“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is fairest of us all.”
I must admit I’m starting to really enjoy doing reading different fairy tales as it brings me back to my childhood. However, I don’t remember all the details with the fairy tales so it’s nice to go back and see how these famous fairy tales started. In addition, there is a tv show that is featured on ABC called Once Upon a Time, and the movie, Enchanted reminded me a little of this text selection. I also admit I was a little surprised to discover new material in this text. When I think of Snow White, I think of a poisonous apple, seven dwarfs, and a prince who kisses her. This version helped me see the famous fairy tale from a different perspective.
The text, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Wilhelm Karl Grim and Carl Grim allows readers to view Snow White from a different version. The Grimm brothers do a fascinating job with the narration, that one can picture the scenes in their minds and just like their surnames, it is a little grim as well. The last text, Rapunzel also was a tale from the Brothers Grimm. In the beginning of the this text, readers are introduced to a queen who accidently pricked herself with a needle while sewing. When she saw blood fall onto the snow, she knew she wanted a baby girl. The author writes, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in the window frame.” She did have a child and named her Snow-White and as a result the queen died. However, her husband re-married a beautiful woman who was proud of her beauty. Day after day, she would turn to her magic mirror and ask it, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is fairest of us all.” The mirror responded that she was fair but that her-stepdaughter was much more beautiful. As a result, she sought to destroy Snow White and eventually even tried to kill her. In this text, readers see how the evil stepmother asks a huntsmen to take her out to the woods and kill her by piercing her “lung and liver” with a spear. Snow White begged the huntsmen to spare her life and he was fascinated with her beauty, that could not kill her. Instead, he tricked the queen, and killed a wild beast and handed her its lung and liver. However, when the evil queen went back to her magic mirror, the mirror responded that Snow White was alive. The princess eventually sought shelter in a small cottage that was meant for seven dwarfs. The dwarfs took care of her and told her to be cautious of her the wicked woman, that she would not rest until Snow White was dead. In this version, readers see that the queen attempted to suffocate her step-daughter by lacing her up too tightly, giving her a poisoned comb, and by giving her a poisoned apple. Thus, as well all know Snow White “died” from eating the poisoned apple and the seven dwarfs set up a coffin for her. However, a prince comes along and asks the dwarfs that he will take the coffin for that Snow White is the love of his life. In this version, the prince accidentally drops the coffin and the piece of apple that Snow White had bitten off comes out of her lungs and she is alive. The prince asks her to marry and they invite the evil queen to the wedding. However, someone had put the wicked witch’s iron slippers over coal and she danced in her shoes till she dropped dead.
Some of the features that make this text part of the fairy-tale genre include an princess, prince, and an evil protagonist. The book is suitable for children starting in the Third grade and allows children to see Snow White from a different perspective compared to the Disney version. This text goes into depth about the characters and the illustrations are also captivating. Indeed, there is some dialogue between the character but it’s mainly narrative. I really enjoyed the first opening lines in this book which were, “Once it was the middle of winter, and the snowflakes fell from the sky like feathers. At a window with a frame of ebony a queen sat and sewed. And as she sewed and looked out at the snow, she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell in the snow. And in the white snow the red looked so beautiful that she thought to herself: ‘If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in the window frame!” This line really sets up the story and is a great metaphor of how the queen depicts her future daughter and I’m still trying to analyze the metaphor. I believe she wants a daughter who is sweet but is also brave and will fight back when necessary which is a little different when one thinks of the word “princess.” I believe children would enjoy this book and would probably stir a conversation about this version while comparing it to another version, perhaps like the Disney’s version. As mentioned, I feel that this version is a little grim but it also contains different messages that children should be able to decode.
I would recommend this book to children and would want kids to see how the evil queen did not rest until she managed to kill her stepdaughter. Readers also see that the prince who comes out of nowhere is suddenly in love with Snow White and wants to save her. However, I thought the famous kiss wakes her up from her coma. In this story, the prince accidentally drops the coffin and it awakes Snow White. Therefore, it was interesting to see a traditional fairy tale in a different lens. However, I wanted to know what happened to the Snow-White’s father? In this book, readers understand that the King married the evil queen and that’s about it. Not much is told of him and therefore, once again the female’s role is reversed. The evil queen is viewed as this strong person who is mesmerized by her beauty and will not stop until the world sees her as the most beautiful person alive. In this text, the seven dwarfs continuously warn Snow White about the evil queen and tell her that she will not rest until the princess is dead. Therefore, they ask her not to open the door to any strangers. Yet, snow white does and she gets hurt various times. I didn’t understand this concept because she already knew that her evil stepmother was out to destroy her. So it seems that she was gullible in a sense and viewed herself as a fair princess instead of sticking up for herself. So the question lies, Is Snow-White the person her mother would have wanted to raise?
Some questions that I have for this author are:
After Snow White bites into the apple, the evil queen states: “White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony?” Why did evil queen state this? Did she listen to Snow White’s mother’s words as Ebony was mentioned in the opening lines of this tale?
If Snow White knew her evil step-mother was out to harm her, why did she keep on opening the door to strangers when the seven dwarfs told her not to?
Did the evil queen die at Snow White’s wedding? What happened to the king?