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Tangled: A Postmodern Fairytale

For World Lit 2013
by

Emily Korf

on 6 June 2013

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Transcript of Tangled: A Postmodern Fairytale

TANGLED: A POSTMODERN ANALYSIS Postmodern Theory According to PBS, postmodern theory is “largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality.” PBS goes on to mention that postmodern theory is “skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person.” Purdue Online Writing Lab states that, “an early pioneer of this resistance was philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.” Nietzsche rejected “even the very basis of our knowledge making, language, as a reliable system of communication.” Postmodern Criticism According to Brock University, postmodern criticism is concerned with “reconceptualizations of society, history and the self as cultural constructs.” Purdue Online Writing Lab adds that postmodern criticism is questions “the methods we use to build knowledge (science, religion, language).” Postmodern theory and criticism can be closely tied resistance to the new ideas brought forth during the Enlightenment by thinkers like John Locke and resistance to Catholicism. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair! The story of Rapunzel is a part of our culture. We call people with long hair Rapunzel. Most people know the basic story of the girl with the long hair who lives in a tower. It's a story that uses the general Prince and Princess archetypes. It has a predictable ending and a set villain. It's a story that nearly everyone learns about at some point in their life. The Brothers Grimm The story of Rapunzel was first published in 1812 in a book of fairy tales written by the German Brothers Grimm. Basic Plot A couple lives next to walled garden of an enchantress. The women is pregnant and desperately craves the rapunzel plant that grows in the garden. She convinces her husband to steal some of the leafy greens. He is caught by the enchantress, who accuses him of theft. She agrees to let him go in exchange for the couples unborn child.
When the child is born, the enchantress raises the child as her own and names her Rapunzel. Rapunzel grows up to be the most beautiful person in the world with long golden hair. The enchantress shuts her away in a tower in the forest and uses Rapunzel's long hair to get into the tower. ("Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!")
One day, a prince rides through the forest and discovers Rapunzel. He calls to her and uses her hair to climb the tower. The couple agrees to marry. They plan an escape, but Rapunzel spoils the plan by accidentally telling the enchantress about the prince. The enchantress, in rage, cuts off Rapunzel's hair. Rapunzel is thrown out into the wilderness. The prince is fooled by the enchantress and falls out the tower. He falls on thorns, which blind him.
The couple eventually finds each other wandering through the wilderness. The prince leads Rapunzel back to his kingdom and they live happily ever after. Rapunzel's Birth and Childhood Tangled Grimm Rapunzel is born and given to an enchantress in exchange for the rapunzel stolen by the couple during pregnancy. She is raised by the enchantress as her own child. Mother Gothel uses a magical flower to stay young. She keeps in hidden, but when the pregnant queen of a nearby kingdom becomes ill, the flower is found and given the the queen. The queen is healed and gives birth to Rapunzel, who has the flower's magical healing power in her hair. Gothel kidnaps the baby for her magical hair and raises the child in a tower hidden in the forest. Rapunzel and her "Prince" Tangled Grimm Rapunzel meets her love interest when he comes across her tower while running from palace guards. He is a thief, not a prince. Rapunzel blackmails him into taking her out in the world, where, throughout their adventure, they fall in love. Rapunzel's prince also stumbles across her tower. He climbs her hair, introduces himself, and convinces her to marry him. The two have a secret relationship in the tower until Rapunzel accidentally spills the beans. The enchantress throws both of them out the tower. Happily Ever After Tangled Grimm Rapunzel and Flynn, the thief are tricked into going back to the tower, where Gothel tries to kill Flynn and capture Rapunzel. The two manage to survive and Gothel falls out of the tower to her death. Rapunzel is reunited with her royal parents, and is set to be married to Flynn. Rapunzel and her prince find each other in the wilderness and return to the prince's kingdom to raise their family. Shared Characters Plot Comparison Tangled vs. Grimm Individuals vs. Stereotypes (In order of appearance) Rapunzel's Parents Tangled royalty
caring
actively seek out their daughter every year by releasing lanterns on her birthday Grimm poor
desperate
flimsy (don't stand up to the enchantress)
willing to give up their child Mother Gothel/Enchantress Tangled conniving
selfish
vain (needs to kidnap Rapunzel in order to stay young and beautiful)
demeaning
arrogant
tricky Grimm unforgiving
demanding
evil (throws the prince to thorns, which blind him) These characters share the same name in early translations: Gothel. One is a generic, evil, villain, while the other has depth, character, ulterior motives and a quick tongue. Unlike many fairy tales, Rapunzel gains her princess status by being born a princess, rather than marrying a prince. In Tangled, her parents are royalty who love their lost daughter. In the generic version, they are willing to give up their own child. Rapunzel Tangled In both versions, Rapunzel is a young, beautiful blonde girl who is locked in a tower. This is where the similarities end. In Tangled, Rapunzel actively seeks out her goals.In the Grimm version, she doesn't make things happen, she merely lets them. spunky
artistic
athletic
ambitious
quick thinking
caring
strong willed (and this is just a short list! She has depth, character, and sass!) Grimm
beautiful
naive
innocent
helpless Individual Stereotype Flynn/The Prince Flynn Rider and the generic Prince of the Grimm version are incredibly different. One is a thief, who is sarcastic and has a heart of gold. The other falls in love with looks, is easily tricked, and wisks his princess back to his kingdom. Tangled Grimm thief
sarcastic
cocky
But turns into... sensitive
open
loving
strong
convincing
determined
Character Additions in Tangled Maximus Maximus is a palace horse who transitions from trying to catch Flynn to helping him escape. He adds a playful element to the film by being totally dedicated to his job. The Thugs Flynn assumes that the group of terrifying thugs will be mean, scary, and nasty so that Rapunzel will agree to go back home. Instead, he finds that not only are the thugs a nice group of people, they each have their own personality and interests. In the end, the "mean" thugs end up helping Rapunzel and Flynn. Pascal Every princess needs a sidekick, and for Rapunzel, it's Pascal the chameleon. While he isn't verbal, he is constantly cheering Rapunzel on. His often grumpy attitude towards Flynn makes him less of the "expected" sidekick character. Commenting On the "Princess" Genre Tangled is the first CG animated Disney Princess film. With this new medium, there is often a push to be more modern. This is true in Tangled, and especially in the film's opening sequence. Opening Like many other films, Tangled opens with a narration of a back story. Unlike other films, the narrator actively interacts with the audience, breaking the fourth wall. Define "PRINCESS" Tangled is often praised for its portrayal of a princess. Rapunzel doesn't become a princess because of a man; she is born into royalty. Until the very end of the movie, Rapunzel doesn't even know that she is royalty. She doesn't have the poise or grace of a typical princess. She isn't restrained by the pressures of being royalty. Rapunzel is free to be adventurous, creative, and goofy. Rapunzel is an individual rather than a stereotypical princess. Reception Tangled is praised for defying the typical Disney stereotypes. It has a strong heroine who determines her own destiny. The man falls in love with her personality, rather than looks. Tangled turns the generic Rapunzel story upside down. It adds action, emotion, depth, and developed characters while maintaining a fairy tale feel. Individuals instead of Stereotypes One mother wrote a comment on an online review of the film saying, "When we left they were full of questions. They knew other versions of the fairytale and told me that this one was 'just a story, not the real Rapunzel', but that they liked it better anyway." Tangled: A Postmodern Fairy Tale Tangled manages to smash the audience's expectations of both the plot and characters. In three short years, it has managed to replace most, if not all of the versions of the class Brothers Grimm Tale. Just search for "Rapunzel" on Google images and see for yourself! Postmodern replaces Traditional "I took you to protect you."- Mother Gothel
Rapunzel: Something bought you here, Flynn Rider. Fate, destiny...
Flynn Rider: A horse.

Flynn Rider: You were my new dream.
Rapunzel: And you were mine.
Flynn Rider: Did I ever tell you I've got a thing for brunettes? Tangled provides two fairy tale staples: the defeat of the villain, and a grand, romantic, happy ending. (Rapunzel's parents also have no speaking lines. All their emotions and thoughts are portrayed in the animation. ) "I've been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it's not everything that I dreamed it would be?" Rapunzel, look in that mirror. You know what I see? I see a strong, confident, beautiful young lady. Oh look, you're there too! Sleeping Beauty opens with a fancy book, and a fancy narration to match. "This is the story of how I died. But don't worry, this is actually a fun story and the truth is it isn't even mine." - Flynn Rider, opening lines A princess who doesn't know what to do with a crown That mutual stare... Flynn Rider: Alright, Blondie.
Rapunzel: Rapunzel!
Flynn Rider: Gesundheit. Here's the deal. I was in a situation, galavating through the forest, I came across your tower and... Oh... oh no... where is my satchel? Flynn Rider: But I know what the big question is: Did Rapunzel and I ever get married? Well I am pleased to tell you that after years and years of asking and asking and asking, I finally said yes.
Rapunzel: Eugene!
Flynn Rider: All right, I asked her.
Rapunzel: And we're living happily ever after!
Flynn Rider: Yes we are. to
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