CANNIBALISM

She is brave, shrewd and outsmarts the wolf to save herself. But the Brothers Grimm added the red hood to symbolize sin and suggesting this tale has now been turned into a story of rape – a warning to girls not to go too far with “wolves” i.e. sexual predators. Beauty and the Beast was also updated to reflect what was considered more civilized. While LRRH and "Hansel and Gretel" revolve around maternal and eating concerns, in the following tales the maternal conflict exisits but does not necessarily take "center stage." "Snow White" explores the same loss of the "good" mother as "Hansel and Gretel." Right after Snow White is born, her mother dies. The King (another absent father) remarries and Snow White gains a step-mother. In this tale, the Queen is filled with narcissistic pride and will not allow anyone to rival her beauty. Both Kay Stone, in "Three Transformations of Snow White," and Bruno Bettleheim, in his Uses of Enchantment, work with the tale, expressing clearly the psychoanalytic motifs present in terms of the psychosexual development of the girl. But neither deals extensively with the cannibalistic undertones present in the Queens' desire to eat the girl child, perhaps because it occupies only a small portion of the text. It is clearly the element most forgotten in the tale. The Queen fears Snow White is more beautiful than she, and orders a huntsman to kill the little girl, bringing her Snow White's lungs and liver as proof that she is dead. The huntsman takes pity on the girl and delivers a boar's organs in her stead. The Queen, not knowing this, then orders the cook to "boil them in salt, and the wicked woman ate them and thought she had eaten Snow White's lungs and liver" (Zipes 1988, 214). This is a contextual repetition that appears also in the two previously discussed tales of LRRH and "Hansel and Gretel." The tales all have something to do with difficulties surrounding the relationship between mother figure and child (primarily a daughter figure), and the child's coming to terms with and resolving certain infantile fantasies about the mother's place as nurturer and supporter. While both boy and girl in "Hansel and Gretel" are threatened by the maternal, Gretel, not caged, is more clearly pitted against the witch, kills her and saves her brother. In each tale, the mother figure is split into good and bad characters. In each, the child or children are cast or induced out of the home and into a forest. In Snow White, the girl child must enter the terrifying forest in order to escape the wrath of her step mother, a context almost exactly molded to that of the children in "Hansel and Gretel." In the forest she must learn to fend for herself. Snow White is named because as an infant her mother saw her as "white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair as black as ebony. Accordingly, the child was called Snow White" (Zipes, 213). The new wife of the king is described as proud and "haughty." The driving impulse behind the cannibalistic moment is not hunger as it is in LRRH and "Hansel and Gretel," for the Wicked Queen and Snow White herself are not of a lower class; they are royalty. In this sense, the Queen's desire to eat of the child enters a more horrific realm. She does not eat to sustain life, she eats to obliterate Snow White and to, in some way, possess her characteristics. When the Queen returns to her mirror later in the tale, she does so feeling "totally convinced that she was again the most beautiful woman in the realm" because she "believed she had eaten Snow White's liver and lungs"

but tricks Red into drinking her blood. and the child is experiencing a different level of development: one in which she is in competition with the mother for the attention of others. that in the original the wife of her rapist tried to get the cook to dump Beauty's two bastards into a stew and then tried to get Beauty's own heart cut out for consumption. Let's not forget. It is instead a (sexual) jealousy that fuels the mother figure to wish the death of the child. the Wolf once again eats granny as usual. and it is not necessarily a rage connected with food retaliation. In this version. in this final version the prince. Cashdan discusses this idea in his book The Witch Must Die: How Fairy Tales Shape Our Lives as he questions "does he spare the girl because she is innocent of wrong doing? Does he allow her to live because he is repelled by the queen's bloodthirsty habits? Not exactly. and economic conditions can relate to) had a scene of cannibalism so gruesome that illustrators flatly refused to portray it visually. Although the huntsman doesn't try to help her survive. in fact. while in earlier editions it is the father who saves her. or a denial of nourishment. I guess. The wife of the Beauty's rapist has perhaps the most chilling cannibalistic expression in all of fairy tale land when she says to her husband who think he is eating his two illegitimate children: "You're eating your own!" One of the earliest versions of Little Red Riding Hood (which may. he feels better knowing he wasn't explicitly involved in her death. Thus this tale has little to do with object relations per se.The Queen orders the child out into the forest where she hopes to never "lay eyes on her again" (214). Here the cannibalism (which again is not as in the other tales a recurring motif. At any rate. It is Snow White's beauty that saves her from her fate as the huntsman frees her. but rather in terms of a sexual jealousy. be the single most primal of all fairy tales. the context is different. one that people of all ages. as I wrote in my recent article about Sleeping Beauty. in this early draft the Wolf not only eats Granny. He allows Snow White to live because of her beauty" (47). Did you know that there exists almost no version of Little Red Riding Hood until the 20th century in which Granny survives? Says a lot about the treatment of the elderly. Again it is through the death of the mother that the child can live successfully. sexes. There is allegedly even a medieval manuscript in which the Wolf first makes Red eat Granny before he eats the Wolf. And again the child must identify finally with a male. but only a brief scene) stands not for the mother's retaliation in terms of feeding. and is almost certain that wild beasts will gobble her up. . The danger present for Snow White is exclusively the rage of her mother.

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