Medieval Writing 3 - Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.4...

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Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.4 Paper Assignment 3 10/18/09 The Danger of a Name in Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin Names are a vital part of personal identity. Although names may seem trivial and commonplace, they can have deeper, subtler implications that characterize the person. According to Maria Tatar, “knowing the name of your antagonist represents a form of control, a way of containing the power of the adversary and of having influence over his soul” (Tatar 2004) Thus, revealing a name can be potentially harmful. The names “Snow White” and “Rumpelstiltskin” have many significant meanings that contribute to our understanding of their character. Due to the revelation of the names “Snow White” and “Rumpelstiltskin” in each of their stories, these characters are placed in serious danger. Their names hold a significant secret, and if the secret is revealed, certain people will be given the opportunity to take control over Snow White’s or Rumpelstiltskin’s life. The story of Rumpelstiltskin has been told and retold, but the name of the main character has been changed in different versions. However, in the Grimms’ version, the name of the main character is, in fact, Rumpelstiltskin. In Germany, the character is known as Rumpelstilzchen , which means “little rattle stilt.” A stilt is a pole that gives
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support for a structure. Analyzing this part of his name, it can be seen that this literal translation of his name is a good representation of him; he provides support for the young girl by helping to turn the straw into gold. He literally rattles the spinning wheel, but, more importantly, he
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This note was uploaded on 10/29/2009 for the course CHEM 2070 taught by Professor Chirik,p during the Fall '05 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Medieval Writing 3 - Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.4...

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