Briar Rose, originally known as The Sleeping Beauty, is a classic fairy tale about a beautiful princess who was spelled with a curse and later was saved by a handsome prince (Grimm and Grimm 123). Although the plotline of the story is not sophisticated, it involves a variety of bonds, as well as complex relationships based on various gender representations.
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In particular, it reveals the dialogues between the main heroine, prince Briar Rose and other characters, including the old woman in the tower, the king and queen, and, finally, the prince. While representing different gender relations, it is possible to construct the images of the above-identified protagonists.
Therefore, each figure in the narration has its own perception of the situation. Representation of the king as an overprotective father and benevolent king, the thirteenth wise woman who has turned the curse to blessing by revealing the princess from her farther care and allowing her to become an independent mature woman influence the gender construction in the story.
Despite the fact that the king is represented as a loving father who wants to protect and look after her little daughter, his need to control his daughter’s life is, probably, explained by his desire to outsmart the wise woman. Nevertheless, the king’s overwhelming desire to protect her daughter lead to unconscious sleep makes his fall asleep as well (Grimm and Grimm 124).
In the narration, the king destroys all the spindles so as to save his daughter from the curse. Spinning is associated with the feminine capacity to give birth to a child. In European culture, spindle also symbolizes mother’s family and a wise old woman (Shields 156).
Within these perspectives, the father breaking all the spindles makes the girl be bound to a dependent, unconscious life. So, the princess acts out against her father’s will and spins to show her potential as a woman. When Briar Rose pricks her finder, she immediately because breathless by showing her delineation from her feminine identity.
The confrontation between the good king and its antagonistic hero, the thirteenth woman, can also be represented through the reluctance of her father to give her daughter freedom of choice. By claiming her potential as a mature woman, she is not afraid of entering the dark tower in the castle and talk to an old woman spinning (Shields 158). In this respect, the father does not allow his daughter to be engaged with different activities that all women usually do.
The king fairly believes that women are just innocent creatures who should be protected. Such an attitude to women reveals his superiority over women as well as recognition of women’s inferiority over men. At the same time, the princess can enjoy all material and spiritual privileges. She is also presented as an idealized picture of a woman of those times. Therefore, she must meet the social believes, as well as her father’s expectations.
In conclusion, the tale provides a clear distribution of males and female roles among the characters. Hence, the role of the kind, the farther of princess is to protect and take care of his only child. He is also the one who makes decisions in the kingdom. The role of the princess is confined to obeying and enjoying the privileges of being a royal person.
Finally, the thirteenth wise woman’s perspective is two-fold. On the one hand, she is an antagonistic heroine who strive to violate the established order and social stereotypes. On the other hand, she is the one who care about the feminine identity and potential of Briar Rose.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. US: Digireads.com Publishing, 2009. Print.
Shields, Marcella Hannon. Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Girl: The Healing Power of Fairy Tales in the Lives of Seven Women. US: iUniverse, 2008. Print.