Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BGC Reflection

Spending time at the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster this semester was a very fun and culminating experience. I enjoyed spending time with the kids and teaching them about different fairy tales. Although there were some challenges, the Boys and Girls Club service learning project was successful and fun experience for not only me, but the rest of my group members as well.
            Although I did a service learning project instead of a final exam, I learned a lot. Actually working with kids, teaching them, and learning how they function has taught me a lot more than just sitting down and studying for a test would have. I actually had to be a teacher for four weeks. I prepared lesson plans and activities with my group, which actually was not a very easy task. My group learned very early on that teaching the kids like they were in school was not going to work. We went to the Boys and Girls Club on Friday afternoons. It was clear that the kids were full of energy and eager go home for the weekend after being in school for a week. The kids did not like the “traditional” lesson plans, and actually complained at times that “this is just like school.” So after our first time with the kids, we added more learning activities into our lessons so that we could keep the kids entertained. More activities kept the kids active, occupied, and attentive, which is exactly how we needed them to be.
            There were also some other obstacles like the kids fighting with each other over different things. For example, the first time we worked with the kids we did activities based around the story Little Red Riding Hood. As a prop, we brought a red cape with a hood so that the kids could use it to dress up when we asked them to act out the story. As it turns out, that was not as good of as idea as we originally thought. The kids ended up fighting over who was going to wear the cape and when and for how long. It was very hard to get them to pay attention to anything else but the cape. Another time we did a lesson about Hansel and Gretel. We brought pictures that when put in order told the story and had them arrange the pictures as an activity. It took forever to get them to do the activity that we had planned because all the kids could focus on was who was going to go first, and who was right and who was wrong.
            If I were giving advice to new first year students doing a project at the Boys and Girls Club, I would definitely stress that they have good plans with good activities, but also have backup lessons and activities just in case things don’t work out as they originally planned. Sometimes if a lesson backfires you find yourself wasting time trying to come up with random lessons or games on the spot. That can be pretty hard especially when you have 5-7 kids bouncing around. Also, use your time wisely. Try not to waste time on things that the kids won’t enjoy very much. The experience becomes so much better when you can actually enjoy the activities with the kids and see that they are enjoying them as well. Have fun with the kids, let them color, and give them treats. (:njjju
            I would definitely do this project again if I had the chance to. I had a lot of fun taking a break from my campus responsibilities and working with kids. I think I enjoyed the coloring activities just as much as they did. There are very few things that I would change or improve. If doing something like this again I would just make sure to always do things that the kids will enjoy. It is hard to keep the kids engaged if you don’t teach in a way that will keep them attentive. If the kids are bored, you are to. Other than that, the time I spent at the Boys and Girls Club was very enjoyable and successful.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The End is Near...

     I have really enjoyed my time in this First Year Seminar class this Semester. Who would have thought that a class with the name From Grimm to Disney could actually teach me so much? I have looked at fairy tales and stories that I grew up reading in a completely new light. There are things that I notice when reading these stories now that I would never have guessed would have had anything to do with the story before. Being in this class has made me a better reader. My analytic skills have become better, and I now read to learn. I can now actually take more than just a story away from a story; I can point out symbols, and lessons. I also really enjoyed the project with the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster. Working with the kids was really fun. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let me bungee jump from your hair....

I chose this cartoon because I thought it was really funny. The idea of Rapunzel using her hair to do fun things with the prince instead of just letting him climb up it to get inside of the tower really amused me. I would definitely have to say that this cartoon is very similar to the Disney version “Tangled.” In the movie, Rapunzel does a lot of cool things with her hair. She does things like tie the Prince to a chair and when they escape she swings from trees and things like that. The fact that the prince is bungee jumping from Rapunzel’s hair reminds me of some of the things Rapunzel did in the movie.

Bluebeard, Bluebeard, Bluebeard

The three versions of Bluebeard, although very similar, were also very different as well. They all have a male character that is looking for a wife. In all the tales he has to either bribe or steal the girls in order to get them to marry him. He has a house that has many room all filled with riches, and then a secret room that he forbids his wife from going into. In each of the stories the wife disobeys him and when she enters the room she finds dead bodies and blood. Once finding out that his wife disobeyed him, he tells her that she must die. Each version of the story ends in a different way, but in all of the stories the wife survives by outsmarting her husband or finding a way to receive help. All of the Bluebeard stories show the excessive desire for knowledge by women.  My favorite of all the versions would have to be “Fitcher’s Bird.” This version is my favorite because of the way the wife outsmarts the sorcerer by putting her sisters in the basket along with the gold

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Frog King and Cupid and Psyche

           The Frog King and Cupid and Psyche are similar in a few ways. The Frog King is about a princess who promises a frog that she will be his companion and playmate if he retrieves her gold ball out of the well. The frog retrieves the ball for her, but the princess runs off and leaves the frog at the well. The next day, the frog appears at her house. Once the princesses’ father found out about the promise that his daughter had made, he makes her keep it. Once in bed, the princess becomes infuriated with the frog and she throws him up against a wall. Upon hitting the ground the frog turns into a prince and they get married.
            In Cupid and Psyche Venus becomes jealous of a beautiful mortal girl and she sends her son Cupid to punish her. But Cupid falls in love with Psyche. At the end of the story, Psyche becomes immortal and she can now be with Cupid forever.
            The Frog King and Cupid and Psyche are similar in that in both stories the main character is the youngest daughter and also the most beautiful. In both stories the girl marries someone that no one else wants because their true identity is masked.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

     The cartoon that I chose is a social one. It shows the wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Little Red Cap” lying on a chair in a psychiatrist’s office. The caption reads “I understand your motive for eating the grandmother, but why did you feel you needed to dress up in her clothes?” I chose this cartoon in particular, not only because it is funny, but also because it made me think of one of the presentations from class. The presentation talked about Perrault’s view of the wolf. In the presentation, I learned that the wolf actually wants to explore the feminine mysteries of fertility and that is why he eats Little Red and the grandmother. Because of what I learned in the presentation, I also think that the reason that the wolf dressed up in the grandmother’s clothes was because he wanted to explore the feminine mysteries. Because of this prior knowledge, I was able to answer the question of why the wolf dressed in the grandmother’s clothes in my head.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Snow White (Grimm vs. Anne Sexton)

            The Grimm version of Snow White and the Anne Sexton version are different in many ways. For one, the Grimm version is a lot less sexual than Anne Sexton’s version is.  Sexton includes a lot of sexual insinuations throughout her poem. When Snow White is wandering through the woods she implies her “sexual awakening” when she writes “At each turn there were twenty doorways and at each stood a hungry wolf, his tongue lolling out like a worm” (Sexton 97). Another sexual insinuation is when she refers to the dwarfs as “those little hot dogs” (Sexton 98). Another difference between the two versions is the way that Anne Sexton infuses pop culture into her poem. She mentions things like Ace bandages, daisies, and soda pop. Also, Anne gives a time when the prince comes. She writes that the price comes in June, which is not only a transitional month, but it also represents beauty. In the Grimm fairy tales the stories are usually timeless.
            Although different, there is one main similarity between the two versions that I would like to point out. In both versions, Snow White did not learn from her mistakes. Because of the Zeitgeist, Snow White has to be a passive character. She repeatedly let the Queen fool her with ribbons, combs, and finally with the apple that put her into a death like slumber.
            In my opinion, the Anne Sexton version is better. I like how she includes things that make you thing and how she refers to pop culture. I think the poem was a lot more interesting than the Grimm version.

Snow White (Disney vs. Grimm)

The Brothers Grimm version of Snow White is very different from the Disney version in many ways. The Grimm version was very graphic and less romantic than the Disney version. For example, the evil Queen asks the Huntsman to bring back Snow White’s lungs and liver when he kills her so she can eat them. In Disney’s version she just asks the Huntsman to kill Snow White. Another difference is the way that Snow White awakens. In the Grimm version the prince sees her for the first time asleep and falls in love with her and asks the dwarfs to give him the coffin as a gift because he “can’t go on without seeing her face. On the way to his castle one of his men carrying the coffin stumbles and the piece of poison apple in Snow White’s throat is released and she wakes up. It is much more romantic in Disney’s version. In the Disney version, the prince comes back and finds Snow White asleep. He awakens her with true love’s first kiss.
Even though the versions were very different, they still had many similarities. In both versions the evil Queen relied on her magic mirror to tell her who was the fairest of them all. Also, in both versions the Queen gives Snow White a poison apple. The dwarfs then place her in a coffin and stay by her side.
There are a few reasons that Disney made the changes he did. One was that since the movie is for younger audiences, so he needed to take out the graphic parts. Also, Snow White came out during the Great Depression, a time when people needed hope, not sadness in their lives. Disney added the romantic and hopeful ending because it was exactly what the people of the Great Depression needed. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From Rags to Riches....

The motif of “rags to riches through magic and marriage” is one that we see in the fairy tale Cinderella. Because of this motif, Cinderella is considered to be a “rise tale.” In this fairy tale, Cinderella goes from being a very poor servant girl under the control of her stepmother to marrying a prince. Although we see this type of motif a lot in fairy tales, for it to happen in real life is very unrealistic. It is not often that you see someone as poor as Cinderella was marrying someone as wealthy as the prince was. The only modern day example I can think of that could be considered a “rags to riches” tale would be the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In England, Kate was considered to be a peasant. Although she may not have been very wealthy, she ended up marrying a prince and having her own Fairy Tale wedding. Even though things like this happen sometimes, we don’t hear about it very often. In my opinion, the “rags to riches” motif gives girls false hopes. We read these tails and we think about how someday we will find our Prince Charming, marry him, and become wealthy. But because this rarely ever happens in our society, most of the times girls get their hopes up for nothing. The only way we will be able to have a life like the one that Cinderella married into is by luck or magic. Magic does not exist, and luck is usually not on your side; unless you are Kate Middleton of course!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grimm vs. MGM

Although the Grimm version of Hansel and Gretel and the MGM version are very similar, they have a number of differences as well. In the Grimm version, it is the children’s stepmother that sends the children into the forest whereas in the movie it is the biological mother. Another difference is the way the children end up in the woods in the first place. In the story, the stepmother wants to send the children into the woods so that there will be enough food for her to eat. In the movie, the children accidently let the donkey into the house. The donkey eats the custard off of the table and breaks the container of milk. When the mother returns and sees what happens, she sends the children off to find berries. While trying to find berries, the children wander into the woods. Also, in both versions, Hansel leaves a trail to follows so that later they will be able to find their way home. One other difference is the trail that Hansel leaves so that they can follow it back home. In the story, Hansel uses this method on two occasions. The first time he uses stones and the second time he uses pieces of bread. In the movie, Hansel only uses the method one time. When he does, instead of bread he uses the cookie crumbs that the baker gave to Gretel.
Like I mentioned before, there are some similarities between the Grimm version and the MGM version. In both versions, the children stumble upon a gingerbread house. Inside the gingerbread house there is a witch that cannot see very well, but has a very keen sense of smell. In each story, the witch puts Hansel in a cage because she wants to fatten him up to eat him. She also makes Gretel her slave. In the end, though, the children outsmart the witch and she ends up cooking in an oven.
In my opinion, the movie was better that the story. I liked the movie better because although the mother was really mean to Hansel and Gretel, there were still moments when you saw that she really cared. When reading the story, I felt like the mother didn’t care about her children at all. I also liked how in the movie, the first nigh the children stay at the gingerbread house, the witch is reading them the story of Briar Rose. I thought it was really cool how they incorporated the Grimm tales into the movie.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fairy Tales...

Over the years, there has been much debate over what exactly a fairy tale is and should consist of. According to Zipes, fairy tales are “Narratives of magic and fantasy, which are understood to be fictional.”  According to Stith Thompson, a fairy tale is a “tale of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes” and that they are “filled with the marvelous.” There are so many things that come into play when defining fairy tales. One important aspect of fairy tales is “Zeitgeist,” which is the spirit of the times. Most fairy tales contained things that may have been acceptable back then, but seem kind of unacceptable now. Another important thing is the style of fairy tales. They are usually told in few well-chosen words that just describes the series of events. They also have a preference for action instead of long descriptions. Fairy tales also have a hero versus villain plot line. Like we saw in the story “Briar Rose” or “Sleeping Beauty” the 13th witch and maleficent were portrayed as the villain. Their main goal was to wreak havoc.  The prince was portrayed as the hero because in both Briar Rose and Sleeping Beauty he saves the princess. Fairy tales also contain the aspect of magic. In these stories we see witches, warlocks, fairies, goblins, dragons, and other magical and mystical beings. Lastly, fairy tales almost always have a moral. Morals teach lessons and also are very closely linked with the children that usually read fairy tales. Morals teach children how to overcome obstacles and they also present situations that are easy to relate to.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Fairy Tales?

I remember being a child and loving the Disney movies. I am sure I had almost every movie on VHS, and I was always watching them. I loved to pretend that I was one of the characters from the movies I would watch. Still to this day I am a huge Disney fan.

I chose From Grimm to Disney as my FYS not only because I love Disney movies, but also because I am very interested in the Grimm fairy tales. Fairy tales fascinate me and I am excited to learn about the stories that the movies I grew up watching originated from. I love the nature of the stories, and the sense of wonder that they bring. In this class I hope to better understand the fairy tales that I have become so fascinated with. I also want to enhance my analytical skills so that I will be able to recognize things that I may not have noticed before.

I would have to say that my favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I have always been somewhat of a “hopeless romantic” and I am always up for a good love story. I love how Beauty and the Beast is not just a story, but a lesson as well. Things are not always what they seem. There is more to someone than what is seen from the outside. It is what on the inside that counts. I love that even though the Beast was aggressive and unattractive, Belle was able to see past that and fall in love.