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Hero vs. Villain: An analysis of good and evil in traditional fairy tales by Shannon Henderson SLIS 5440, Fall 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Hero vs. Villain: An analysis of good and evil in traditional fairy tales by Shannon Henderson SLIS 5440, Fall 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hero vs. Villain: An analysis of good and evil in traditional fairy tales by Shannon Henderson SLIS 5440, Fall 2003

2 Thematic Description & Rationale  This is a brief analysis of ten common fairy tales and the roles the hero/heroine and the villain play.  The purpose of this presentation and analysis is to determine the hero/heroine was such prior to the encounters with evil/villain and to understand the villain’s motive(s).  I selected the ten traditional fairy tales to analyze from my local library.

3 Bibliographic Citation and Story Synopsis Aylesworth, Jim. The Gingerbread Man. New York: Scholastic Press, 1998. The little old man and woman make a gingerbread man. Once he comes out of the oven, he runs away. The little old man and woman try to catch him, as well as the butcher and several animals. He manages to out run them all, except for the fox, who has him for a delicious snack. Lesser, Rika. Hansel and Gretel. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 1984. Hansel and Gretel’s poor family has run out of food except for one loaf of bread. Their father takes them deep into the woods to leave them. Though they leave a trail, they are so deep into the woods they cannot find their way home. The come upon a house made of food. While eating the house, they are caught by the old woman who lives there. She locks up Hansel and tries to fatten him up in order to eat him, but Gretel manages to cook the old woman instead. Eventually, Hansel and Gretel find their way home to their father. Gay, Marie-Louise. Rumpelstiltskin. Emeryville, CA: Groundwood Books, 1997. A poor miller offers up his daughter to the King stating that she can spin straw into gold. The King takes her in, and on three different occasions demands that she spin a large room of straw into gold. Each time, left alone, she is visited by a small man. He spins the straw into gold for her. She offers to repay him, and he wants her first born child. She agrees, but when she finally marries the King and has a child, she does not wish to make good on her promise. So, he tells her that if she can guess his name that he will release her from her promise. After much thinking and researching, her messenger discovers his name. Thus she becomes free from her promise, and Rumpelstiltskin is gone.

4 Bibliographic Citation and Story Synopsis (con’t) Kellogg, Steven. Jack and the Beanstalk New York: Morrow Junior, 1991. Jack and his poor mother must sell their cow who has stopped making milk. Jack trades his cow for five magical beans. His mother is very distraught and throws them out the window. They grow into an enormous beanstalk. Jack climbs it and meets an ogre’s wife. During each of his three visits, the ogre’s wife invites Jack in, and Jack ends of taking something of value from them. Finally the ogre tries to catch Jack, but Jack climbs down the beanstalk and chops it down. Jack then marries, and he, his mother, and his wife live happily ever after. Marshall, James. The Three Little Pigs. New York: Dial Books, 1989. Three little pigs leave home to set out on their own. They each build a house, and each pig uses different material to build his house. One builds a house of straw, one a house of sticks, and the third a house of bricks. One by one, the wolf comes by and gobbles up the pigs. However, the final pig outsmarts the wolf and ends up having the wolf for dinner instead of being dinner. --. Illu. Stephen Carpenter. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. --: HarperCollins, 1998. Three billy goats, all by the name of Gruff, lived in a valley where grass was sparse. They want to go up to the hillside and enjoy lush, green grass and daisies. However, to get there they must cross a bridge which a troll lives under. They decide to try and cross one at a time; each billy goat tells the troll to eat the next goat because he is bigger. The third billy goat pushes the billy goat into the river, makes it across, and they all enjoy the hillside’s grass.

5 Bibliographic Citation and Story Synopsis (con’t) Levert, Mireille. Little Red Riding Hood. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1995. Little Red Riding Hood is going to visit her sick grandmother and take her some cake and wine to make her feel better. On her way, Little Red Riding Hood meets a wolf who entices her into the forest to pick flowers. In the meantime, he dashes to Grandmother’s house and gobbles her up. When Little Red Riding Hood arrives, she questions the “Grandmother” about her big ears and eyes. The wolf finally gobbles her up, too. A hunter passing by stops and checks on “Grandmother” only to realize it is the wolf. He cuts him open and rescues Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Brown, Marcia. Cinderella. New York: Atheneum Books, 1954. Cinderella is not treated as equally as her step-sisters. She is more like a housekeeper. When the prince announces a ball, Cinderella thinks she will be unable to attend until her Fairy Godmother appears and transforms Cinderella’s clothes into a beautiful gown and gives her a horse and carriage. Cinderella attends the ball and meets the prince. He is enamored with her, but she has to leave at the stroke of midnight. She leaves behind a glass slipper which he later finds out is her. He marries her. Marshall, James. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. New York: Dial Books, 1988. While on her way to the store for muffins, Goldilocks detours and takes a trip through the forest where she finds and enters the bears’ home. She tries their porridge; she tries out their chairs, even breaks one. She then tries out their beds and falls fast asleep in the baby bear’s bed. When the bears come home from their bike ride and find that someone has been in their home, they are not happy. They find Goldilocks and make her leave.

6 Bibliographic Citation and Story Synopsis (con’t) Grimm, Jacob & William Grimm. Illu. Monika Laimgruber. The Sleeping Beauty. New York: North-South Books, 1995. The daughter of the King has a curse put on her as a baby that when she is 15 years old she will fall into a deep sleep. She does just that, and she and all that are within the castle walls sleep for 100 years. A prince finally comes and kisses her after those 100 years, and, beautiful as ever, she awakens, and they are married.

7 Archetype Analysis: Greed  Characters, especially villains, are motivated by greed, irregardless of their social status in the stories.  Heroes are similar to the villains in this very quality of greed.  All characters in this collection of books, be it hero, villain, or other, are after something for themselves, and some will stop at nothing to get what s/he wants.

8 Archetype Analysis (Greed) Examples  Jack (Jack and the Beanstalk) climbs the stalk several times, greedily, although he knows the risks he takes with the ogre. The greed motivates him.  The wolf (The Three Little Pigs) never once stops to think of any harm that might come his way since he is so self-centered and set on having a plate of pork for dinner. Thus we see the same danger faced in The Gingerbread Man in that he wanted freedom so badly (greed) that he did not think of the possible price he would pay (and did pay when he met the wolf).

9 Archetype Analysis (Greed) Examples  Cinderella is probably the one book in this collection in which the main character or hero/ine is not greedy, rather her sisters are. They are so greedy that they would do anything to attend the ball and meet the Prince.  We can look at Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in that story as both being motivated by greedy thoughts. Little Red Riding Hood gets herself into trouble because of her greed: she strays from the path for flowers, and the wolf exhibits such extreme greed in that he could have stopped after he ate the grandmother, instead he wanted more—Little Red Riding Hood. That more (in this retelling) cost him his life.

10 Archetype Analysis Synopsis  We can understand the motive of greed, as we all exhibit this behavior at one point or another. Yet in many of the books in this collection, we can see that greed is the key factor in the development of many of the plots.  In this collection, it matters not whether the character is the hero/ine or the villain, s/he can still be motivated and driven by greed.

11 Character Analysis: Hero/ines Not all of the books in this collection have a hero/ine. Those without such some simply have a main character.  Jack, though a boy living at home, is really a hero to his mother in that he is able to get enough gold to make them rich.  The Prince in Cinderella is quite a hero in that he rescues Cinderella from such a pitiful situation and is able to give her more than her heart could have dreamed of.  The oldest and biggest goat in Three Billy Goats Gruff is quite a hero in that he is able to stand up to the troll which thus allows all of the goats to graze on the hillside.

12 Character Analysis: Hero/ines (con’t)  The Prince in The Sleeping Beauty has no extraordinary qualities. He is a normal man—a young Prince. However, it is his timing that is so special and just perfect. Thus, he appears to be the hero in that his kiss awakens the sleeping beauty.

13 Character Analysis: Other major characters  The Gingerbread Man is a very alive and vibrant character. He is very witty and cunning; however, the irony is that the wolf outsmarts him at his own game.  I like the idea of the wolf and its similarity in this story as compared to the wolf’s role in Little Red Riding Hood. In both books, the wolf is gobbling up someone/something.

14 Character Analysis: Other major characters (con’t)  Hansel and Gretel are very caring characters, especially for their young age. Their story of survival is very creative. I like the commonality between their attempt to “survive” and that of the Gingerbread Man before being eaten. There is no real hero or heroine that saves any of the three, but they are certainly looking out for themselves.  Hansel and Gretel’s parents (mother especially) are very different from us in that what parent would get rid of their children for lack of food without seeking out another alternative first? (... of course today we have many more resources than perhaps their parents had).

15 Character Analysis: Other major characters (con’t)  In looking at the idea of appearance similarities among the characters of this book collection, I would surmise that the only really “ugly” (physically) characters were the ogre in Jack and the Beanstalk and the step-sisters in Cinderella. Perhaps the old woman who wanted to cook Hansel in Hansel and Gretel could be included in this group.

16 Plot Analysis: Eating another character  It is very interesting to look at these various traditional stories and analyze their plots. In at least 5 of the 10 books, someone or something was trying to eat someone or something else.  The troll wanted to eat the goats in The Three Billy Boats Gruff.  The wolf ate the grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood.  The wolf ate the Gingerbread Man.  The old woman wanted to eat Hansel.  The ogre wanted to eat Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk.

17 Plot Analysis: Eating another character  The wolf wanted to eat the little pigs in The Three Little Pigs.

18 Plot Analysis: Characters involved  The authors all seemed to intertwine inanimate characters with animals with people and so on.  Animals were given human characteristics and abilities (as were inanimate objects in some cases, i.e. The Gingerbread Man).  Rumpelstiltskin proved to be quite a character. He really was the suspense of the story, but it was never revealed as to where he came from and if he was human or other. He did, however, still possess that quality of greed which was mentioned earlier.

19 Plot Analysis  Most all of the stories in this collection are considered suspenseful. Some are rather predictable, but they are creative and really hook the reader with the colorful characters and all of their antics.  In each story, there is a definite climax. While the plots are rather different, they do have the climax aspect in common as well as the idea of opposing forces in one story.

20 Summary  I suppose I have learned more than I had thought. This project really gave me the synthesis aspect that I needed. I enjoyed going back to the various forms of analysis with specific books and applying what I had learned. I had no idea I knew so much!  The most challenging part of this project was the format I chose to write it in. After being about 11 slides into this PowerPoint presentation, I decided I should have written it in paragraph form in a paper. I have too much to say and too many connections to make to really produce a quality slideshow. I feel that this format has been very limiting to me, and I haven’t been able to make all the connection I originally wanted to make. That being said, I didn’t want to start over, either.

21 Summary  If I were really going to use this in a presentation, there is much too much text for a slideshow.  I liked using the traditional stories as my collection. I had chosen Rapunzel as one of my selections, but I had to use something else because the Rapunzel I had was RAPunzel: A Happenin’ Rap, and it just didn’t fit the traditional mold I needed it to.  I found it very difficult to analyze ten books and compare one to the other. I think an easier format perhaps might be that of a table. It is difficult to compare and contrast things that are so completely unique one from the other.

22 Continuing the Work  Perhaps to continue such a project, I would find a new format for my analysis, and I would add a variety of other traditional stories. I think one interesting study would also be the various forms and books of Cinderella. There are so many different versions and retellings depending on the cultures. I bet this would be very interesting to study.

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