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Depiction Of Women Having Control And Power In Fairytales

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A fairytale named The Story of Grandmother written by Paul Delarue in 1951, is about a naive little girl who meets a wolf at crossroads on her way to her grandmothers house. The wolf asks many questions about where her grandmother lives, not realizing what the wolf was trying to do. Her thoughtlessness leads to the death of her grandmother and almost her own. Another fairytale named Goldflower and the Bear, written by Chiang Mi in 1993, is about a little girl named Goldflower and her little brother were left under their Grandmothers supervision but the Grandmother never showed, which was very unlikely of her so it made them suspicious. Goldflower and her brother returned to their home and their Grandmother showed up knocking but something seemed off about her, even then they still let her come inside and Goldflower later realizing it was the Bear who liked to eat children and she had to find a way to manipulate the Bear. Although, in most fairytales the male character has the upper hand in most situations, these fairytales suggest that women even during these times can have control and power.

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In both of these fairytales Delarue and Mi produce thoughts, how a female’s life is viewed during this time. The different genders had different expectationd as indicated by their characteristics. For instance, the women during this period were seen has weak, delicate and all the more supporting, they remained home and did the family obligations. For example, in Goldflower and the Bear the ladies were the ones dealing with things at home and other individuals, “Your aunty is ill. I’m going to see her… After penning up the sheep, she shooed all the chickens in the coop”. The ladies were dependably advised to follow orders regardless of what it was. Edward Said contends that “They have the power of description and we succumb to the pictures they construct”, implying that women need to form themselves to turning into this picture society has given. In this case, the women in the stories play specific roles based on gender but overcome and take the power away.

In addition, the male being the wolf should be in control and have control over the little girl, yet things turn out distinctively for the wolf. For instance, the little girl in The Story of Grandmother meets the wolf, which occupies her from what she should be doing and asks “the path of needles or the path of pins”, essentially just giving her two alternatives. The wolf appears to propose that by taking the way of needles the wolf is in control, this being the little girl is “transformed simply into a passive victim”. The little girl is looked downward on as somebody the wolf can control and exploit. She was by all accounts ready to confide in him however then as the story advances things don’t appear to feel ideal to her. It ““is the relationship between discourse and power that decides which one of the many truths is accepted”, implying that the ways we think and talk about a subject influence and reflect the ways we act in relation to the subject. She ensured that the wolf did not detect anything wasn’t right and assumed responsibility and thoroughly considered a plan to escape the circumstance without him noticing. So she would not have the capacity to escape he “tied a rope made of wool to her leg and let her go outside…she attached the end of the rope to a plum tree in the yard”. The young lady wound up controlling the wolf and got away from him, the wolf lay their believing he would get all that he wanted however she was at that point gone when he realized something wasn’t right. He tried to catch her but she was already inside her house. The wolf underestimated the little girl and she ended being in control of the situation, something similarly happened in the story with Goldflower and the Bear.

Furthermore, the fairytale of Goldflower and the Bear the little girl, Goldflower is seen as a weak and powerless individual. Like the wolf, the Bear seems to think he can manipulate Goldflower like he did with her grandmother. The Bear thinks she is very naïve and that the little brother was nothing to worry about considering the little boy cried that he was afraid. Men were usually viewed as strong and masculine individuals during this period but the little boy didn’t seem to have those characteristics so he believed it was going to be very easy to manipulate them both. Goldflower followed all the specific instructions she was given but “The clever girl stoked the fire brighter and wow, there was a pair of hairy feet! Now she realized this isn’t Granny. It’s the Bear which likes to eat children”. She realized it wasn’t her Granny and so she calmly played it out very well. She remembered her mother saying that the Bear was afraid of lice so she pretended her brother had lice so she could keep him safe. She took control of the situation so she had the power, “Power is simply omnipresent. Its threads are everywhere”, meaning power is present everywhere and in everything so Goldflower was able to find the power within herself to get out of this ugly situation. She planned to get rid of him while making him believe he was still in charge. She executed a plan and went outside to go to the bathroom, “The Bear was puzzled”, she had escaped. Although, she escaped that didn’t mean she was done. Little did the Bear know that Goldflower was smart enough to trick him. She used her power and thought of a plan to get rid of him for good. As the Bear was getting irritated and searching for food because he was hungry and his dinner had escaped she thought to climb up a tree of pears but made sure the Bear was not able to reach her. Goldflower’s “power produces knowledge”, she made use of her knowledge about the Bear to manipulate him to thinking she was really going to get him food with the spear that the Bear brought her to help get the pears down. She through the spear down into its mouth and “the Bear fell flat…the dead Bear. ” Goldflower’s plan worked out for the best and made her brother feel safe. She was clever and brave and was capable of handling the violent situation in which the man could have abused his power over her.

The gender roles appeared through the typical fragile and vulnerable women and the heartless wolf and Bear. Women were seen as naive and powerless individuals during this period. The wolf and the Bear were men that had to be in control, they lost that control once they were manipulated into thinking everything was going their way. The women were able to take the power from them and manipulate them for their own safety. These fairytales help to prove that men do not always have all the power.

15 July 2020

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