Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for! The movie I feel like I have been waiting for all my life will open, and of course I have tickets for opening night! I’m sure the movies will be packed, but it will be well worth it to see Snow White and the Huntsman starring Charlize Theron (as the Evil Queen Ravenna), Kristen Stewart (as Snow White), and Chris Hemsworth (as the Huntsman). I am absolutely sure that I will love the movie, and I am in eager anticipation. I started preparing this past weekend by changing my web site background to feature Queen Ravenna, and a quote from her magic mirror. Tonight I decided to look into some historical aspects of this classic fairytale to edify myself. I was so pleased to discover that Snow White has come a long, long, long way baby! Snow White was once portrayed as a timid, girly girl (sometimes in a corset) who waited for her man.
1908- San Antonio Newspaper Ad
The new day Snow women are tough and domineering yet still beautiful, and in need of a lovely touch from the men they desire. I have not seen Kristen Stewart in action as Snow, but I am sure that she will pull through in a strong and sexy role tomorrow night. The most current version of Snow was in the TV series Once Upon a Time (of course a favorite). In this series, Mary Margaret took on more of the traditional timid traits of Snow, while her fairytale counterpart was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted. We can’t really understand this fairytale without looking at some historical perspectives. I was curious where this tale originated? All I knew was that it was created by the Brothers Grimm. There have been several white papers published with regard to the tale, but I wanted a fresh look.
1913- Des Moines News Ad
I was able to confirm through two scholarly sources that the Brothers Grimm did publish the first version of the Snow White fairytale in 1812. In 1977, the Journal of American Folklore published a white paper titled Initiation and Meaning in the Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by NJ Girardot. In his paper, Girardot discusses the 1812 “classic Grimm story of Snow White.” Another date confirmation for the origin of this tale derived from Guardians of the fairy tale: the Brothers Grimm by T O’Neill. The author published his findings in a 1999 issue of National Geographic. O’Neill says that the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, “named their story collection Children’s and Household Tales and published the first of its seven editions in Germany in 1812.” The book included the tale of Snow White.
After taking a close look at newspapers from the time period in which the Brothers Grimm published their German fairytale classics, I came to some interesting conclusions. Most of the digitized newspapers I located were published in London, which is not far from Germany. There were three things I was able to establish in my research. First, “snow white” was actually used as a descriptive phrase during the time period I looked at (1812-1820). Second, Snow White as a character is highly symbolic of purity, innocence, and love. Third, though Snow White’s contemporary character has morphed into that of a capable female, the symbols which permeate the character still remain true (in my opinion with the addition of strength).
From 1812-1820, London newspapers published articles and advertisements describing many things as “snow white.” The papers talked about how to “turn sugar into snow-white powder,” and how “summits alone were snow-white.” They also described the “colour from the snow-white Limestone,” snow white doves, snow white hands, snow white dust, snow white culinary salt, snow white pages of books, parties decorated with snow white favors, snow white chenille, snow white palfrey bead, and snow white sheep. I think that since the phrase was used commonly to describe things that were pure or beautiful, the Brothers Grimm borrowed the phrase in creating the Snow White character. By 1820, there is evidence of the phrase snow white being connected to innocence.
Tickets for Snow White and the Huntsman
opening on Friday night (6.1.2012)
In some historical versions of the tale, the Queen orders a huntsman to kill Snow White and return with one of her organs as proof. There are often different organs requested from the huntsman as proof of Snow’s death. Most say her heart (yes— so very symbolic), but there are apparently some which call for the delivery of her lungs, or liver. In some versions, the Queen eats these organs though she does not realize they are not actually from Snow White, but other animals. Once the Queen’s mirror tells her that Snow is still alive, she visits the cottage where Snow is living with the dwarfs. On her visit she “laces” Snow White up, and makes her faint. It was interesting that I found some early advertisements in newspapers which featured corsets during what was called a “Snow White Sale.” Yikes- look at that waist!
1908- San Antonio Newspaper Ad
There are still other symbols to explore as part of this tale, like the poisoned comb, the poisoned apple, the magic mirror, the glass coffin, the evil queen, the brave and captivating prince, and of course the magic kiss. Since this classic has been analyzed and re-analyzed over and over again, I will provide my symbolic breakdown with a focus on the new film. I will write something this weekend once I can report my findings. Popcorn, a double flavor Icee, Ravens (my bird sign), intricate weapons, and heart stopping gazes! I can’t wait!!!