Hansel and Gretel
It's a Hard Knock Life
Hansel and Gretel come as a package deal. When your mother wants to ditch you in the woods to avoid starvation (well, for her at least), you need to stick together. We don't learn their ages, but we're guessing they're in or under the 7-10 years old range, since if they were any older, this tale would probably also be about snagging a spouse.
Hansel the Handy
Despite being on the brink of starvation, Hansel is pretty chill throughout the tale. Every time Gretel cries, he comforts her with something like: "Don't worry, my dear little sister. Just sleep in peace. God will not forsake us" (Hansel and Gretel.54). Even when captured by the witch, he's clever enough to stick out "a little bone" (Hansel and Gretel.57) instead of his finger, in order to seem like he's not fattening up enough to eat.
Hansel is a quick thinker, but he's still just a kid. So when he first hears his parents talking about the ditch-'em plan, he goes outside and gathers white stones that they can use to find their way home. The second time this happens, the door is locked at night, so all he can leave on the path in the forest are breadcrumbs. This was not, obviously, a plan that was thought through enough. The birds loved it, though, so at least someone's happy.
Go, Gretel, Go
When the kids end up in the witch's clutches, Hansel's put in a cage to fatten up, so his active role in the story pretty much ends there. Sad for him, but we're pumped because we finally get to see Gretel shine—somewhat unexpectedly, as all she did before was cry. Like, all the time. But now that her bro's out of the picture, she manages to trick the witch into getting close enough to the oven to push in, and then she frees Hansel, all on her own. You go girl.
Both kids are canny enough to scoop up the witch's jewels before heading home. Gretel accomplishes one more thing when she asks a duck to bring them across a river so they can get home. We hope her duck-whispering skills come in handy in the future, because otherwise that would just be a waste of one awesome talent.
Luckily for them, their heartless mother has died while they're away from home, so they get to share their loot with their dad, who was an all right guy all along. Hansel and Gretel both act in accordance with a sense of family values…assuming you get to off any family members who don't love you or are drains on the household.
Essay on Literary Analysis of The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
1197 Words5 Pages
Set in Poland during the German occupation, “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel” is told as a fairy tale, utilizing many of the elements that are common to fairy tales.
This book reflects the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” However, in Murphy’s parable, Hansel and Gretel are two Jewish children who are abandoned by their father and stepmother in order to save them from the Nazis.
Setting the tale in Nazi Germany creates an atmosphere of fear and anxiety, and establishes a set of circumstances in which it is possible for people to act in ways that would be unacceptable under other circumstances. The stepmother is a good example of this. She is the force in the family – it is she who decides that everyone in the…show more content…
While all of the residents in the nearby village know Magda is a gypsy, they keep it quiet, because the gypsies, like the Jews, are persecuted by the Germans. She turns out to be a good witch, unlike the earlier fairy tale. That she was taken away after helping the children to flee may be evidence that life, for an ageing person, must have taken on a different importance at that time than it might in other times. Again this may be a reminder that during the holocaust older people, who were considered to be of less use overall, and were automatically annihilated. This book touches on the fact that the more useful a person was the greater their chances of survival.
The use of the oven in this tale was of interest. The oven, on this case, was not sued to annihilate someone but was used by Magda to save the children. Considering the use of ovens during the holocaust, this approach may have been a reminder that the very tools that were used to annihilate were also tools that might be used to save people. It is a reminder that the thought processes of individuals during that time sometimes stretched the limits of possibility. In fairy tales, sexuality is usually portrayed as harmful to the heroine herself, according to an article by Michael Hornyansky. He goes on to suggest that “fairy tales may serve as training manuals in passive behaviour”, an indication that