Fairy Tales 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fairy Tale Elements in "Someday My Prince Will Come"

Overall I really enjoyed this film. By the film's conclusion, the viewer is left with a mix of melancholy and hope for the future of this poor, small coastal town named Siddick, which once thrived on the coal industry.

In a film titled "Someday My Prince Will Come," I noticed many elements and motifs present in the film that we have discussed in class from fairy tales.

1) the effect that parents (abusive, missing, or benevolent) have on their children: Stephen's father has been in prison for almost two years, and we pity a sad, lonely boy stuck in a dirty house with just his dog, hungry for supper. Jamie, who smokes and gets into fistfights, learned violence and independence from his abusive father.
2) incest: not from a father to a daughter like in All Fur, but Laura-Anne wonders how to replace the love she feels for her cousin, Stephen, with a more acceptable love. Regarding this taboo love, she simply says, "One doesn't."
3) human transformation --> animals: Laura-Anne's dad tells her there are plenty more fish in the sea, and she says that that would be fine if she wanted to go out with a fish; reminiscent of the Frog Prince.

The film is carefully weaved with clever winks to the audience showing Laura-Anne's love of fairy tales: Little Green Riding Hood, Prince Ben, and men as her "protectors." This movie is beautiful in a breathtakingly bare setting, and Laura-Anne's presentation of love at ten years old is unforgettably honest.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Little Girls About Princes Too Soon?

I watched the rest of the film we started in class, "Some Day My Prince Will Come", and really had mixed feelings. On the one hand, it seems like having fairy tales in the world that those children are growing up can bring hope and be a distraction from the dingy conditions that they are in; but on the other hand, fairy tales can point out the shortcomings of the surroundings more than disguise them.

First of all, I personally believe those children are way too young to be doing everything that they are doing (9 year olds don't need to be making out and swearing), but looking at their present situation it is understandable that they do grow up a little faster. I think this video was a good modern day glimpse into the world that initially produced fairy tales, where kids are treated like little adults and have to overcome challenges and are even in a sense "married off". The parents barely seem involved in the kids lives (which as a disclaimer could completely be due to the way the people filming wanted it to appear, framing the children as the main actors in a grown up world). The one boy, Jamie, said that he learned to fight from his father hitting him so much, and was already smoking. Her cousin Steven had to be the man of the house while his dad was in jail, etc.

I thought the scene where her mother was trying to teach her some sex ed was interesting. Clearly those kids are in an environment where that is very relevant to them at a young age, so it was good that the mother was at least broaching the topic, but that scene was very revealing about the mother. First of all, she did not seem very informed on the matter herself and appeared uneducated. She could not read without the aide of her daughter, could not pronounce words she should be familiar with, and laughed off a lot of the subject. In later scenes we understand that her mother is helping her buy birthday presents for her boyfriends and just in general is fine with sending her out in the world of boys to fend for herself. *Note: World's youngest parents recently hit the news a couple of years ago (age 9 hailing from Britain)...just saying.

Having established that this is not friendly childhood environment, I was wondering which versions of fairy tales these children would read. I get the impression that it could easily be the (more) original and raw versions than the cleaned up Grimms and other modern versions infused with moral lessons and colorful pictures. In that case they would be able to relate to the fact that not all stories end happily for everyone. It may not get their hopes up for someone or something that is never going to happen. But I am a little conflicted because I think that Laura-Anne could have really used the good example of a prince charming in her world to teach her not to settle for boys who were verbally or physically abusive, instead of thinking that was the norm or as good as it got, she should be waiting for and looking for someone that merits a princely tittle with virtuous features. So, I'm not sure where I stand on this movie (other than the fact that I hope to bring up my own children very differently when the time comes), but these are some of the thoughts that I had on it.