Fairy Tales as a Tool for Acculturation.
Anne Sexton's poems in Transformations and Angela Carter's stories in The Bloody Chamber can be similar in some aspects to fairy tales that all the boys and girls of the world have grown up with and will continue to grow up with into the future. The Brothers Grimm were the originators of these fairy tales when they started to record the stories that they heard from the people around them and now Disney has made some of these fairy tales famous by making movies out of them. The purpose of these fairy tales is to provide acculturation for young children growing up. They set gender roles for girls and boys to follow, as they become grown men and women. The poems of Transformations and the stories of The Bloody Chamber can be compared to the original fairy tales from which they are derived; through imagery, symbols, and in the message the writers are trying to get across.
Fairy tales can be used to show how an ideal woman should act. The typical fairy tale is usually about a young beautiful woman in distress who is eventually saved by her "night in shining armor." Fairy tales show that women should be passive, beautiful, and pure, meaning being a virgin. "The immediate and predictable result of being beautiful is being chosen, this word having profound importance to the girl (Lieberman 250)." Most heroines are entirely passive, submissive and helpless. "The most obviously true is "Sleeping Beauty", who lies asleep, in the ultimate state of passivity, waiting for a brave prince to awaken and save her (Lieberman 253)." Cinderella also plays a very passive role in her story. When she leaves her slipper at the ball, she doesn't do anything but stay home and wait for the prince to find her. The symbol of white as being "pure" can alone be seen in the name of the girl and the fairy tale "Snow White". Anne sexton goes on in her version to show Snow White as being dumb because of opening the door for the evil stepmother to try to kill her three times in a row.