Started conversation Oct 5, 2000
A project for the literary-minded among you. Take a fairy story and reverse engineer it into its constituent components
Posted Oct 6, 2000
I agree that this is a very fun prospect. You can get an interesting take on story construction by recognizing elements many fairy tales in common, and examining how they are used in variation for particular tales.
Posted Nov 22, 2001
Another idea: take an existing story and tell it so that the listener feels sympathetic for the villain rather than the hero, and so it turns into a tragedy.
e.g. "The cold, hungry, half-starved wolf spied a girl dressed in red trespassing through the forest, terrifying poor animals for miles around. The wolf (who was a kind and gentle sort) wondered if she would give him a morsel to eat, so he went up and asked her.
'Go away,' screeched the selfish brat, 'or I'll get the woodsman to come and kill you, you revolting creature! Begone!' And so she turned from the pitiful wolf and marched off, kicking a squirrel as she passed."
Posted Feb 21, 2003
Your post reminded me of a 'politically correct' version of Red Riding Hood that came hilariously close to what you wrote.(excerpt)
"Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as "mother", although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not in fact exist."...
It goes on to describe her encounter with the wolf:
"Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but she was confident in taking control of her own budding sexuality, and chose to dialogue with the Wolf. "
We reach the part where the wood cutter arrives to rescue her but is foiled:
" "And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. "If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self esteem and lower achievement scores on college entrance exams."
But it turns out that the wood cutter is there to help the endangered animal and its RR who gets the chop
A fable for our times huh?
(This joke/story was being freely circulated on the web so I hope it was ok to reproduce excerprts)
Posted May 24, 2005
I heard a different ending to the PC version of LRR. When the woodsman burst into the house, the wolf had just puked up gandma. RR and Granny turned to the wolf and demanded what he was doing, bargin in all macho, prepared to let his weapon do the talking and not ask for the others' point of view. The woodsman slunk away and Granny, RR, and Wolf went on to found an alternative household based on mutual respect for all creatures.
Posted Mar 29, 2007
One component that most fairy tales seem to have in common is the rule of 3. Three tasks, three tries to achieve the goal, etc. The other that comes to mind is the good/bad brother idea. The good brother helps someone (an old woman, a dwarf, etc.) and is rewarded with help in return, but the bad brother when asked for help turns the needy person away and thereby dooms his efforts since they would have given him something in turn that would have helped him reach his goal.
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