LET DOWN YOUR SWEET HAIR We all know the story of Rapunzel, or are at least vaguely familiar with it. A girl with blonde hair is locked in a tower and lets it down to help her prince climb up, only to eventually run away with him to escape the witch who holds her captive. They live happily ever after: the end. That is the main storyline. Not every story is of a girl named Rapunzel, though, there are other variations of which The Brother’s Grimm wrote Rapunzel from.
THE BROTHERS GRIMM The Brothers Grimm were actually two German men, Jacob and Wilhelm, who were academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it. Rapunzel was first published in 1812 as part of Children’s and Household Tales. The Grimm Brothers’ story is an adaptation of the fairytale Persinette by Charlotee-Rose de Caumont de La Force which was originally published in 1682, but the tale can be traced back to “Petrosinella”, a similar story written by Gimbattista Basile in 1634.
PETROSINELLA Petrosinella was written by Gimbattista Basile in 1634. Basile’s original story is more logical than the Brothers tweaked version, as a pregnant woman steals parsley from her ogress neighbor, and promises the ogress that she will raise Petrosinella until she is seven, and then will hand her over. The ogress locks her in a tower with now doors or stairs, and cannot escape because the ogress places a spell over her. Petrosinella finds out how to break the spell, makes a rope ladder with the help of a prince, and the two of them run away together.
PERSINETTE Persinette was written by Madam de La Force. Madame de La Force’s adaptation is even more logical than the latter. Persinette was placed in the tower to keep her safe from the lustful eyes of men, but was raised in luxurious isolation and the sorceress was not truly wicked. Persinette breaks out of the tower to find true love. The trysts with her lover are found to when she shows signs of pregnancy and her hair is hacked off, she is banished to a desert place, and the Godmother hangs the braids out the window to lure the prince into the tower. The prince is told by the sorceress that she has been banished and he eventually finds her in the desert with her twin children.
THE BROTHERS GRIMM’S RAPUNZEL Grimm’s adaptation for children is thought to come from a translation into German by J.C.F. Schulz because he changed the recurring parsley, which was being stolen, into rapunzel. They would not allow any mention of a pregnancy, so Rapunzel is found out through what would seem to be her own stupidity, and says something to her “Godmother” that makes her mad, and she cuts off Rapunzel’s hair. She gives birth to twins in the desert and her prince comes to find her, after traipsing to the tower and finding that the witch has cut off her hair and taken her to the desert. Through the translations, it came into play that her exaggerated hair became the centerpiece of the story. In every version mentioned in this paper, there is commonness that the hair is a source of some ownership for the wicked witch, fairy, or ogress, and they use her hair to get to and fro the tower. The symbolism behind her hair—Rapunzel being the only one to use it, as it lets her down from the tower and protects her from the outside world, and draws in her true love—explains why Rapunzel cannot just cut it off and use it to escape.
VERSION APPROPRIATE FOR KIDSTODAY? After reading the Brothers Grimm version, I deemed it worthy of older children’s eyes and minds only, especially after the release of Disney’s Tangled in 2010. As a kid at heart, I personally love Disney’s adaptation, though I appreciate the original stories from which it originated. Not to mention, this movie was huge amongst little kids, and it still is. When I helped in Ms. Blonde’s class at White Pigeon Central Elementary for Experiential Learning my senior year, there was tangled stuff all over the place!
FINALLY TO TANGLED Even though Tangled is farfetched, the Brothers’ version is even way more out there. Why I think that Disney’s version is better though is because of the characters and the story they created. I love how Rapunzel is sort of innocent, yet head strong, and how she has her little sidekick Pascal. And I love how Flynn turns out to be a good guy, not just a theif who is wanted. If I would have had to write this paper in 2010 before Disney released their version, I would have probably said that it would be appropriate for children in today’s society. With the release of Tangled and its popularity, though, I’ve got to say that I’m with Rapunzel, Flynn, Pascal, and Maximus.
THE STORYLINE OF TANGLED, IFYOU DON’T ALREADY KNOW The story goes like this: a queen is ill during pregnancy and the King’s subjects search for a legendary flower, that is keeping an old woman named Gothel young, so the queen will be cured from her sickness. When she gives birth to her daughter, who they name Rapunzel, they find that her hair has the same abilities of the flower. Gothel wants her hair and, because once it is cut it turns brown and remains useless, Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel and locks her in a tower. On Rapunzel’s birthday every year, her parents release sky lanterns in hopes that the lights will guide her home. Flynn Rider steals the tiara of the lost princess, only to be knocked unconscious by Rapunzel. Rapunzel shows Gothel her captive and she is furious, saying that she’ll never leave the tower. Eventually, though, Rapunzel leaves with Flynn so she can go to the kingdom. They go on a long ride, and end up falling in love. Gothel attempts to kill Flynn and Rapunzel tries to heal him with her magical hair powers but Flynn cuts it off before Gothel can get to her. And like the usual Disney stories, they live happily ever after: the end.
THIS IS NOT 2010 If I would have had to write this paper in 2010 before Disney released their version, I would have probably said that it would be appropriate for children in today’s society. With the release of Tangled and its popularity, though, I’ve got to say that I’m with Rapunzel, Flynn, Pascal, and Maximus.
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