" Explores the historical rise of the literary fairy tale as genre in the late seventeenth century. In his examinations of key classical fairy tales, Zipes traces their unique metamorphoses in history with stunning discoveries that reveal their ideological relationship to domination and oppression. Tales such as Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Rumplestiltskin have become part of our everyday culture and shapers of our identities. In this lively work, Jack Zipes explores the historical rise of the literary fairy tale as genre in the late seventeenth century and examines the ideological relationship of classic fairy tales to domination and oppression in Western society. The fairy tale received its most "mythic" articulation in America. Consequently, Zipes sees Walt Disney's Snow White as an expression of American male individualism, film and literary interpretations of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz as critiques of American myths, and Robert Bly's Iron John as a misunderstanding of folklore and traditional fairy tales. This book will change forever the way we look at the fairy tales of our youth.
Breaking the Disney Spell
2039 WordsNov 6th, 20139 Pages
Jack Zipes, in his essay "Breaking the Disney Spell", directly addresses the issue of what happens when a story is taken from its original oral form and written down. Zipes discusses in depth what Walt Disney has done to fairy tales and the consequences of Disney's actions. Zipes addresses many issues, including those of context, society, and alteration of plot. He accuses Walt Disney of attacking "the literary tradition of the fairy tale" (344). While many scholars disagree with Zipes' accusations, his essay makes very solid and well-presented points that he promptly backs with fact. Regardless of what the scholars say, Zipes was right: Oral tradition is important, and Disney's representations of historical folktales damaged fairy tales…show more content…
Zipes argues that Disney changes the protagonist of the story from Puss to the "young king." In the original version of the tale, the cat was the hero and the young boy he was friends with played a minor role in the tale. The boy in the original tale was not royalty at all: he was a commoner. Disney changed both the importance of the boy's role in the story, as well as his social status. By adjusting the story, Zipes declares that Disney projected his own self into the story and presented it in a sort of auto-biographical fashion. Disney saw himself as the young king and projected that into the story. Disney did not see himself as simply an ordinary commoner: he was far above the peasant class, at least in his own mind.
While many of Disney's fans and viewers may argue that his recreation of fairy tales made little to no impact on the original meaning, Zipes believes otherwise. "Disney's film is also an attack on the literary tradition of the fairy tale. He robs the literary tale of its voice and changes its form and meaning" (344). Disney not only adjusts the main elements of a story, but he also alters the point of view and the narrator, as we see in Puss in Boots. Instead of the story being told from Puss' point of view, the "hero" of the story is the young boy. In Disney's other fairy tale recreations, he often adds characters and makes them the hero or savior of the story. Often, instead of being told by a female point of view