sleeping beauty - Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.1...

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Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.1 Paper Assignment 1 9/4/09 The Role of Women in Sleeping Beauty During the Middle Ages through the 19 th century, the role of men and women was clear: the women would take on the role of a housewife, whereas the man would act as the patriarch. The role of gender is a vital theme seen in many works of literature. Fairy tales are no exception. Sleeping Beauty by Perrault, a fairly tale composed in the 17 th century, has many different variants, including Sun, Moon, and Talia by Basile and Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm. In Basile’s version, women are not respected and are isolated from their community. In the other two versions, women are treated fairly and with esteem. It is apparent that Basile’s narrative is more sexist than the others. However, even in small details of the narrative in scenes such as when the princesses’ futures are predicted, when the princesses are asleep, and when the princesses wake up, the dominance of men and the subordination of women is apparent. In each story, the princess is told her fate by a different group of people. The unnamed princess in Sleeping Beauty is told her fate by 8 fairies (originally 7, but an aged fairy joined in). Talia is told her destiny by a group of sages and astrologers. 13 Wise Women tell Briar Rose
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her fate. As seen in these three scenarios, different genders tell the princesses their fortune. Talia is told her fortune by a group of men,
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sleeping beauty - Alex Wittenberg Medieval Studies 103.1...

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