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Aschenputtle vs. Vasilisa the Beautiful

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maggie frison

on 27 November 2014

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Transcript of Aschenputtle vs. Vasilisa the Beautiful

Let's talk about the Introduction
The Roots of the Story
Developing the Characters
Vasilisa the Beautiful Singular Analysis
Main Analysis
As we analyze this fairy tale we learn that this fairy tale does not aim to describe real historical situations or persons, Instead we should look for the symbolism of traits and features of our own "inner life".
If we take this tale by itself we can pick out particular traits and analyze it differently from Aschenputtel. As before, the doll can be seen as a Mother figure for Vasilisa. From the beginning this is about Vasilisa finding a new home for herself, and becoming independant. When Vasilisa is sent to Baba Yaga to fetch light, Vasilisa is in a sense being sent out to discover herself. During this journey she underwent the inner transformation from girl to woman.

The light she gets from Baba Yaga can be symbolism for her new self. When she brings back her new light, and new self the Step-Mother and daughters were overwhelmed by Vasilisa's bright light, seeing her as her new self they are burned to ash for having treating Vasilisa so poorly.
Aschenputtel Singular Analysis
Analyzing this tale individually, we can take a different perspective then the Russian tale. This specific tale can be seen as way to portray a child's feeling towards sibling rivalry. When reading this story the child sees a reflection of their own "overwhelming, often vague and nondescript emotions". Identifying with Aschenputtel the child experiences again the negative feelings of sibling rivalry. And in the words of Bruno Bettleheim repeated in his main theme in his discussion of Cinderella,

".. when story corresponds to how a child feels deep down -- as no realistic narrative is likely to do -- it attains an emotional quality of 'truth' for the child"

Character Traits
Carl Jung ~ Jungian Archetypes
Carl Jung has created a list of Archetypes that refer from the unclear, underlying forms of archaic patterns and images that derive from collective unconscious.
Examples of a few of the Archetypes for both these tales..
1. The Shadow
The shadow represents the darker side of humanity. The evil that we all have inside of us.This represent the Step mother in the tale Aschenputtel.
It could represent either the Step mother or Baba Yaga in the tale of Vasilisa the Beautiful.
2. The Anima
This represents the essential feminine energy of an individual The anima guides our actions based on emotion and encourages us to be sensitive to the needs around us. This could be seen in the Hazel Tree and animals in Aschenputtel, or in the doll from Vasilisa.
3. The Animus
This represents the masculine energy in a tale and rational force of an individual. The prince in each tale could be an example of this masculine energy

Vasilisa the Beautiful vs . Aschenputtle (Cinderella)
Once upon a time, there was a girl the fairest of them all. Her beauty and grace was known by all. She came with multiple names known to many around the world. In Russia she was Vasilisa the Beautiful, while in Germany she was known as Aschenputtel, formally known in English as Cinderella.
Interpreting the Tale
There are multiple main characters in this tale that remain constant throughout the years:

Cinderella, the heroin (or Vasilisa in the case of the Russian version). She is the main protagonist in this tale in every version of it. The story focuses on her journey through her tough childhood after her mother died.
The main antagonists are the Step mother and the 2 step sisters.
Amoung other characters there are the magical helpers, named by Vladimir Propp in his 31 functions of Morphology.
There are multiple ways to analyze this fairy tale.It
has been done over and over again, with different perspectives from different people.

Over the time of this presentation we will dive into the ways this tale differs in its two forms,the Russian and German version, and its many themes and morals. From the archetypes of Carl Jung, to the Functions of Vladimir Propp.
The most famous picture of Vasilisa The Beautiful by Ivin Bilibin.
Aschenputtel with the doves that help her finish her chores before her
Step mother comes home.
Author Unknown
In both tales, there is the introduction of Function 1 of Vladimir Propps fuctions. This is the function of Absence. At the start, it explains that the old mother has fallen ill and her time is coming to an end, thus both Vasilisa and Aschenputtel have officially started the tale.
As the journey begins we start to see change in how it is developed and how each of the girls deal with the evil Step mother and step sisters.
Magical Helpers
Vasilisa and Her Doll
Zheleznova, Irina, ed. Russian Fairy Tales. Moscow: Progress, 1966. Print
Aschenputtel and the Hazel Tree
Grimm, Brothers. "Aschenputtel (Cinderella)." Web. <http://stenzel.ucdavis.edu/180/anthology/aschenputtel.html>.
"The old woman fell gravely ill and, feeling that
her end was near, she called Vasilisa to her bedside, gave her a little doll, and said:"Do as I tell you, my child. Take good care of this little doll and never show it to anyone. If ever anything bad happens to you, give the doll something to eat and ask its advice. It will help you out in all your troubles." "

Vasilisa was given a doll from her mother. The doll was magical helper, that whenever Vasilisa needed help, she would feed the doll and ask her for help or advice. The doll can be seen through out the story as a mother figure, helping Vasilisa with the jobs she would have never had to do if the mother was still alive
"Then he broke off the branch and took it with him... and to Cinderella he gave the branch from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother's grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome tree. Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for. "

Aschenputtel on the other hand was not given any thing from her mother before she died, except the advice to stay pious and good. Instead, Aschenputtel, asks her Father for a branch of whatever tree hits him in the eye first. She then plants the hazel branch and weeps for 3 days, the tree then attracts a white bird that gives Aschenputtel whatever she wishes.
"Dealing with the Myth of Cinderella." CliffNotes. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/sciences>.
Bettelheim, Bruno. "A Commentary on Bruno Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment" with Retellings of the Tales." Fairy Tales. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://bado-shanai.net/Fairy Tales/fataContents.htm>.
A drawing of Vasilisa and Baba Yaga
Author Unknown
A traditional German picture of Aschenputtel with the doves
Author Unknown
Functions taken from wikipedia page on Vladimir Propp
Main Differences
Visilisa The Beautiful
-This tale has a location: It is said to be in a far away Tsardom, giving the feeling of a magical land to the reader
-Vasilisa continued to become more and more beautiful
-Her father left her alone.
-Has two kinds of villains, the Step-Mother and Baba Yaga
-Vasilisa has two quest to accomplish, getting the light and leaving her evil family
-Is told by her doll how to get away from Baba Yaga
-The light burns the Step-Family to ash
-Gets noticed by the Tsar of the kingdom for having the best weaving skills
-Marries the Tsar
-The whole story isn't about getting the prince, it is about finding yourself
Aschenputtel (Cinderella)
-No location. This story is not specified to be in any specific location
-there is a festival held for three days for the prince to find a bride
-Only has one villain, the Step-Mother
-The only task for Aschenputtel is for her to keep her secret from her family and to get the prince
-The sisters play more of a roll in this tale trying to get the prince
-The first sister cuts off her big toe to get in the shoe
-The second sister cuts off part of her heel to fit in the shoe
-Birds tell the prince he has the wrong brides
-When Aschenputtel is finally chosen by the prince, the sisters try to get in favor with her, birds peak out their eyes for having treating her so bad
Medlicott, Mary. "Cinderella." School Librarian 61.2 (2013): 89. Print.

Weeks, Ramond. "Cinderella." English Journal 7 (1918): 260. Print.
Peer Reviewed Resources
Other Resources
Functions taken from wikipedia page on Vladimir Propp

Zheleznova, Irina, ed. Russian Fairy Tales. Moscow: Progress, 1966. Print

Grimm, Brothers. "Aschenputtel (Cinderella)." Web. <http://stenzel.ucdavis.edu/180/anthology/aschenputtel.html>.

"Dealing with the Myth of Cinderella." CliffNotes. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/cliffsnotes/sciences>.

Bettelheim, Bruno. "A Commentary on Bruno Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment" with Retellings of the Tales." Fairy Tales. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://bado-shanai.net/Fairy Tales/fataContents.htm>.

By Magdelena Frison

Vasilisa the Beautiful According to the Functions
After following Vladimir Propp's functions, oddly enough it does not follow the function as it intended to do. The only reason this tale, along with Aschenputtel do not work with the list of Functions is because of the early introduction of the Magical Agent. It is introduced at the beginning of both tales, making the story not follow the list in order.

1.Absence: The mother dies
14. Recipient of the Magical Agent: Mother gives Vasilisa the magical doll
3. Violation: Father maries the evil Step Mother
9. Mediation: Vasilisa lacks a real family of her own
11. Departure: Vasilisa leaves to get light from Baba Yaga
12. First Function of the Donor: Baba Yaga tests her ability to follow orders and do house hold chores
15. Guidance: The doll tells her how to complete the chores and get away from Baba Yaga
16. Victory: Vasilisa get away from Baba Yaga and burns the Step family with her new found light
19. Liquidation: She finds a new home and family with a kind old lady
25. Difficult Task: She is tasked with making a silk shirt for the Tsar
26. Task Solution: The Doll makes a shirt unlike any other shirt that the Tsar notices her
31. She marries the Tsar and lives happily ever after
The end!
Full transcript