What makes the perfect women? This is a question that has been debated for centuries.
In the wild it is purely the ability to produce offspring, but as humans have developed so has
their perceptions of the ideal mate. In today’s society a women’s value is greater than just what
she can do in the kitchen, but it has not always been this way. The story Frau Holle ATU:480
The Good and Bad Girl by the Grimms, gives readers a look into the past to see the qualities
treasured of a women. Frau Holle teaches a young maiden, through various domestic tasks,
what is needed to be a golden woman.
The story of Mother Holle is about a young maiden’s journey to becoming the great
mother, or perfect women, and Mother Holle who is there to guide this young woman. This
story, like so many fairytales, begins with a widowed mother who has one daughter, and
another step daughter who she does not like. The step mother made the maiden do all the
chores around the house. This set up the maidens role in the household. The maiden is never
given a name. From the very being the maiden, as she is referred to throughout the whole story,
is set up to be a character of submission. She does all the household chores, with no
complaints, and is not seen important enough to be given a name. At one point she is referred
to being like a Cinderella, but this only refers to her cleaning, not her actual name.
While spinning by the well one day, the maiden dropped the reel into the well. Upset,
she ran into her house to tell her step mother, so scolded her and told her to receive the reel.
This encounter represents the child-like behaviors of the maiden at the time. When something
upsetting happened, she ran to her step mother for help; representing her reliance on her step
mother. At this point in the maiden’s life everything she does is completely reliant on her step
The distraught maiden, goes back out to the well and falls in, loses consciousness, and
wakes up into another world. This loses of consciousness and waking up in a different world