Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bluebeard Meets His Match

“Lady Mary was young, and Lady Mary was fair. She had two brothers and more lovers than she could count.” And so begins Joseph Jacob’s story called Mr. Fox which is my favorite Blackbeard story. This story seems different from the other stories because Lady Mary, though young and beautiful like the other women, is not a virgin and overall seems to be more active in her life. First, her title indicates that she is not just any woman but a woman with some societal standing and thus has a greater expectancy for who she wants to marry. Indeed it seems as if she is the one who chose Mr. Fox as her husband, not the other way around, and just because he was her favorite. The story continues with her looking for his house, not him inviting her, and relying on her own wits to escape the bloody scene. After all, “Lady Mary was a brave one”. The next day she recounts her dream, after being prompted by her soon-to-be-husband-and-murderer-of-young-ladies, brushes off Mr. Fox’s multiple attempts to stop her, exposes his true nature, and gets her family to cut him into pieces right then and there! I also thought it was kind of funny that he died because of his greed. If he had not cut off the girl’s hand to get to the diamond, Lady Mary would not have had the proof of his hidden nature and thus he might have been able to escape his death.
Lastly, in this story the villain figure/Bluebeard is Mr. Fox but he seems to have a very minor role compared to Lady Mary’s actions. Through out the story there is very little description to his actions or person, even his death is a fast one! He is pretty much an unknown and only becomes active in the night when he kills the poor girl. This story supports the interpretation of women not knowing the nature of men before marriage but at the same time it suggests that women should also stand up for themselves and be selective when choosing their husbands. Honestly, I am a bit surprised that Mr. Fox does not have a more active role considering the story is named after him!

(Not many good images for Blackbeard :( )

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hey Cinderella~

Last week our reading looked at the Cinderella type of fairy tales. What they have in common is that the protagonist, usually a female, leaves her former happy and comfortable life either because she has to escape her father’s desires or because the stepmother is pushing her own motives. Even though Cinderella has to do the lowly housework and be subservient to others her perseverance and passiveness is rewarded at the end when she gets to marry the prince who restores her former glorious life while the wrong doers are punished by death, misfortune or loneliness. It is also important to note that in most of these stories an object, often a ring or shoe, is the cause of Cinderella and her prince meeting. Often these items are obtained trough a fairy-godmother or other element of magic such as a tree.  Thus taking these commonalities in consideration it is easy to say that the Cinderella theme is one that encourages the idea of “rags to riches through magic and marriage”.  
But how realistic is this idea? After all, in our daily life there is no such thing as a fairy-godmother or a bird who gives us an object that will help us find our soul mate. Furthermore, waiting around, doing nothing today will not get you very far. Today’s world rewards the active people that take their own future into their hands instead of patiently waiting for the prince to save them. Still the idea that success or riches can be reached through marriage has some merit since marriage unites two people who hopefully will support each other, piles resources and thus increases their changes of success. Even the definition of success is objective. For some it may be raising a family in comfort for others it might mean making a lot of money. Still, one has to have some kind of resources or extreme luck, which in the right cases can seem like magic, to succeed. That said, overall, I think it is possible that the idea of “rags to riches” is possible though unlikely in everyday life.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ASL Story Time

The presentation on ASL story telling by Dr. Rust was an amazing and funny experience. I think he has been the best guest speaker I have ever had the pleasure of watching and one of the most education lectures in my school career. Honestly I have never thought about deaf culture or story telling in ASL so seeing this presentation was truly eye-opening.
            I thought it was especially interesting that stories in ASL are more like folktales than fairy tales. Stories in ASL are told from person to person and are only now beginning to be told world wide and to be recorded thanks to video technology and the internet. So in deaf culture literature is digitized video instead of fairy tales that are written down in books. I also found it interesting that stories in ASL often start as personal stories that are modified by others to transmit morals and the views of the ASL culture. Thinking of the driver’s story it shows that deaf culture uses personal stories to strengthen the power of the deaf community as well as building their sense of pride. This transformative nature of stories in ASL reminds me of how folktales are modified to reflect cultural values and norms.
            It was a lot of fun to watch the ASL videos and Dr. Rust when they were telling stories because their facial expressions and body position communicated a lot of the story. Story telling in ASL incorporates the whole body and creates a very active connection between teller/author and the audience. ASL is a very active and creative language! 

Anybody inspired to make their own alphabet story? :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Midterm Assignment

As part of the midterm we have to comment on another classmate’s blog and I am very happy to have gotten Nick’s blog :) Let me start this entry by saying that I agree with Nick that the snorting of the gold in the Rammstein video made me cringe as well!
            Going through Nick’s blog entries I think my favorite part is how his feelings and opinions come through in his writing. At the same time he is also very honest and humorous; though I must say that his background is slightly creepy to me. I can’t even tell what it is!
Other than that, Nick always fulfills the given requirements of the blog entries as well as doing a good job at answering all questions. His pictures and videos for the blogs are very appropriate as well. I like how he sometimes uses questions to tie his thoughts together and also make the reader think about the material. I also liked his summary of Dr. Mazeroff’s lecture because it was easy to understand and all concepts were well explained. Another thing I liked was his comparison between the “Cupid and Psyche” and “Beauty and the Beast” story because he stressed the differences between myth and fairy tales.
I really enjoyed reading Nick’s entries again though I wish he had elaborated a bit more on the cartoon blog entry assignment. Though he made some good points and incorporated a lot of our class discussion in his blog, I would have liked to read more about his thoughts and opinions as well as any different interpretations he had.

Rammstein and Snow White

The Rammstein version has some interesting differences but also shares similarities with the Snow White fairy tales. Unlike the stories we read were most stories began with the death of Snow White’s mother, the video begins with the “dwarfs” using power tools to mine gold. They sing about waiting for the sun which in my interpretation is the woman/Snow White. This idea is supported by them counting as if they were anticipating someone and then Snow White entering their house while they are eating. Again this is different from the story because in the stories we read the dwarfs discover Snow White when she is asleep.
Another major change is that Snow White seems to be the driving force in the story that makes all the action happen while in the stories she is shown as passive and being the housekeeper. The video on the other hand shows her as being very powerful which is done through the camera angles which make the dwarfs look tiny as well has her being the only thing that is colorful; the dwarfs and their surroundings are all in gray and black as well as looking dirty. This idea is also supported by the dwarf offering her the gold as soon as they meet almost as if he were giving a gift to a goddess. Furthermore she also strikes the dwarf that offers her the gold and then proceeds to spank one of them while the others are cowering in the corner. But one dwarf also seems strangely eager to be the next one since he’s lowering his pants. She also is the one sitting at the head of the table. While Snow White was subservient to the dwarfs in the stories we read, here the dwarfs are the ones brushing her hair and going to her for affection. They are also doing hard, dirty work while she gets to relax in the bathtub. 

In the video it looks like Snow White dies because she has or was injected by something so the dwarfs put her in a class coffin and like in the stories, carry her to the top of the mountain. Like the Snow White story by the bothers Grimm, an apple still plays an important role for the rest of the story. But while it first causes snow white to die in the fairy tale, the apple falling on the coffin in the video frees her. This is similar to the apple pieces being dislodged from her throat.  
A HUGE difference in the video is that there is no prince to save her! Which is what I like about the video a lot because waiting on a man to save you is just a dumb idea. I also found the video more interesting than the stories for that reason. That said, I think I prefer Rammstein’s video because it is something different and more adult (she’s taking drugs) or in other words not all about her cleaning the house and being stupid by letting the witch trick her three times.