Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gail and Fairytales

She doesn't like them. I can remember enjoying fairytales that were included in my elementary school reading books, but since then they have left me cold. And my dislike for fantasy is well documented. For romance, too.

In spite of all that, I really enjoyed The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. Hale's Goose Girl is a reworking of a fairytale I'd never even heard of. The main character, Ani, is a crown princess who feels she may not be up to the task. Her mom marries her off to a neighboring prince. During the six month trip to her fiance's castle, her lady-in-waiting and her male companion revolt, planning to replace Ani with the lady-in-waiting. This is the old days, remember, no photos, long distances between castles, etc. Ani escapes but has to live anyway she can to survive, and she becomes a caretaker for a flock of geese. The experience changes her. She becomes a stronger person, a better princess.

Ani changes in believable ways as a result of her experiences. Okay, you have to accept some communicating to animals stuff, but, once you do that, the storyline is pretty logical. And there's only a limited amount of prince charming material to have to tolerate.

I liked this book so much that I've become interested in fairytales in general. I've got a copy of Grimm's The Goose Girl upstairs that I'll be reading soon, and I'd like to do a little research on fairytales. For instance, are they archetypical stories related to human experience? I'm not asking if there was ever a princess who had to become a goose girl. I mean does the story represent the way sometimes people have to go through bad things in life in order to become better people?

If I find any information on this subject, you can be sure I'll let you know.

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