Fashion, Incest, and Fur, in All-Kinds-of-Fur and Donkeyskin

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Fashion, Incest, and Fur, in All-Kinds-of-Fur and Donkeyskin Donkeyskin, by Charles Perrault, and All-Kinds-of-Fur by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, are both stories about a princess who runs away from her kingdom because of the king’s desire to marry her, despite the fact that the marriage would be incestuous. In Donkeyskin, the king is overtly powerful and wealthy, and much of his wealth is obtained by his Master Donkey, who excretes gold. In both tales it is necessary for the princess to find some means of discouraging her father’s sinful proposal, of which she asks for three magnificent and impossible dresses to be made and for the skin of an animal or multiple animals. The princess’ requests in both tales, however, are futile, because the king will stop at nothing to make his daughter his bride. The stories differ in many ways though, specifically in characterization and plot. In Donkeyskin there is an actual donkey, which appears to be essential to the well-being of the kingdom, at least monetarily, but the donkey’s importance dims in the eyes of the king when he has to choose between his wealth and marrying his daughter. In All-Kinds-of-Fur, however, there is no actual significant animal figure within the plot, just the mantle of furs from a thousand animals, of which the princess wears to disguise herself. Donkeyskin also contains another character, the fairy godmother, who is not present in All-Kinds-of-Fur, yet is essential to the plot. The protagonist in both tales differs in her motivation and actions greatly. The princess in Donkeyskin is less direct in her actions and choices than in All-Kinds-of-Fur, being firstly influenced and advised by her fairy godmother, but in All-Kinds-of-Fur she makes the decisions herself, ... ... middle of paper ... Perrault’s Donkeyskin and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s All-Kinds-of-Fur may be very similar, both beginning with the death of the queen and mad-request of the father and king to marry the princess, his daughter, and ending with the marriage of the princess to the prince/king of another kingdom, the characters themselves differ markedly, in how they think and act. While the princess Donkeyskin is thought to be accomplished and wise, she relies on fate and other people to make her decisions, unlike All-Kinds-of-Fur who makes her choices, doing only what she feels is right. The love-interest of the princesses in each tale differs also, one being a weak prince and one being a strong king. The king and queen in both Donkeyskin and All-Kinds-of-Fur are highly similar, thinking and acting in the same manner, both causing distress in their daughter’s journey through life.

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