Saturday, December 24, 2011

Article: From Werewolf Hunters to Rights Activists: Updating Fairy Tale Heroines by Marissa Meyer

Cinderella by Sir John Everett Millais
 Marissa Meyer, author of the January debut "cyborg Cinderella" novel Cinder  has written an article for titled "From Werewolf Hunters to Rights Activists: Updating Fairy Tale Heroines". (See HERE for my post earlier this month on Cinder.)

The article begins with a good dollop of Marissa Meyer's humor, referencing, of course, Cinderella and why you probably don't really like her, or the idea of her, very much. Then she goes on to explain why.

Here's an excerpt:

Today’s teens want heroines who are courageous and empowered, who are willing to fight for what they want and choose their own destinies. And while dashing heroes continue to populate today’s fiction, the trend is leaning toward an equality between the protagonists, with skills and strengths that complement each other, and it’s perfectly acceptable for the princess to slay the dragon herself when called upon. 
...While writers continue to experiment with settings, time periods, and tales both common and forgotten, this trend seems to be here to stay. Those passive girls of old are becoming extinct, being replaced with bold and plucky heroines that don’t only deserve a happy ending, but go out and claim it.
It's a quick, fun read and while the concepts aren't new to readers of this blog it's a great introduction for people who are, for the first time, curious about this fairy tale thing are being delighted by retellings. While it doesn't really cover how much substance the more 'original' (ie. non-Disney) fairy tales have, it does show how much fun retellings are, especially with the variety today that's actively expanding right now both in books and in TV series and movies.

I still remember my epiphany on the subject of retellings. I was nine years old and the symbology in fairy tales was something that fascinated me. I had already begun to look at them in a deeper way and started actively hunting for different perspectives on fairy tales by writers but mainly in the form of articles and essays. I came across C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces in the local church library, which retells the story of Psyche and Cupid from the point of view of the elder and ugly rejected sister, and it completely blew me away. It was this book that made me realize you can retell old stories in a completely new way without losing their mythical core. I also didn't miss the Beauty and the Beast/ Cupid & Psyche connection and it truly felt as if I had just stepped into a magical wardrobe that had been siting in front of me for years. I was hooked and have been a student of fairy tales ever since. It's truly exciting to think that people everywhere are having similar revelations week to week right now.

If you know someone who is just starting to understand your fascination with fairy tales and is asking about retellings Marissa Meyer's article would be a good one to have them read. It's not heavy, doesn't get into old fairy tale texts or anything that might seem weighty to newbies and Ms. Meyer's humor is evident throughout. You can find the whole article at HERE.

As a bonus (I love bouses!) Tahlia over at Diamonds and Toads has just this week posted an interview with Marisa Meyer! It's a must read. Tahlia asks some great questions and they're perfect for fairy tale readers who want to know how other fairy tale readers and writers think. Go read and thank Tahlia for such a great post. It's like a little Christmas present all by itself. :)

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