Fairy tale genre #1: Beauty and the Beast

To conclude my blog project, I selected fairy tales as a genre because I find these type of texts intriguing in a sense. One would say that they usually involve a hero saving his heroine and live happily ever after. Indeed, the main characters may go through a few struggles before they find true love. Most children enjoy reading fairy tales as they imagine they are a princess. I selected this genre as I plan to do a final project for one of my courses by deconstructing fairy tales or decoding messages.

The first text I read was Beauty and the Beast by Max Eilenbert and as like most fairy tales, the first sentence begins with “Once Upon a Time.” In the beginning of the book, readers are introduced to a wealthy businessman named Ernest Fortune or Mr. Fortune and his three daughters are Gertrude, Beauty, and Hermoine. Mr. Fortune loved his daughters so much and he wanted to provide the very best for them by showering them with gifts. He especially was fond of Beauty as she was not materialistic compared to her sisters. Eventually, Mr. Fortune lost his job as a fire erupted in his office burning all his assets. Therefore, Mr. Fortune and his three daughters no longer had any riches and his two daughters Gertrude and Hermoine were upset about this and bashed their father for his mistakes. Mr. Fortune was determined to provide his girls a better life once again so he traveled by horse to find riches that he could provide to his daughters. However, Beauty just wanted a prince and wanted someone to sweep her off her feet. Eventually, Mr. Fortune crossed paths with a beast as he made his way into his castle and the father becomes the beast’s prisoner. Mr. Fortune tells beast his story and tells him about his daughter Beauty and this is when the Beast seeks interest in meeting her. Eventually, Beauty travels to Beast’s castle where she meets the Beast face to face. The Beast is enamored with her beauty and falls in love with her, but he believes that Beauty will not love him based on his looks. Thus, Beauty does fall for the beast as she starts to see he has a kind heart and the Beast sets her free so she can return to her father. When she returns back home, she starts to miss the Beast and decides she must go back as he might die from a broken heart. When she met up with the Beast, he was weak and when she declared her love to him, it brought him back to life. Thus, true love made the beast turn into a prince and Beauty got her wish, she found her prince and they lived happily ever after.

Some of the features that make this book part of the fairy tale genre are that there is a hero, heroine, struggles along the way of their destiny, and how the story starts off with “Once Upon a Time.” In the book, readers are introduced to Beauty’s sisters Hermoine and Gertrude and based on their personalities, it reminded me of Cinderella’s step sisters. They only care about wealth and possessions. It’s interesting to see how certain words are italicized in this book including certain quotes. I’m not sure why the author did. For example, the author writes about Beauty’s dream, “I would like a prince, thought Beauty, and then she looked up, ashamed to have disappointed him. Her father loved giving her presents.” In this sentence, readers can get a glimpse of the moral of the story, that Beauty is seeking out true love and has no interest in luxurious items. Throughout the story, there are certain words that are of different font. Perhaps, this refers to Beauty’s thoughts. In the text, there are lots of dialogue between the characters as we the readers can paint a picture of what this story looks like. The illustrations in the story are vivid and correspond with the text. In addition, there are certain quotes that are in bigger font, such as an important conversation between the Beast and Beauty. It reads, “Then will you Marry me?” Beast said. “Oh yes, I will, she said. Oh yes!” This line looks like it stands out on the page as it kind of looks like it is a font of size 16 or even 18.

I remember growing up watching the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast and I was a huge fan. I even dressed up as Belle for Halloween based on the movie. When I read this book, I never knew Beauty had sisters, so I found that interesting. As mentioned, it reminded me of Cinderella where the sisters are evil and care more about wealth. However, based on the movie, I do know what happens in the story. However, this book was lengthy and did go into great detail about several characters including Mr. Fortune. Originally, Mr. Fortune and his daughters were wealthy and led a nice life. However, the story does not mention what happened to Beauty’s mother nor is she mentioned in the story. I would have liked to have heard some background history about the mother as she could have been selfless and her personality is like Beauty’s. I’m not sure if this is true but that would be interesting. Why does Beauty care more about love and happiness where her other sisters are more into riches. Indeed, I think this book would be suitable for children starting in the Fourth grade as they do get a sense of the story. Unlike the movie, there is no other man trying to win Beauty’s attention. Therefore, one can see that there is a huge difference between this story and the movie. At the same time, I’m sure there are many version of this fairy tale out there and some may be similar to the movies and some may not. However, this story was interesting as it captures the vulnerability between the Beast and Beauty, as both are seeking out help. For example, When Beauty is trapped inside the Beast’s castle, she only wants to see how her father is doing whereas Beast wants someone to love him for his inner beauty. Therefore, there are some messages that children can come across when reading this story including, “Love conquers all,” “True love is based on care not on fortune,” etc.

Some questions I would ask the author would be:

Why did you not mention anything about the mother? What effect does she have on her daughters’ personalities?

At the end of the story, we do not know what happens to Beauty sisters? Are they still focused on riches or have them changed since they saw Beauty got her wish come true?

In the story, the Beast tells Mr. Fortune, “You will pay for it with your life: prepare to die.” Did the Beast actually have any intention of killing the man or is he just trying to be all strong but inside he is a kind person?

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About krazzykatty85

For several years, I used to work as a journalist for a prestigious newspaper. A couple of years later, I changed careers and am going to be a teacher. These days you can find me purchasing materials for my future students that I hope to use in my classroom as well as creating engaging lesson plans while trying to have a life. When life gives you lemons, always make lemonade!

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