Hey everyone. I will still try to post some cool fairy tale stuff here, but for now I am going to have a blog about teaching and writing here:
A blog dedicated to contemporary fairy tales, their re-tellings, myths, folktales, fables, and a love of literature.
Hey everyone. I will still try to post some cool fairy tale stuff here, but for now I am going to have a blog about teaching and writing here:
I’ve been gone for quite some time! Just finished with my mfa and I just self-published my first ebook, “The Rat King” on amazon. I am also thinking of setting up a new blog or creating a twitter. Not sure yet, I’ll post when/if that happens.
Here’s the link if you’re interested!
Hey all! I have a great favor to ask of all of you fairy tale lovers! I’m looking for a publish poem about “Snow White” that is really up to snuff. Any suggestions??
This is for Megec, who asked for a more in depth look at the recent film, “Snow White and the Hunstman.” If you don’t want any SPOILERS, then please do not read this post!!! I warned you!
I actually think this film was very thoughtful of the fairy tale and in essence, captured its own speculations about our familiar “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” There are a lot of the same themes presented in the film that give life to the tale. Sexuality, revenge, war, aging/death.
Snow White, the original fairy tale, is all about sex. The queen is evil because she embodies sex (widows were often feared, as they were sexual and single, and used as a symbol for wickedness and sin), and she hates Snow White because she is youth, and innocence on the verge of sexuality. In the mirror, she can watch Snow White, because Snow is a reflection of herself. (For a more detailed speculation on the actual fairy tale and not the film, please see my original analysis on “Snow White” on my Stepmothers post)
Charlize Theron’s perfomance as the witch Revenna is as fascinating, dark, and complicated as I have always thought of the character to be. She is also intelligent. She tricks the king into battling her shadow army so he can “rescue” her (scantily clad and looking innocently frightened). BRILLIANT! She is a tactician, playing on young Snow’s vulnerability as well as the sexual needs of the father. Already, here, in the moment of her wedding, sex is the crux of this film and the fairy tale.
Her sexuality lures the king in, and his desire is what brings his life, family, and kingdom, to an end. Her sexuality, her beauty, is also what draws young Snow to trust her. Let’s look at the scene on the eve of her wedding, when Ravenna slays the king:
About to make love, she straddles him and tells him her story, while he swoons over her and pretty much doesn’t listen to a word. Once (we find out later from her dialogue and the flash back, that it is like a hundred years ago) she was stolen as a very young girl to be a bride for a king only to be tossed aside when she got too old. Now, I have several ideas on that alone: Was she molested as a girl? Did she love her king? Was she betrayed by him (infidelity)? And how old was too old? Obviously, this experience was scarring because she was separated from her mother so early, and then replaced when she was too old (therefore rejected sexually). So, anyway, she’s straddling him, and then she stabs him with a knife (which, criminology and psychology studies to be an intimate and sexually significant choice for a murderer.)
It is interesting, too, that her counterpart and blond haired lacky — her brother — is a rapist and predator of women. She condemns her husband because he would use her and toss her aside, hollow, when her brother does this to hundreds of women (thanks to her power). I think this is because they mirror (pun intended) each other. She is a sexual predator, a huntress, a murderess, and he is the same, only male.
On the other side of the fence, is Snow and her hunky Huntsman. She is kind, Christian (you see her praying), and just. He, though a wreck in the beginning, is honest, moral, and kind. So you have two sets of male/female dynamics here: You can be sexual, fierce, bloody, lonely, and wicked (though powerful), or you can be innocent (Snow is a virgin, and the huntsman was married, so they are both “pure” in that way of thinking), kind, moral, ect, ect. Your good/evil set up.
What is interesting, then, is the Huntsman. In the original tale, he is a symbol for male sexuality (being a hunter, animalistic, masculine, and carrying the knife, a phallic symbol, with which he will pierce her). Also, just LOOK at Chris Hemsworth. He is a manly man. ‘Nuff said.
I think, though, that the film has added a complexity to the fairy tale that is necessary for our current cultural mindset, and that is: she’s not ALL bad. Sure, Ravenna is a soul-sucking (literally), manipulative, cruel, viscous, and power hungry chick, but she is also incredibly fragile. When she is stabbed, she cries out and scurries like a wounded animal, afraid. She is pretty much motivated by fear: As a child, she is given her abilities to protect her from the king, then she uses them as she fears to be a plaything for Men, and finally, she turns on Snow because she fears her own fate of old age and death.
When Snow says, “You will never have my heart,” I thought that line was very important and threefold. One, you literally CANNOT have it, she won’t give it up. Two, you do not have the capacity to be kind and gentle like Snow. Three, you will never be as beautiful as Snow, because her beauty IS her heart. A lovely spin on our idea of beauty.
**A detail I loved was that the forest spirit was the white hart with the large antlers, a symbol for nature that has been used throughout many different ancient mythos, especially Celtic and European.
I hope that analysis met your needs! :) If you have any questions or anything you want to discuss that was/was not mentioned, please feel free to either reply to this post or message me and I can make it public.
So, I’m sure a lot of you (being supposed fairy tale lovers) have wanted to see Pixar’s Brave if you haven’t already. Well, here is my review of the film. I have seen it in regular format and 3D.
Pixar has reunited with Disney to introduce the very first Pixar princess. I have been excited about this film since it was in “the works” and was called The Bow and The Bear, which I loved as a title. I am torn between that and Brave. Brave is quick and simple, but it also lacks that fairy tale quality that I really appreciated from “The Bow and The Bear.” Pixar has received a lot of critique on this film as it is not as “ground breaking” as some of their former work.
Art: The art was, in my opinion, probably the best they have achieved so far. Perhaps because it has a realistic setting and therefor requires more details and texture (like the moss, for example, which looks so soft and spongy I wanted to sit on it.) We haven’t seen very many “human” dramas from Pixar, other than Up and The Incredibles. Both those films had a very comic-book style of anatomy, whereas in Brave, for the most part, it sticks pretty close to realism when it comes to character’s looks. All in all, the art was beautiful and captured the fairy tale image of Scotland beautifully. In 3D the art was worth the price of wearing plastic glasses.
Experience: The film is heartwarming and tender. If you’ve ever had to struggle to communicate with a parental figure, you’ll definitely feel a strong bond between yourself and Merida. But, really, you relate to both Merida and Ellinor. The film gave a great portrayal of both sides of the relationship. The movie was definitely adventurous, but not “an adventure” in many ways. The previews seem so exciting! Don’t they? Well, the movie doesn’t deliver in that aspect. There is very little trailblazing or fighting, but that is because it isn’t the focus of the film (which, I think the trailers could have done a more honest job showing that, as the movie can stand on its own without “hype.”)
Thematically: Before I delve into this, I’ll say this. I definitely shed a tear during this film. The situation was both comical and tragic, and the bond between the mother and daughter tenuous but precious. I think Pixar and Disney took a leap with the direction of this film, because generally when we have the set up of “unruly princess doesn’t want to be married, but her mother wants her to,” we know what is going to happen: she’ll meet a rough and tumble scoundrel with a heart of gold. However, this is not the case in Brave. This is a story of love, but not of romance. That being said, I’m not here to snuggle the movie, so here are the downsides:
The movie is very short, actually the shortest film Pixar has ever made. Also, once the initial situation of the movie is revealed that (and I’m going to say because it has been out long enough and the new previews don’t hide the fact) Merida accidentally curses her mother to take on the form of a bear, it becomes predictable. Now, that’s a negative because we (as a collective audience) want surprise. Along the predictable journey and it’s not at all shocking twists and turns are moments of beauty, so don’t discount that. There isn’t much you can’t guess after the first thirty minutes. Also, I have read a lot of reviews, and everyone is saying what a different princess Merida is…but…
she’s not. So, she’s curious and adventurous (Belle/Ariel). She can fight (Mulan) and she doesn’t get along with her mother (Cinderella). She is tricked by a witch (Aurora from sleeping beauty, though Malificent is a fairy but you get my point). The difference is, her hair is awesome. I’m serious. She has amazing hair. A curtain of fiery red curls. Each curl, by the way, is individually rendered in every frame. What does that mean? It means, some poor soul drew, colored, and textured each SINGLE curl for every millisecond of that entire film. Essentially, each curl is its own character.
In fact, her hair and the labels placed on Merida are her only real essence. I’m not saying she’s entirely a flat character, but she isn’t complete either. Sure, she rides a horse, climbs cliffs, and shoots arrows, but that isn’t who you ARE. That isn’t enough to create a soul for your character. She’s still awesome, but I felt like young Merida was more of a human being than grown Merida. Ellinor, however, is a very complex and fascinating character. Even in her bear moments, when she cannot speak, she has such depth and volume that she completely overshadows Merida.
So, do I recommend this movie?
Yes. I give it a 3.8 out of 5. It’s not stupendous but it is extremely touching, enjoyable, and very funny. If you like fairy tales and fantasy, I think you’ll enjoy this film very much.
Have any of you seen it, or have comments?
So this week, I’m taking a break from the fiction mini series in order to review a movie I’m sure most of my followers are interested in, seeing how this is a fairy tale blog and it’s a fairy tale movie.
NO SPOILERS (because then what’s the point, right?)
So, there’s been a lot of hype to the 2012 new film, “Snow White & The Huntsman” starring Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, and Kristen Stewart. Now, the reason I listed Charlize first, instead of Kristen or the yummy Chris Hemsworth is simply because she astounds. She gives a dynamic, riveting, and enchanting performance. As the wicked queen of the famous fairy tale, Snow White, she fulfilled all the hopes I’ve harbored for that character. I’ve always found the queen to be a very layered character (See my older posts about the Snow White fairy tale and witches for more information).
Well, Charlize makes good on all the time I’ve spent thinking about that character and it is terribly obvious that she, too, has given the role a lot of thought. She adds a decadent, sensual, and wicked brilliance to what is conventionally a very flat pure-evil character. I thought the back story was pretty interesting and unexpected.
As for the rest of the cast, they held up their end of the bargain. I know Kristen gets a lot of shit for her Twilight roles, but I like to look at performances individually. I know she’s usually stoic and hard to read, but I think the subtly in her facial expressions works really well. Instead of being the Mary Sue, boring princess that is always needing to be rescued, she’s got a little strength. Now, I always hear how “different” princesses are when they take charge in a fairy tale type movie such as this, but let’s face it: princesses have been being “different” since Robin Wright’s “Princess Bride” performance.
With that said, I think Snow White is a great mix between the princess who needs rescuing, and the princess who does the rescuing. Chris Hemsworth, famous for his role as Thor, is the huntsman. Let’s just get this out of the way: yes, he is as gorgeous as usual. But, he also plays a dark, yet tender man as The Huntsman. He definitely stole the show many times, both illiciting laughter and teary “Awws.”
So my rating on the acting performances: a solid 9/10. There’s just a great cast, and the movie moves smoothly through each scene, never losing momentum, never fracturing the element of suspended disbelief.
The costumes, landscape, effects, and soundtrack: 10/10. It was simply, a beautiful film. It has the epic aspect to it and definitely holds up visually to cult favorites of this genre. IMDB gave the film a 6.7 rating, and rotten tomatoes gave it a 47%. I personally think it was better than those ratings.
If you want a movie of adventure, the fairy tale, the darkness often overlooked in fairy tales, fantasy, great special effects, and a riveting witch of epic proportions, I seriously recommend this film. I know my followers would love it.
If it wasn’t for Pixar’s “Brave,” coming out the 22nd, I would say “Snow White & The Huntsman” was my favorite film of the year, but I have a lot of hopes riding on “Brave!”
Also, if enough of you request a detailed analysis of this film like I have done for fairy tales in the past, I will definitely do it, but I was afraid of giving away spoilers. What are your thoughts, comments, questions, or own review of this movie?
today is the last day of poetry marathon, as it is the close of April. Sad to see it go, but happy to say I have completed the challenge. I did not post the last few days of poetry on tumblr because they weren’t fairy tale related (my inspiration made me do other things, picture a muse forcing my hand). In part, because I am finishing my final poetry portfolio for Major Jackson’s poetry workshop, and he asked me to put “the Arli” in my work. So, I decided to put them up here anyway, because the poetry challenge is over, anyway, and when else would I ever post them? I hope you enjoy.
This poem is about the breast surgery I had last year, due to two (benign) golf-ball sized tumors.
At first, I remember
The rise of my breast
in the dim darkened room,
my palm called to touch
and teeter under-shirt,
to slip under spaghetti strap,
to touch, to discover
hard like a chipped tooth,
round as a beach pebble,
rising just beside the pink
of my nipple, and relief
hardens me, and I am relieved
to find something as ugly,
and as meager, and as hard
I also did a series poem, called, “The Art of Being A Girl,” about my mother and I. Here is the first poem:
The speckles dancing in air are basement fairies
drifting in our apartment on Elm
dazzling and dancing on tipped toes
in a halo, surrounding my mother
who is kneeling at the coffee table
needling her hands pin-cushion raw.
Get that rat off your head,mother says,
with her back hunched like a crone kneading dough.
Go and watch your mermaid,she says,
she’ll teach you how to grow legs.
Here is the second in the series, a villainelle about the time one of my aunts attempted suicide.
The phone rings and a withering begins,
in my mother, breaking and bending her like the wing of a swallow.
Framed in a halo of dust, she says,Women are only skins
to be shed. In the kitchen, she and Eliane bend and bow like twins
in grief, cryingma petite soeur, ma petite soeur,uniting in a song of wallow.
The phone rings and a withering begins
in her skin, shedding and shredding her, replacing legs with fins
and as a mermaid she wriggles and writhes in her hollow,
framed in a halo of dust, she says,Women are only skins,
and she trades hers for scales like pearls. Legless, she spins
her fins on the kitchen tile, a jittery nightmare keening low,
the phone rings. And a withering begins
to swim in her belly, and she cries sharp as a shell and jagged as tins
rusted and rife. As if she had no breasts, as if she were hallow,
framed in a halo of dust, she says,Women are only skins
to peel.She talks about sleeping beauty and airfare and sins
of the pill and the knife, tells meSe baigner dans l’eau.
The phone rings and a withering begins,
framed in a halo of dust, she says,Women are only skins.
And so ends National Poetry Month.
Still working on getting the journal up to speed, writing up mission statements, refined submission guidelines, etc etc. So I will keep you updated on the progress.
So, in addition to the daily poem, I want to discuss what “magical realism” is, as that is one of our visions for the Lit Journal. But first, Poem O’ the Day.
Rue the Fairy Girl
Flip flop the be bop
in the witchy bones of the fairy,
that glittering glister girl,
that pixie cut, that sparkling dust
girl with the kung fu legs
and the Madonna eyes,
slip slap her until her petal
toes snap and break,
until her back bows pretty
as an iris overweighted by bloom,
crush her until she knows
what she is - nothing but a slip
of a thing, a little fairy,
meaningless and tulip tiny.
Magical Realism, what is it?
Dictionary Says: a literary genre or style that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction —called also magical realism— magic realist noun
So, basically, magical realism is any magical or fantastical element that would not be plausible outside of your work of fiction/poetry/art/dramatic writing. So, for example, in a story that falls under “magical realism” there could be: talking objects like singing turbans, humanistic animals like a fox in a suit, the adaptation of physics/science like time travel, an imagined universe like a dystopia. Anything that magically or fantastically alters the perceived “realistic” setting. It’s the witch who owns a tattoo parlor, or the goblin king who sets up an online dating profile, or the talking jacket that compels a woman to take it home with her.
Any questions or comments?