Fairy Tales 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Green Serpent

Well, I was going to give a brief synopsis of this story, but it's very long and extremely convoluted, so I'll get right to the meat and taters.

There is little about this story that doesn't make it a fairy tale. The length of the story, the intricacy/complexity of the storyline, and little things like the uses of real places (Paris, for instance) that point to a literary genre other than fairy tale. However, the bulk of the story is devoted to magic, morals, transformations, redemption, etc., which are all fairly characteristic of fairy tales.

First off, there are actual transformations of various characters from human to beast, but the main character, Laidronette, does not undergo so explicit a change. She does go from the ugliest person on the planet to very pretty, but this is after she learns to value her intellect more and wants to atone for her past misdeed of indulging her curiosity. Thus, she ends up being saved.

The magic is also pretty obvious, in that it's jam-packed into every sentence in the story. From the beginning there are fairies, talking animals, tiny pagods made of of jewels and such, magic teleportation, and many others.

One thing that I found interesting is that this story seemed to take aspects from many types of stories we have read, as well as some others. The initial scenes where the twin princesses are born and 12 fairies are to bestow gifts is reminiscent of Snow White tales. When Laidronette is given the task of filling a pitcher with a whole in it, I couldn't help but think back to Greek myths and punishments in Tartarus. And when the queen is told to spin spider wed though she does not know how to spin, I think back to The Three Spinners. It was as if the author took bits and pieces of other fairy tale traditions and wove (no pun intended) them into one massive tale.

I think this story could have worked better as a traditional, short, to the point fair tale than the long story it is. Since storytelling was introduced, the author had to apply logic to many situations that we would normally just take for granted and not need explained, but as I noticed, the logic does not quite hold up. That's a big problem with filling in all the nooks and crannies that are missed in a shorter fairy tale: you just shouldn't apply logic to a clearly fantastical story.

No comments:

Post a Comment