Friday, October 5, 2012

Grimm Brothers vs. Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton and the Grimm Brothers both have very similar versions for the tale of Snow White. Although there are a few distinct differences in the tale. One key difference is the age of Snow White in the tales. In the Grimm Brothers version Snow White is seven years old and in Anne Sextons version Snow White is thirteen.  I believe this could have something to do with puberty. When describing Snow White in the first stanza, Sexton says, "rolling her china-blue doll eyes/open and shut./Open to say,/Good Day Mama,/and shut for the thrust/of the unicorn." This could be interpreted to refer to sex. The poem goes on to say how Snow White is pure and innocent. Maybe the reason that Sexton changed the age of Snow White was so that the princess was closer to puberty and maturing. Another key difference in these two version is what the queen asks the hunter to bring back the heart of Snow White for her. In Sextons version the queen wants the heart of the princess, but in the Grimm Brothers she wants the lungs and liver. The reason for this change could be that the heart symbolizes life and the queen wants to take Snow Whites life away so no one can be more beautiful than her.Another difference is how long it takes Snow White to reach the Dwarfs cottage in the woods. In the Grimm Brothers version it only takes Snow White around a day to reach the cottage. In Sextons version it takes the princess seven weeks to reach the cottage. This could be better to better represent how long it would actually take for a little girl to cross seven mountains. In the Grimm Brothers version Snow White is humble and polite. She only eats a little bit of food off of each little plate because she doesn't want to upset the Dwarfs who life in the cottage in hopes that they will let her stay there. In Sextons version Snow White is more greedy than that. She eats each each chicken liver, fully, off of all of their plates. I believe this is the first evidence in this version that Sexton is trying to change the character of Snow White. Another difference is how the story ends. The last few lines of Sextons version say this, "Meanwhile Snow White held court,/rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut/and sometimes referring to her mirror/as women do." Sexton changes the complete character and meaning of the story here. She is taking some innocent little pure girl and turning her into the thing she is trying to run away from. In the Grimm Brothers version Snow White is pure and would never want to harm anyone. Sexton turns her into her stepmother by making her just as obsessed with her looks as the witch. Those are a few of the differences between the two versions. There are a few similarities as well. In both versions the queen uses the same devices to try and kill Snow White. Sexton probably kept this the same because they have no real say into who the characters are themselves. Another similarity is how the queen dies. Both Sexton and the Grimm Brothers keep this the same. The queen is forced to dance in red hot iron shoes. I believe that Sexton choose to keep this the same because it really is an awful way to die and it shows the wickedness and evil that Snow White is starting to show. I believe that the changes Sexton made were in an effort to change the character of Snow White and the meaning of the story. Sextons version is more about how women today are constantly obsessing over their looks and making it so that they become extremely jealous of women who are prettier than them,

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