Leaving Prince Charming Behind Karlo Mila
Do now: • Write down all the fairy tales you know that feature love stories • What stereotypes about men, women and love do these stories present?
Fairy Tale allusions in the poem • “living the fairy tale” “the myth” • “happily ever after” • “princess” • “Rapunzel” “the tower” • “cursing your name” • “poison apple” “mirrors on the wall” • “glass slipper” “red blood” “white cloth” • “mirrors on the wall” • “prince on your gallant white horse” • “shoe” “kiss” • “dragon… you felt honour bound to slay”
4. Stereotypes • The stereotypical fairy tale princess is pretty, submissive, obedient, weak and passive. She is often imprisoned and helpless, waiting for the prince to rescue her. She is dependent on males. • . Mila shows she wishes to challenge these stereotypes. She describes herself as “not believing in glass slipper redemption” – that is, not believing that she needs to wait for a man like Prince Charming to rescue / marry her
Reversal of stereotypes in the poem • She also says “I transformed myself into a beautiful dragon” – a creature that is not weak or soft, but fierce, fiery and powerful. This shows she refuses to play the passive female. • By describing herself as “Rapunzel with her dreadlocks shorn” she presents herself as a very different sort of heroine. By having dreadlocks she rejects the long blonde hair typical of princesses, and opts for a look associated with women with a strong identity. The fact that they are shorn shows she isn’t waiting for a man to “rescue” her.
Connotations • 5. “I believed you the architect of my isolation” – the connotations of this phrase are…. • 6. “glass slipper redemption” = allusion / metaphor
Imagery • “I worked my own midnight magic for all it was worth / red blood , white cloth, mirrors on the wall” • By using active verbs (“I worked..) she emphasises that she tried hard to make the relationship work but to no avail. • The image of the mirror suggests she had to find her own self worth. • The imagery of “Red blood, white cloth” suggests violence / death (her pain? Sacrifice?) – such as in stories like Snow White where the evil queen tries to kill Snow White. • “Midnight magic” – refers to Cinderella where the magic transformation ends at midnight. • This imagery is also linked to the line “the poison apple was lodged firmly in my throat”- which shows she was metaphorically ‘choking’ in the relationship.
The author: Karlo Mila • Karlo Mila is of Tongan / Samoan / Palagi descent • What does ‘Leaving Prince Charming’ tell us about her attitudes? • http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/pasifika/mila3.asp
LEAVING PRINCE CHARMING BEHIND THIS IS LOVE Comparison between Karlo Mila’s poems