The latest from ConU German, straight from the TAs
Germany, the land of gruesome fairytales, is the nation that brought you the stereotypical big-bad wolf, cannibalistic witches, mutilating mothers, necrophiliac princes, and several other dark tales to satisfy your eerie appetite. For today’s blog post, forget Disney’s "magical" take on conventional folktales, and reevaluate what you thought you knew about the Brothers Grimm cautionary tales.
Contrary to popular belief, these tales’ sole purpose is not to merely entertain and cause its readers to squeal in delighted terror, or to align with one’s stereotypical image of the "angry-sounding, scary German;" but rather to emphasize the significance of morality, and to stress the lessons to be learned through the use of cryptic metaphors.
One of the good old Brothers Grimm classics is of course Little Red Cap (German: Rotkäppchen). An earlier version of this tale was written by Charles Perrault, entitled Little Red Riding Hood (Perrault 11). The concept of moral intent, such as is found in Perrault’s tale, can be rediscovered in the Brothers Grimm retelling. These tales reflect on societal norms, and gender roles; Little Red Cap is to serve as an eye-opening tale regarding female sexuality.
Red is urged by her mother “not to stray from the path,” to, metaphorically speaking, "conserve" herself, to maintain her virginity (Grimm 14). Followed by Red breaking this promise upon her encounter with her immoral fate: the wolf. The significance of this tale is the unjust depiction of women. It is the mother who is blamed for the consequences, by having sent her child into the woods; as well as Red, for having broken her promise not to stray from the path, straight into the arms of a (sexual) predator.
As is disturbingly stated by Perrault: “From this story one learns that children, / Especially young girls, / Pretty, well-bred, and genteel, / Are wrong to listen to just anyone, / And it’s not at all strange, / If a wolf ends up eating them.” So there you have it, the twisted cautionary lesson. It is not the wolf, the male seducer, who is to be blamed for the harm that he has done, as it is merely in his nature to ‘hunt;’ but rather it is up to women to uphold society’s virtues, and to refrain from “straying from the path” (Perrault 13).
Grimm, Brothers. “Little Red Cap.” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1998. 13-16. Print.
Perrault, Charles. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1998. 11-13. Print.
"Altes Geld" screening tonight in H-527!
Don't forget that the first screening of Altes Geld takes place tonight in H-527! All levels of German are welcome, as we will be watching with English subtitles!
All tutorials take place in H-661.2.