Original Research

Rewards and punishments as developing gendered ideologies in Grimm Brothers’ Briar Rose

Monique Banks
Literator | Vol 41, No 1 | a1618 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v41i1.1618 | © 2020 Monique Banks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2019 | Published: 29 July 2020

About the author(s)

Monique Banks, Department of English Language and Comparative Literature, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa


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Abstract

Fairy tale literature can be identified as didactic, as it shares moralistic and educational ideals through its characters and themes. Intending to instruct, fairy tales relate specific moralistic concepts, indicating accepted and unaccepted conduct. Researchers have postulated the correlation between a fairy tale and its social context, considering that these tales include contrived elements specific to the societal structure from which they originate. Specific to this research is the connection between a fairy tale and the gendered ideals held within the society as noted in Grimm Brothers’ Briar Rose. The version analysed in this article is the Collins Classics collection of the Grimm Brothers’ tales, which was published in 2013. This tale reflects content which perpetuates and supports the patriarchal expectations of the 19th-century Germany. The Grimm Brothers’ treatment of the princess, 13th fairy and prince reinforce gender-specific roles for men and women. The rewards and punishments earned by the characters mould not only their behaviours, but also potentially the behaviours of the 19th-century readers. This article analyses the behavioural consequences faced by the characters in Briar Rose, with particular consideration of how these responses convey gender ideals to the readers, and how these influence their own subsequent behaviour and expectations.

Keywords

the Grimm Brothers; Briar Rose; fairy tale; gender ideal; 19th-century literature; patriarchy; gender roles; reward; punishment.

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