rapunzel - 18 June 2007 Cathy Preston ENGL 3856 Rapunzel...

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18 June 2007 Cathy Preston ENGL 3856 Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Tradition! The story of “Rapunzel” is an enduring work in the Fairy Tale tradition that is extremely influential and pervasive in many facets of the literary world. “Rapunzel” is a polyvalent story that has been subject to many interpretations. The story has survived many adaptations and revisions, but vital elements remain throughout the variations that are consistent to the story. The classical Grimm Brothers Tales, “The Goose Girl” and “Rapunzel” contain similar themes and motifs that involve an innocent, victimized heroine. Giambattista Basile’s “Petrosinella,” bears an uncanny resemblance to the Grimm’s text with minor deviation. The stories all have an underlying theme of the preservation of a girl’s innocence. Literary variations deviate little from the traditional elements of the story, but elaborate heavily on incidentals and stylistic features of the original stories. One literary text, “The Tale of the Handkerchief” by Emma Donoghue explores the view of the maid rather than the recognized classical versions of the princess. Finally, various pieces of “Rapunzel” including the girl in the tower have created paradigms that reader’s recognize and assimilate into different works including Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The Love of Don Perlimplin.” Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s version of “Rapunzel” began as an oral tradition. The oral tradition preserves a people’s ancestry and culture through the telling of stories in a narrative form (American Heritage). Oral traditions employ devices to help remember key elements of the story. For example, in Grimm’s “Rapunzel”, when Rapunzel’s lets her braids down to the witch, “They fell to the ground twenty ells down,
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and the witch climbed up on them (Hallett, p.68). The repetition of the number twenty makes it easier for the storyteller to relate the story. The common motifs in the Grimm brother’s tale include, mutilation, evil, abandonment, and the retaining of innocence. There is a theme of abandonment because the child is taken away from the parents. Rapunzel is abandoned into the desert, which could also represent a journey of self- discovery. The prince is mutilated upon falling from the tower into the bushes, and the queen is the element of evil that the prince and princess must overcome.
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