Date of Thesis

5-9-2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Comparative Humanities

First Advisor

John Hunter

Abstract

In my thesis I use a historical approach to close readings of fairy tale texts and movies to study the evolution of fathers, daughters, and marriage within three landmark tales: ¿Cinderella,¿ ¿Sleeping Beauty,¿ and ¿Snow White.¿ Using the works of Giambattista Basile, Charles Perrault, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, and Walt Disney and his cohort of animators, I trace the historical trajectory of these three elements, analyzing both the ways they change and develop as history progresses as well as the ways they remain consistent. Through close and comparative readings of primary sources and films, I demonstrate the power structures and familial dynamics evident through the interactions of fathers and daughters. Specifically, I show that through the weakness and ineptitude of fairy tale fathers, fairy tale daughters are able to gain power, authority, and autonomy by using magic and marriage to navigate patriarchal systems. The work I have done is important because it explores how each tale is a product of the story before it and thus that in order for these tales to continue to survive the test of time, we must not only recognize the validity of the academic merit of the Disney stories, but also remember them and others as we forge new paths in the stories we use to teach both children and parents. Specifically, this work is important because it explores the historical trend evident in the evolving relationships between fathers and daughters. This relationship ultimately it reveals the deep underlying need for family within all of us.

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