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Anthropomorphism in European Fairy Tales

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    Slide 1:Anthropomorphism in European Fairy Tales

    A Study of Four Animals

    Slide 2:Outline

    Introduction Part I. The lion Part II. The cat Part III. The wolf Part IV. The fox Conclusion References

    Slide 3:Introduction

    Fables, fairy tales and modern children stories tend to educate people by using a witty style and by offering a moral lesson to the reader. Anthropomorphized animals in these stories are portraits of human beings. They depict the passions and vices of men. Here is a short presentation of four animals portrayed in European stories for children: the lion, the cat, the wolf, and the fox.

    Slide 4:Part I. The lion

    Lions are recurring symbols in the coat of arms of royalty and chivalry. In The Fox and the Lion by Aesop (620~560 BC), the lion is called the king of beasts. In this story, the lion is nice, polite and distinguished; for his kindness, he is treated with disrespect by a fox; the author concludes that familiarity breeds contempt . In The Sick Lion, the lion is once again represented as the king of animals. But this time, he is sick and about to die.

    Slide 5:Part I. The lion

    When the lion becomes weak and old, all the animals seek revenge on him, even the ass. Aesop concludes that only cowards insult dying majesty. La Fontaine (1621-1695), in The Animals Stricken with the Plague, criticizes Louis XIV and his court. The plague has been sent by God to punish crimes committed in the country; the lion king invites all the animals to make a public confession. The lion is forgiven for his crimes by a complaisant court, while the ass sees his minor tort become a criminal offense. La Fontaine concludes that depending on your social height, the law will see your crime as black-or else as white.

    Slide 6:The Animals Stricken with the Plague, La Fontaine

    Slide 7:Part II. The cat

    In Puss in Boots The French fairy tale called Le Chat bott was published at the end of the 17th century by Charles Perrault (1628-1703). It is a strange story: a cat, in order to help his master, cheats, lies, kills other animals, threatens people, kills the owner of a castle, and finally steals his property. The two only justifications for his terrible behavior are that he serves his master and kills an ugly and stupid ogre.

    Slide 8:Part II. The cat

    In Pinocchio The cat is one of the most interesting and the most dangerous animals met by Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi, 1883). The cat is a liar, a cheater, and a violent creature. With his friend the fox, he tries to steal Pinocchios money. Disguised as the assassins, they beat him and hang him to the branch of a big oak. He is also funny as he represents a certain type of character in the Italian Commedia dell'Arte.

    Slide 9:Puss in Boots (illustration by Gustave Dor)

    Slide 10:In The Wolf and the Lamb Aesop depicts the wolf as vicious. He tries to convince the lamb that it is his fault if the wolf has to punish him and eat him. When the wolf cant find a good excuse to eat the lamb, he just does saying: I won't remain supper less, even though you refute every one of my imputations. Aesop considers in this story that the wolf symbolizes ruthless and cruel tyrants who always find a pretext to obtain what they want.

    Part III. The wolf

    Slide 11:Part III. The wolf

    In Little Red In the French story written by Perrault, the wolf wins and the little girl and her grand-mother die In the version written by the Grimm brothers, Little Red Cap, they are saved and the wolf dies The wolf is depicted as smart. He plays tricks like the fox but looks much more frightening The wolf represents all the vicious instincts of men: he is a womanizer, attractive and dangerous He seduces young and innocent girls and brings to them and to their family shame and dishonor

    Slide 12:Little Red Riding Hood (illustration by Gustave Dor)

    Slide 13:Part IV. The fox

    In Pinocchio The fox is smart, but he is a liar and a thief. He will do anything to steal Pinocchios money. At one point, Pinocchio is beaten and hung. His look and his behavior make him funny: he speaks like a gentleman, but looks like a tramp. He convinces the puppet to bury his pieces of gold in the ground, at the Field of Wonders. He makes Pinocchio believe that after a while, he will find a tree loaded with gold pieces.

    Slide 14:In the Little Prince Saint-Exupry (1900-1944) published the story in 1943. The Little Prince is now one of the most famous books for children ever written. The fox is represented as cute, smart and wise. He appears in chapter 21 where he explains to the little boy the meaning of love and friendship. The fox tells the prince his secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

    Part IV. The fox

    Slide 15:The cat and the fox, La Fontaine

    Slide 16:Conclusion

    Anthropomorphized animals are used to portray stereotypical human characters The lion has always been associated with majesty and nobility; people love this symbol of power and grandeur, even if lions sleep around 20 hours a day During the Middle Ages, the cat was associated with witches and with the devil. Even if the cat in Puss in Boots is trying to help his master, he spreads lies and threatens people. He is clearly a ruthless killer.

    Slide 17:Conclusion

    The big bad wolf is famous from fairy tales like Little Red and from fables written by Aesop and La Fontaine. The wolf is evil, vicious, rapacious, and cruel. He is a bloodthirsty killer. No wonder why he has been persecuted for centuries. The fox too was considered as a demonic creature, cunning and vicious. Before the publication of the Little Prince, the fox was a liar and a cheater, always ready to fool nave people and to flatter the powerful.

    Slide 18:References

    Books Les Contes de Perrault, dessins par Gustave Dore. Paris: J. Hetzel, 1867 Joseph Jacobs, the Fables of Aesop (New York: Schocken Books, 1966) Saint-Exupry Antoine de, Le Petit Prince, Gallimard, Paris, 1998, 123 pages

    Slide 19:References

    Online http://www.surlalunefairytales.com http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/dore http://www.lafontaine.net http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/youth/classic/TheAdventuresofPinocchio/toc.html http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2004/danceswithwolves.asp

    Slide 20:Thank you