suspicious package and wearing a hoodie". What adds to the satirical nature of this cartoon is how the wolf describes the young girl [ Little Red Riding Hood] as the perpetrator, seeing as she is only a innocent little girl. The most ironic part of his statement to the police was how he said that she was 'skipping around in a threatening way'. First off, if you compare the stature of both these characters, there is no way that a small little girl could pose any threat to a voracious predator such as a wolf. If the girl wanted to skip around she had the right to do that- a wolf should in no way feel threatened by an young child. In addition, you can clearly see that the wolf is holding a gun in his right hand.  The officers never asked 'Why the wolf had a gun'? or 'What was he doing prowling around a young girl'? The cartoon automatically suggests, out of social practice in modern day society, that suspects ( in this case Little Red Riding Hood) are indicted with very little evidence against them.
In a broader perspective, the cartoon is depicting the tendency of judging that people are guilty based on a loose description unless they are proven to be innocent. 

Name of Cartoonist: Dark Ow

URL: q=Little+Red+Riding+Hood+THemed+cartoon&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=JasqUZP0Csi80QGIr4CoDQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Child as A Hero

                                                       The Child as A HERO 

1. Describe the role of various children as heroes (@ least 2 Fairy Tales)
In the tale Hansel and Gretel the siblings were their own heroes as they struggled to overcome the obstacles encountered in the forest. Reflected in their actions you can identify the hero in them through particular roles they play as characters in the story.
For starters, [Gretel] served as a Protector (as she looked out for the well-being of another animal).
In attempt to cross the body of water she insisted that the duck carry them across one at a time instead of risking its safety by adding extra weight to it's back. In doing this she ensured their safe passage by looking out for the duck that carried them across the body of water. Hansel also played a big role in the story; he served as both a Guide/Leader and a voice of of Consolation. Following the escape from the witch's house, both siblings were in search for the way back home. It was here that Hansel's leadership and fortitude were represented as he ensured the safety and comfort of his sister. According to the text, Hansel says to his sister "Just wait, Gretel, until the moon rises. Than we will be able to see the crumbs i scattered. They will point the way home for us" ( p.186-187). Such assurance reinforced the drive in both children to get home safely.

[The Juniper Tree ]  is another tale where children are clearly represented as the heroes in the story.
In the story, Little Marlene, the stepsister, acted as a Liberator for her brother as she freed him from his evil stepmother. After the death of her brother, Little Marlene was overwhelmed with grief; she decided it was only appropriate to discard of his remains in a memorable location- The Juniper Tree. At this point in the story the text says, "She picked up all the bones from beneath the table, tied them up in her silk kerchief, and carried them outside... She put the bones down in the green grass under the juniper tree.  A mist arose from the tree, and in the middle of the mist burned a flame, and from the flame a beautiful bird emerged and began singing gloriously... Little Marlene was as happy and relieved as if her brother were still alive" (p.192).

2. Explain the meaning of this:       From a Freudian [Bettleheim] psychoanalytical POV
According to Bettelheim's view on Hansel and Gretel, it is one of the few tales where two sibling cooperate in rescuing each other from imminent danger and succeed through combined efforts. In this case such a situation directs a child toward transcending from excessive parental dependence to a higher stage of development.

Works Cited
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. Print

Tatar M. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.; 1999.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog 2 [Working Definition of a Fairy Tale]

Fairy tales have long been passed down from generation to generation, forever changing as individual perceptions of such stories are revealed through the countless narration of these tales. However, one may come to ask is there any right way to nararate these stories? Or are we cheating ourselves because we settle with our own interpretations? In truth these stories, regardless of the manner they are shared, are designed to fulfill a specific purpose. They carry important messages to a child’s conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind, utilizing existing life dilemmas as a guiding tool in the development of a child’s character.        

A typical fairy tale consists of polar characters (Good and Evil, Hero and Villan) and a struggle against severe difficulties meant to be overcame the hero. 
The hero is mainly the character the child identifies with, as they project themselves wholeheartedly into the character, all the hero struggles through creates a deep positive appeal- imprinting morality upon the child. 

The polarization of such characters is what influences the basic decisions of the child ( Do I want to be good? Who do i want to be like?), which later develops their personality and character as an individual.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blog Entry 1

Blog Entry 1 
Why did you choose this class? 
Not only did this class fulfill many of the requirements in the McDaniel Plan, the course description  also sounded pretty interesting. I've always enjoyed watching many of the Disney movies as a child and I know that the majority of them originate from the basic fairy tales. In choosing this course I really looked forward to reading the real fairy tales that Disney drew it's inspiration from. The 'Classic Fairy Tales' book also seemed like an interesting read so I looked forward to reading it as well.

What are you hoping to accomplish in the course? 
In taking this course I hope to understand where the ideas for certain fairytales came from, what inspired them, and what influenced the nature of the tale. I also want my understanding of the course concepts to reflect in my completed work assignments which in turn should lend itself to an A in the course.

What is your favorite favorite folktale or fairytale of all times and why? 

Hansel and Gretel is one of my favorite fairytales. I always thought the whole concept of leaving breadcrumbs to remember which direction you came from was pretty neat. It was such a simple idea that they assumed would come to their aid but it never ended up working. I also thought it was pretty cool how the writers of the fairytale chose to make the house of the 'evil witch' out of candy, out of all things, in order to draw the children into the house.

You've probably already seen it but here is the new Hansel and Gretel movie that is in theatres!
(Link to Trailer):