Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beauty and the Beast and their inlaws: Why does this story have parents? (Click for more information)

Even though the discussions of these stories of transformation tend to focus on the changes that the beauty or the beast go through - there is hardly a version out there that doesn't involve the parents of one or both of the figures. What kinds of different roles do the parents play in these tales, and how do they change the story?

1 comment:

  1. I feel that the Beauty and the Beast tales that we have been reading are the most unique that we have read yet. Most of the other stories have been much shorter, originating from folktales from the lower classes, adapted for high society and eventually written down, mostly by men. This tale however originated as a literary work from a woman for high society and is certainly more detail oriented and lengthy. Because of the inclusion of so much magic and details, there is more of an entertainment value. Also, the lessons are not meant for young children dealing with a time of famine,etc. as some of the others have been, but rather advising young ladies on marriage.

    I believe the inclusion of the different family dynamic comes from this variety of differences in the origins of the tale. The parents in these versions of Beauty and the Beast (with the exception of the Tiger's Bride) do seem to care for their children much more than most of the parents in the other stories. I believe there was more family pride in the arranging of marriages and the duty to family in the upper classes than the riding of small adults in the lower classes. The parents of the upper classes did stand to benefit from the marriages of their children and were very involved in the process (as we have discussed in class), so it makes sense that they are so present in this story.

    Also, I would say that this story was written to comfort young girls, reminding them of their role in the family and duty to parents, and maybe ease their concerns of marriage to a somewhat beastly mate. I think Beauty's character would probably be very different if the story had been written by a man. Since it was written by a woman it is able to relate more and play up Beauty's strength, thoughts, dreams, self-sacrificing, noble character beyond her Beauty. I think she is by far the most developed heroine of all the stories we have read and family (including her relationship with her father) plays a role in that development.

    The relationship of the mother to the pig king is also interesting because she does want to care for her child (the beast), but also protect the young ladies he is with. I thought she was an interesting addition to the story because having relied on Disney's version growing up, I never imagined what his family must have been like that would lead him to the state that he was in, but to find him having a caring family makes him a slightly deeper figure.

    The addition of the (mostly) good parents in this story is due to the additional details that come with a literary version of a story and a more complete picture of the relations of the main characters.


The cursed castle

The deep dark forest

The distant mountains

The secret treasure cave

The Wall of Briars