Damsels In Address

Damsels in Address

It is clearly evident that many fairy tales of childhood tend to shape the reader. Certain moral codes and ideals are tightly woven into the text of many fairy tales, promoting or denoting a character?s actions. In the Grimm?s fairy tales Cinderella, Brier Rose, and Rapunzel, the heroines of these tales exhibit strong behavioral codes, thus providing opportunity for the young female reader to relate to the damsel, or to model herself to behave in a similar fashion. In accordance with Marcia R. Lieberman?s essay, " ?Some Day My Prince Will Come?: Female Acculturation Through the Fairy Tale," I agree with the assertion that positive traits in fairy tale indicate reward, while the negative characteristics bring misfortune. A heroine in a fairy tale is to be seen as a mentor, a model to easily portray what is right, and what is inherently wrong. For instance, a passive heroine proves to bring eventual reward through pain and suffering, while a female who is assertive, either mentally or physically, is shunned. Suggestions integrated throughout the text of the three tales provide strong evidence as to the desired morals and values of the society in which the tales were written. Through the examination of tales, their inherent messages surface.
Children?s perceptions of fairytales can go a long way towards shaping social interactions among said children. Passivity is a major player in the personalities of Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Rapunzel relies completely on a determined prince to escape her imprisonment; Cinderella uses a fairy godmother to help her cause and Sleeping Beauty waits until Prince Charming wakes her. Children could see these characterizations of women and begin to intertwine them with their own budding personalities. Boys begin to see women as weak and Girls may interpret these behavior traits as indicative of their being the lesser part of relationships with men. Sexual roles, although not overtly discussed within the pages of fairytales, becomes the focus for these young people. Marcia Lieberman reiterates the idea of inherent roles stating, "a picture of sexual roles, behavior psychology, and a way of predicting outcome or fate according to sex"(Lieberman, 384). As they grow older, the children may begin to fall into the roles they discovered in the fairytales; boys begin to act out the ?hero? role and girls become passive, receptive to the male?s ideas before their own.
Throughout Cinderella, the jealous sisters are constantly oppressing the heroine of the tale. The sisters, who enslave Cinderella to complete chores around the palace, portray strong, ill natured, and above all, jealous characters. In contrast, Cinderella represents a relatively passive, young, and beautiful woman. However, in contrast with Lieberman (389), Cinderella is not passive in completing her tasks about the house. Stating, "the system for rewards in fairy tales [?] equates these three factors: being beautiful, being chosen, and getting rich," Lieberman acknowledges the relationship between beauty and eventual success (386). Beauty, however, hides within Cinderella?s actions. The words, "After leaving her slipper at the ball she has nothing more to do but stay home and wait," expressions of description, Lieberman suggests that Cinderella exhibits at the core of her emotions, meekness (389). Cinderella?s submissiveness is rewarded with the introduction of the prince and her eventual happily ever after status. Rewards only pertain to those who have struggled, and therefore prove worthy.
In Brier Rose, the heroine of the tale suffers through a great sleep to be eventually rejuvenated and rewarded for her passivity by the prince. Upon her birth, the heroine receives four gifts from fairies: virtue, beauty, wealth, and the curse of a seemingly endless sleep. Three of the four gifts bring lifelong success and happiness, while the latter handicaps her maturation process. Proclaiming, "the prettiest is invariably singled out and designated for reward," Lieberman identifies the tendency for fairy tales to equate beauty with success (384). Once again, the beauty of the heroine arrives as a result of her state of passivity, her intense sleep. The statement, " she does not have to show pluck, resourcefulness, or wit; she is chosen because she is beautiful," Lieberman explains the heroines ability to attract the eye of others (386). For it is merely the heroine?s immense beauty that persuades the prince to ride through the forest of thorns in order to reach the heroine and to rejuvenate her from her sleep. Once again, as a