Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Fairy Tale Ending?

I'm Selina and the thought of having a blog frightens me.  I swore I would never write about my life on the internet for anyone to see, but after talking to a few people, I've decided that maybe this is the boost I need.

I'm 20 years old and I'll be 21 in a little over a month.  I'm an English Major, Classics and Sociology minor at the University of New Hampshire.  I want to write fiction 
someday, but as I am terrible at actually keeping up with writing, I'm hoping some brilliant idea will fall in my lap and I'll be unable to keep away from it.  I was
 complaining about my lack of motivation to write and my friend Neil told me I should start keeping a blog and that I should write in it every day.  Typically, I'm bad at taking advice, but I thought this sounded like a good idea, so here is is.  

I'm at work right now in Dover and I have such a difficult job that I am able to spend copious amounts of time writing blogs and searching for random stuff on wikipedia.  Right now I'm particularly intrigued by the fairy tale by Hans Christain Andersen entitled "The Steadfast Tin Soldier."  

It is a fairy tale story that I somehow missed when I was younger and I just recently stumbled upon it while rereading Inkheart.   Anyway, there is mention of this fairy tale and I had no idea what the story was so I went on wikipedia to see what happened and the story (quickly summarized from wikipedia) goes as such...

On his birthday, a boy receives a set of tin soldiers and arrays 
them on a table top. One soldier stands on a single leg as there wasn't enough metal that was used to cast the set of soldiers to fully form him. Nearby, he spies a lovely paper ballerina with a spangle on her sash. She too is standing on one leg and the soldier falls in love. That night, a troll, a "black bogey" in the form of a Jack-in-the-box among the toys angrily warns the soldier to av
ert his ardent gaze from the ballerina, but the soldier ignores him. The next day, the soldier falls from a windowsill (presumably the work of the troll) and lands in the street. Two boys find the soldier, place him in a paper boat, and set him sailing in the gutter. The boat and its passenger wash into a sewer, where a rat demands the soldier pay a toll. Sailing on, the boat is washed into a canal, where the tin solder is swallowed by a fish. When the fish is caught and cut open, the tin solder finds himself once again on the table top before the ballerina. Inexplicably, a boy suddenly throws the tin soldier into the fire in the stove. A draught blows the ballerina into the fire with him, and she is consumed at once; only her spangle remains. The maid later discovers the tin soldier has melted into the shape of a heart.

I don't know why this story is something that I have been thinking about a lot.  I have always and will always love fairy tales, and although this story does not end happily, it is a tale that has endured for over 200 years.  The latest version of the story takes place in Fantasia 2000 and is a pretty good representation of the story, but ends happily, which kind of bugs me.

One of my favorite quotes from my favorite show One Tree Hill is "There is nothing wrong with fairy tales- they all live happily ever after."  Although that saying is simple enough and generally true, is there ever such thing as a fairy tale ending??

I like to think there are two different types of fairy tale endings.  There are the types that emerged with Hans Christian Andersen which do not always end well (Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Little Mermaid) and then there are the sugar coated Disney Fairy Tale endings.  Both of the above mentioned stories were optioned by Disney and drastically changed to fit their mold of happily ever after.  In both tales by Andersen, the main characters die and the world goes on living.

This is not meant to be pessimistic by any means, just realistic.  As a little girl I always dreamed for my own fairy tale happily ever after, but I guess the original fairy tale did not always end well.  Judging by the two stories I have read by Andersen, I think I'm going to take some time and read what else he wrote. 

I think the paper ballerina serves as a tragic heroine.  Not only does she die tragically in a fire, she has a pretty sparkly sash which she uses to attract the attention of the pervy jack in the box as well as the soldiers.  I have decided to name my blog after her because in my head, if all it takes to be a heroine is a sparkly sash and not speaking, I would be the best heroine there ever was.

 Nothing like reading some literature for children to gain some perspective on life.  

1 comment:

Neil Everett said...

Personally I don't believe in Fairy Tale Endings (in real life anyway) because most of the "ends" that we perceive are just illusions. Just because we want our life to take the shape of a narrative (with a beginning, middle, and end) doesn't mean that it will.

copadwa (indigenous tribe of Southern Narnia)