Gender Studies I
EN2011 – Fall 2010 – Terry Goldie
Lecture 3 – Sept 30
- Marchen (Germany) – means wonder-tales, things that are magic.
- Called wonder-tales instead of fairy tales because they don’t have fairies in them,
they have magic and often animal transformations.
- They are folk-tales (a special branch that has wonder and transformation).
- What makes a folk tale?
Not about what they say but rather how they work.
o An oral tradition
Why an oral tradition?
• The people were not literate.
• The oral form is the form of tradition that goes through a
• Oral is what makes a folktale.
• You can write it down but you have to have an oral story.
• Primarily told by the story teller of the community: kind of like
an authoritative figure.
• Oral has greater presence and greater truth.
• Room for variation and change that leads to a certain kind of
• As culture develops it says ‘yeah we agree with that’ or ‘no
we don’t agree with that’ and certain elements of the story
are kept and other elements are dropped.
- It’s possible that these tales appear in different cultures because it’s tales that
people create no matter where they are.
- It’s possible that Cinderella turns up in different forms because the human nature
- The fear that we all have of losing our family (i.e. losing our mother).
- Blood relations are good and non-blood relations are bad.
- The most common blood relation is the mother and the most common non-blood
relation is the step mother.
- What the folktale does has a strong morality, but they tell you that out there, there
is a really dangerous world and those weird things that happen are directly
reflecting in your real life.
- Fear of the dark – a memory that tells you that the dark is dangerous; i.e. in fairy-
tales – beauty and the beast – there may be wolves.
- When it comes to our understanding of what stories are we usually reflect to
- One of the places we usually end up in is psychology and we will usually explain
a folktale explaining psychology and sometimes we will explain psychology using
a folktale. - Peter Pan is an example of a folk figure called the Puer Aeternus (the eternal
boy); when Peter Pan was written he was simple taken a character that was
- Peter Pan syndrome – the kids that do not want to grow up; Males not growing
up. The men who want to watch football on TV instead of taking out the garbage,
the men who won’t do the dishes because they are too busy playing poker.
- Alternative to Peter Pan – Wendy, she is the mother figure – she looks after the
young boys. At the age of 12 she is in charge of the household, she is already
domesticated; she mends clothes and makes sure she grows up.
- The woman behaves a certain way and the man behaves a certain way. What
you’re doing is using a fairy tale model to explain the psychology of life.
- The reason the stories become uniform in a narrative proses that doesn’t change
is because it so reflects our experience of humanity that it has to be that way.
- That Cinderella can’t have a step mother that is nice to her, and she can’t have
- That sense in which somehow or another cultural truths are maintained.
The Story of the Bloody Chamber
- 6 things in the bloody chamber related to the Bloody Chamber or gender:
o The keys
When he handed them to her, she knew she was tested; her
curiosity was tested to open the closet.
‘Well he knew this was going to happen.’
o The female in the bloody chamber does not have a name and is treated as
Paragraph 1 – About marriage and becoming a woman and sexual
imagery. The distance is between chil