Aug 5, 2012

Hansel and Gretel - Grimm Brothers and Others


A poor woodcutter used to live with his second wife and two children called Hansel and Gretel. Once, when the country was in famine father was really in trouble to maintain the family. But his wife was not worried even a little about the children. She rather insisted her husband to desert them into the dense forest. The woodcutter did not like the idea but he had to accept his wife’s proposal.
The children overheard their parents and Hansel collected jacket full of shiny pebbles. The next morning, he dropped the pebbles on the way while going to the forest. When they reached the middle of the forest, the parents collected firewood, kindled fire and left the children promising to return soon with firewood.
The children soon fell asleep. When they woke up, it was already dark. Gretel began to cry and Hansel consoled her.
As the moon shone in the sky, they saw the pebbles shining brightly. Following the trail of pebbles they finally reached their home.

After a few months, the country was again affected by famine and the children overheard their parents’ plan to leave them in the forest again. As the door was bolted from outside, Hansel couldn’t go outside to get pebbles this time. In the morning, when they were taken to the forest he scrambled the bread and dropped the pieces on the way. 
The parents left them in the forest promising them to come back soon. When the children woke in the evening, they couldn’t find the pieces of bread as they had been eaten away by birds. They were lost in the forest. They wandered for three days trying to find out the way to come out of the forest.
After some hours of searching they came to a little house made of sugar and bread in the middle of the forest where a witch used to live. When the hungry children started eating the door and window of the house, the witch took them in and offered them food and rest.
The witch wanted Hansel to become fat so that she could eat his meat. Even elapsing four weeks, when Hansel didn’t become fat, she decided to eat him. When she asked Gretel to check the readiness of the oven, Gretel requested her to demonstrate how to check it. When the witch entered into the oven, Gretel pushed the witch and locked her from outside.
When the witch died, Gretel freed Hansel and they escaped away after collecting the jewels from the witch’s room. Finally, when they came back home, they found that their step mother had already been dead. So they lived happily with their father.

Psychological analysis of Hansel and Gretel
The writer in his adapted story Hansel and Gretel presents the psychological analysis of the story. In this story, he expresses a unique truth of life that poverty and deprivation make human beings selfish and less sensitive to others sufferings.
The writer tells us that when the children grow up, they must learn to live separately from their parents. Hansel and Gretel have left in the forest in order to give them a chance to learn to live independently. However, they have come back as they have not been able enough to live apart from their parents. The children have again been left in the forest for the second time and they’ve tried to solve the problem by concentrating on fool only. As they’ve acted like hungry animals rather than human beings, they have been the captive of witch. The house and the old witch being the source of food are symbolized as mother. This story gives us message that greed leads to destruction. Hansel and Gretel manages to get rid of the witch when they start thinking and behaving like human beings. The white duck that helps Hansel and Gretel get home carrying across the water stretch is the symbol of new beginning. The duck can carry only one child at one time shows that children must learn to live independently without any support from their brothers and sisters. The bird which led them to the gingerbread house is a symbol of peace. When Hansel and Gretel return home, they have grown up and start helping their father. The help they render is symbolized by the jewels. The family is considered rich and happy not because of the wealth but because Hansel and Gretel have learnt to think and act like matured people.

Political analysis of Hansel and Gretel
This story Hansel and Gretel written by Jack Zipes from political point of view tells us about the struggle between the poor and rich group of people. The woodcutter and his family represent the poor class people who are forced to commit deeds because of their poverty. The witch represents the aristocratic class of people and also symbolizes as the entire feudal system. She is also symbolized as the greed brutality of the aristocracy which is responsible for the difficult condition of the poorer class of people. The killing of the witch is symbolical realization of the hatred felt by the poor people because of the oppression and exploitation on them by the aristocratic people. The writer depicts the class conflict and exposes the prejudice and injustice of feudal ideology. The writer emphasizes that the poor people must be optimistic and should react appropriately against the oppressors for the transition of the situation in their favor.

Gretel’s version
This story Gretel is presented as Gretel’s version in modern setting. Gretel complains that Hansel and her father didn’t tell her the true version of the story. She says that Hansel was really very weak and she had to help him. His father was an unpleasant person who was compelled to leave the children in the forest. He bowed down on the insistence of his wife in the evil plan. Gretel says that leaving children in the forest was not unusual. Many parents did so in the past because they believed that animals, fairies, people on pilgrimage or kindly shepherd would take care of them. Gretel says that she has sympathy for her step mother as well for the witch rather than having feeling of disgust towards them.

Download The Heritage of Words Complete Summaries in One Single PDF file here.

Update: Aug 10, 2012: Corrected 4 Spotted Errors

1 comment:

  1. "The Gingerbread House"-Robert Cooper
    Do you have the summary of this chapter??

    ReplyDelete

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