Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cinderella and Jane Eyre Analyzation (Part 3 I suppose)

"You are a collector?" she asked, examining each hourglass. Some were gold, brass, silver, ivory even. They had different-colored sands in each. He replied, "As I said to you, I keep track of my favors. These contain the remaining times of those who owe debts to me...which they are paying back with time spent in my service."

"I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return." ~Philippians 1:9-10~

Has anyone ever read the book, Jane Eyre?  Has anyone noticed how similar it is to Cinderella's story?  "Do be careful" (Wendy from Peter Pan, hint hint future post) though, for there are spoilers here for Jane's story.   
Both orphans, brought up by people who despised them.
Both stories are rags to riches tales.
Cinderella and Jane Eyre both disguise themselves to keep safe.
Both were shunned pretty much, and both were poor, and both were heiresses.
Both of their hearts were broken, Cinderella by the death of her mother, Jane by the death of her only friend.
Both worked hard.  I'll mention this later in the post.
Both had help.  Jane was given comfort and encouragement from the angel-like fellow school girl Helen, who later died, and a teacher.  Cinderella of course was given help from a fairy Godmother in some versions, a red fish in others, an ox in another, a tree in the Grim brothers' version that she watered with her tears (sound like Rapunzel a little?  Life-giving tears).
Both stories are love stories.
Both have uses of birds for symbolism.  A bird freed from a cage. 
Both Cinderella and Jane Eyre fell in love with the first young man they had ever really met in their lives who was civil to them, and they both never really knew much about men.

Now I will begin to separate the tales.
Jane Eyre is not a love at first sight story.
Cinderella cries a lot in the tale.
So does Jane, but Jane has a fierceness about her, a passion to live independent.
Cinderella doesn't do anything against the people who were mean to her.
Jane on the other hand fought back.  She fought for justice.
In Cinderella, I feel like they make it seem that working and doing chores is LOW, not something we should be doing.  Just an opinion though, I could be wrong.
But Jane feels no shame about working.  She wants to live independently and must make a living of some sort.
While Cinderella does little else but work and run away to the ball and leave late (or early if you look at it from the Prince's point of view), Jane makes a big decision that breaks her own heart but she knows it's for the best, and it turns out better in the end.
Cinderella was loved for her physical beauty (though in fairy tales it sometimes is presented like the outward appearance represents the heart).
Jane Eyre was loved because she was plain, not pretty, and her beauty was on the inside.  Cinderella fell in love because he was hansom.
Jane fell in love not because he was hansom (well, perhaps but she keeps that a secret from us).
HE ASKS HER HIMSELF, "Do you think me hansom?"  When we were watching the movie at the movie theater 2011, we heard a young lady in the audience say, "Yes!"  we all laughed.  But Jane said, "No."  Mr. Rochester is very surprised by her bluntness, her honesty.  "Beauty is of little consequence," she says.  It's one of the many reasons why I love the classic book/movie.
In the story of Cinderella, the goal is fulfilled when she marries the Prince.
But Jane's story goal is fulfilled when she becomes independent.  Marrying the one she loves was icing and a cherry on top of a cake.
But to bring the stories together again, perhaps Jane Eyre drew me in because the tone felt like the true Cinderella story, a more realistic one, unconsciously at the time.  When I picked the old book up off my librarian sister's shelf when I was twelve or thirteen, I knew nothing of the story but what the preface told me: an orphan girl.  It was very special for me because it was probably the first old book I read (though I read it in a year's time in between other books, But.  It was seven hundred pages long (with bigger print though)) that was written in the 1800s. 
 Stories of orphans have always intrigued me.  I don't know why.  And so my adventure began and I was swept off my feet and gripped and torn and healed along with Jane.  I was to be very proud of myself when I finally finished it.  In the end I was very much changed, I believe.  For stories do change the world.  Ideas have consequences.  Words do kill and heal.
Thanks for looking closer at these two complex webs with me!
What do you think of the two stories?  What do you think brings them together or separates them?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Books to Read

 We would spend all of our time together...
"It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud." ~Ecclesiastes 7:8~

I finished reading Do Hard Things and the Book of Three -- one nonfiction, one fantasy -- and both were very good.  The Book of Three is the first book in a series that a cartoon movie -- the Black Cauldron -- is based off of.  I had watched the Black Cauldron years ago and it kept pretty closely to the book, I found as I got into it.  I enjoyed it.
Soon I really really want to get into Jane Austen.  At the same time though, I have three big books to finish.

1.  Les Miserables -- yes I'm still reading it... but I finally got someplace!  So that's good... -- which is a thousand pages

2.  Winter's Tale (because two of my favorite authors both gave it five stars out of five on Goodreads and at least one of them doesn't give five stars to Just  any book.  Also, they're making it into a movie that is coming out on Valentines Day next year, 2014, and there isn't a trailer out for it yet.) which is about 700 pages long

3.  The Book Thief -- which I've heard is really good by many, and many people have warned me to have a whole box of tissue ready by my side whenever I read it because it's really sad.  Also, they're making a movie for it also.  Here's the trailer:  -- the book is about five hundred pages.

And then I also need to finish reading Tess of the Durbervilles, which is really sad too...  and I must warn you, quite dark, shocking issues are in it (not so much violence as something else).  Then I need to finish...  all the other twenty books I've begun.  *sigh*
One book at a time.  One book at a time.  I'll probably finish the Book Thief first because it's got holds on it from others who want to read it after me and I don't want to return it late.  Then... maybe Winter's Tale, and then Les Mis if I can keep at it with perseverance.

By the way, I've realized there's still more to talk about in the tale of Cinderella!  So that may be coming up some time.  Do you have any favorite re-tellings of the story, or a favorite story that's similar?  One reason why I want to read Sense and Sensibility is because the beginning is a little like the beginning to Cinderella.  Not very much, but somewhat. 
I recently read a version of the story called Twelve Months, which is only a few pages long, in which the stepmother and stepsister force Cinderella to go on a long journey up into the snowy mountain in winter to fetch them flowers, strawberries, and then apples.  But of course, one can't find these things in the winter, but they threaten to kill her if she doesn't bring any back!  She gets lost in the wood, but sees a light in the distance.  Cinderella (who has a different name in this tale) follows it to a bonfire around which are twelve wizardly men who represent the twelve months of the year.  I thought this very interesting because of the number twelve, and the time.  Here's a link to the story here:

So, what books are you reading (for school or outside)?  Have you heard of the ones listed here?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Analyzation of Cinderella Part 2

 Cinderella, by Warwick Goble
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

~Psalms 30:11-12~

Here it is: my analyzing of the story Cinderella.  There are so many ways to look at it allegorically. One of the reasons why I love it is because of her beautiful transformation.
I'll explain later in this post and save the best for last.

The number 12 is the number of completion.  The hour when the past day has lost its power and a new day has begun.  It's a big turning point in time, between sunset and sunrise, the darkest hour of the night.
Many things happened at midnight in the Bible.
Esther became Queen out of a large selection of "beautiful young women" who were brought before the King, regardless of whether they wanted to come or not.  The story of Esther reminds me of a fairy tale, the way the book is laid out.  Esther means Star.  Cinderella in the actual story once had a dress "as bright as the stars."
Boaz woke up at Midnight to find Ruth proposing to him (by laying on his feet).  God did many things at Midnight.
I don't know what the point of that observation is, but if you think of something, do tell!
Danielle Davis // Design & Illustration

Moving on...

The Ashes

Cinderella has many different names, different variations of the story because it's so popular.  Most of her titles have something to do with ashes.  The Cinder Maid, Aschenputtel (that's the German name), Cendrillon (French) are a few of those names.  Cinders are the ashes in a fireplace.  In the Grimm's fairy tale, Cinderella has no bed to sleep in but in the ashes by the fireplace in the kitchen.  

The reason why the ashes are so important to the story is because they resemble the fact that Cinderella is in mourning, both for herself and for her dead mother.
In the book of Esther, Mordacai clothes himself in rags and puts burnt ashes on his head when he's in mourning.  Many people do this when they mourn in the Bible.
And the reason why this is interesting is because of Cinderella's transformation from rags to riches, mourning to dancing, from sorrow to joy in the presence of the Prince.  She came from the ashes into a beautiful palace.

Now I'll get into at least two different ways to see the Cinderella story allegorically.
Jesus is a Prince, who chose us, even though we were covered in ashes and sin.  He loved us so much.  That's why He chose us to be his Bride.
In the story, the Prince chose Cinderella, even though she came from a place where she was ill-treated, and in a low position.  Of course, it depends on what version you read, whether or not the Prince ever found out that she slept in the ashes every night, but you get the idea.

The second way to see it is that God made Israel his bride but Israel kept betraying him.  He sent His son to the earth to be a servant, to save.  Jesus is the Prince who became a servant for all of us, very low but selfless.  Some didn't know who he was, and others wouldn't believe him.  Still others did believe.  Then they killed him and his dead body disappeared early in the morning on the third day, leaving nothing behind but the cloth that had been wrapped around him.
He appeared to people and had to prove it to them that it was really him, for some still didn't believe.  He showed them the nail piercings in his hands and the scar in his side.
In the story, Cinderella was a daughter of a man who was high in society.  In some versions, he was a "rich merchant.  In other versions he was a Duke, and in one or two versions he was a King, which made Cinderella an actual Princess.  When he remarried, Cinderella became a lowly servant to her stepsisters.  They were jealous of her beauty but covered that up with their mean actions.  Cinderella found a way to go to the ball, but at midnight she fled, leaving behind only a glass slipper.

And here is another way to see the story.  We prove we are the Bride of Christ because of our faith, our hope in Jesus.  Cinderella proved she was the maiden at the ball because of a glass slipper.  She had held in secret the other glass slipper which had remained, the last bit of hope that she might ever become a princess.

Another thing is that the ashes and the rags the Cinder Maid slept in by night could be called a curse as depression could be called a curse.  But it was broken, shattered in the light of pure joy, if only for one night.  

This is why there is one version of Cinderella that I absolutely LOVE.  It is a Japanese Anime which I watched all of it on Youtube a few weeks ago.  It's called Cinderella Monogatari and it's 26 episodes long and I love how the story is retold so uniquely yet staying true to the tale.  I highly recommend it.  It begins far before the ball and the ball happens in the 24th episode.  The last five episodes are so good, I cried in amazement of all the emotions it was giving me.
In some versions of the story, the "ball" was called a wedding.  In other versions, it was an actual church on a Sunday morning.
So that's it I think, on my analyzation of Cinderella.  Check out Cinderella Monogatari!  Yes, it is a cartoon (26 episodes), but it's so good.  It's my favorite anime, and it made me want to dig into the story of Cinderella in the first place!  This was the first episode I saw (part 1 and part 2 of episode 22), then I went back and watched the rest in order.  

So, do you have any observations of the tale yourself?  I'd love to read your thoughts!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Betwixt and Between: Quite a few Thoughts

 quill pen prose
“... It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”
~Matthew 12:34-37~ The Message version
Thought I'd share this ^.  It's an interview with my favorite author, Jeffrey Overstreet (who's a Christian), about how he's retreating from work to go back into the joys of writing.  Plus he mentions what his up-coming stories are about!  Now I'm really excited to see what he comes up with, and am praying that God blesses him.

Also, sort of mentioning something from the Cinderella post and tying it, I found another post that opened my eyes a bit more.  I shall post snippets from it here.  Doctor Who is mentioned and it's a long post, so I edited it some:
Writing about Doctor Who this week got me thinking about sexism in storytelling, and how we rely on lazy character creation in life just as we do in fiction. The Doctor has become the ultimate soulful brooding hero in need of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to save him from the vortex of self-pity usually brought on by the death, disappearance or alternate-universe-abandonment of the last girl. We cannot have the Doctor brooding. A planet might explode somewhere, or he might decide to use his powers for evil, or his bow-tie might need adjusting. The companions of the past three years, since the most recent series reboot, have been the ultimate in lazy sexist tropification, any attempt at actually creating interesting female characters replaced by... That Girl. 
River Song, interestingly enough, did not start out as That Girl, but the character was forcibly turned into That Girl when she no longer fit the temper of a series with contempt for powerful, interesting, grown-up women, and then discarded when she outgrew the role (‘Don’t let him see you age’ was River’s main piece of advice in the last season). ‘The Girl Who Waited’ is not a real person, and nor is ‘The Impossible Girl.’ Those are the titles of stories. They are stories that happen to other people. That’s what girls are supposed to be. 
Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else's. 
As a kid growing up with books and films and stories instead of friends, that was always the narrative injustice that upset me more than anything else. 

It's a feeling that hit when I understood how few girls got to go on adventures. 

Sure, there were tomboys and bad girls, but they were freaks and were usually killed off or married off quickly. Lady hobbits didn't bring the ring to Mordor. They stayed at home in the shire. 

Stories matter. Stories are how we make sense of the world, which doesn’t mean that those stories can’t be simplistic and full of lies. Stories can exaggerate and offend and they always, always matter.  
The only way we get to be in stories is to be stories ourselves. If we want anything interesting at all to happen to us we have to be a story that happens to somebody else, and when you’re a young girl looking for a script, there are a limited selection of roles to choose from.

...fiction creates real life, particularly for those of us who grow up immersed in it. Women behave in ways that they find sanctioned in stories written by men who know better, and men and women seek out friends and partners who remind them of a girl they met in a book one day when they were young and longing.

Part of the reason I’m writing this is that the MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl) trope isn’t properly explored, in any of the genres I read and watch and enjoy. She’s never a point-of-view character, and she isn’t understood from the inside. She’s one of those female tropes who is permitted precisely no interiority. Instead of a personality, she has eccentricities, a vaguely-offbeat favourite band, a funky fringe.

"Everybody is setting out to write a full character. It's just that some people are limited in their imagination of a girl.” [because sometimes men have a narrow view of females]
And yet something in me was rebelling against the idea of being a character in somebody else’s story. I wanted to write my own.  

Because the other thing about stories is that they end. The book closes, and you’re left with yourself, a grown woman with no more pieces of cultural detritus from which to construct a personality. I tried and failed to be a character in a story somebody else had written for me. What concerns me now is the creation of new narratives, the opening of space in the collective imagination for women who have not been permitted such space before, for women who don’t exist to please, to delight, to attract men, for women who have more on their(our) minds. Writing is a different kind of magic, and everyone knows what happens to women who do their own magic - but it’s a risk you have to take.


I've realized the different ideas put in here.  Abbey wrote a wonderful comment below reminding me that we can't be selfish.  A mother does sacrifice much because of love.  The person who wrote this post seems to be writing partially from a feministic point of view.  The idea of feminism is that women should be as strong as men in every way, and I think that's a little selfish.  That's not how we were made.  We can change the world like men can, but in different ways, for men and women were made with different specialties.
Sure we can't be quite as physically strong as men always, but men don't always know how to do everything we know how to do (like cooking great food, being gentle, having grace and poise, doing laundry, etc.).  Think of the differences between your parents.  What is something your mom can do better than your dad, and vice versa?  I suppose that's why a man and a woman build each-other up and have the perfect balance for parenting.  That's one of the reasons why homosexual marriage doesn't work.  It's either too masculine without a mother, or lacking a father figure, and this will only confuse a child even more as they grow up.
There was a feminist who couldn't understand how her mother was so happy and yet her mother Sacrificed so much for her children.  When she herself grew up she didn't want to sacrifice as much(that's one thing about feminism that's nonChrist-like), and I believe that's selfish.

It reminds me of the beginning.  Eve felt like she should be as strong or as wise as God when the devil tempted her (especially when the devil HIMSELF wanted to be as powerful as God when he fell).  I think it's happening again today in several ways.
*Edit over*

One thing that really stood out to me in this post was the fact that Fiction CREATES real life.  What we put in us comes out of our actions, even if it's a lie we've consumed.  So out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
What we write really will change the world.  In America, we're pretty much all consumers of entertainment, day in and day out.  Shouldn't we pay a bit more attention to the messages in what we're watching or reading (and forget the fact that we're also not paying attention to what's in the food we eat either.... literally).

I hope you weren't too bored, and here's a big sticker if you actually read all this!  *glitter sticker*
I feel like I could write forever on stuff. lol 
And my second part to analyze the story of Cinderella is still coming.
One of the reasons why I'm analyzing fairy stories is because I'm sort of rewriting fairy tales myself and want to capture their hearts and brighten them and make the most of the stories they can possibly be.  Analyzing what makes a fairy tale so wonderful makes me feel like I then have permission to rewrite the story.
A book I read last winter I now recommend to you: Finding God in Fairy Tales.  Each chapter talks about a different story and how it's allegoric, and it was very good.
Anyway, tell me your thoughts below!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Analyzation of Fairy Tales part 1

Lisa Keene - Glass Slipper
"This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated." ~Ecclesiastes 7:29~

There are many things I want to write about, and many things I'll be writing about in the future.  But the first I will talk about will be about fairy tales and passiveness.  The first story I'll talk about is of Cinderella. 

In the Disney version of Cinderella (which I always liked but others have pointed out its downfalls) which has been around for sixty years now, the Cinder Maid does nothing to propel the plot.  All she does is give in to her environment and work for those who force her to.  She's saved by none other than mice and a magical being (which does nothing to help real life Cinderellas).  She meets a cardboard cut-out prince who barely speaks and somehow they're in love because of physical looks.  This story doesn't really teach us much, except to dream and be virtuous, and do nothing else.
But remember this verse in Proverbs?  "It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will not turn from evil to attain them." ~Proverbs 13:19
It's up to us to do something to pursue our dreams.  That is what stories should be about.  Someone who did something or discovered something that changed her/his world.  Because of this realization I've been going through my stories and realizing that the characters are a little passive (not doing anything, only reacting to what happens to them) in them.  I wonder how much the movie Cinderella has affected us all (plus our stories), especially since it was very popular and came out in 1949.  Surprising how old it is, right?  And how it's still pretty popular (they made sequels as signs of that right?  And the third movie a Twist in Time has a less passive Cinderella in it than the original, which I like).
Because of low expectations placed on maidens in distress in many stories nowadays, they become lazy in the stories, not very clever, almost absent except to be saved.
But the original Cinderellas (before Perrult's version) were clever and braved the forests and in some versions ended up saving the prince.
But I will tell you why I really like the story of Cinderella.  I'll tell you in my next post, tomorrow or a sennight -- a fancy old word for a week.
I suppose it's the best I can do for a cliff hanger.  In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the story of Cinderella and its variants?