Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” is far from the modern day fairy tale. It is a dark and twisted version of the classic tale, Snow White. His retelling is intriguing and unexpected, coming from the point of view of the stepmother rather than Snow White. By doing this, Gaiman changes the entire meaning of the story by switching perspectives and motivations of the characters. This sinister tale has more purpose than to frighten its readers, but to convey a deeper, hidden message. His message in “Snow, Glass, Apples” is that villains may not always be villains, but rather victims.
In the original Little-Snow White by the Grimms brothers and the readapted Disney version, the stepmother is not seen in a positive light. “She was a beautiful woman, but she was proud and arrogant, and she could not stand it if anyone might surpass her in beauty” (Grimm). The stepmother is also described as, “The stepmother was furious and, wild with jealousy, began plotting to get rid of her rival”(Snow White…). The evil queen is depicted as vain, jealous, arrogant and is portrayed in an all around negative manner. From the start, most would believe that she is most obviously the villain of the narrative, but Gaiman challenges this idea with his retelling posing the stepmother as the victim. She is also construed much differently. “His beard was red-bronze in the morning light, and I knew him, not as a king, for I knew nothing of kings then, but as my love”(Gaiman 331). She is looked at not as an evil stepmother, but a young woman who is truly in love. “I had always been scared of the little princess, but at that moment I warmed to her and, with my fingers, gently, I stroked her cheek”(Gaiman...
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...he other versions. Instead of feeling delight and joy at the Queen’s death, one feels empathy and sorrow over her demise. Who once was the evil villain turned out to be an innocent victim caught in a doomed situation. In Gaiman’s introduction to this particular story he says “ I like to think of this story as a virus. Once you’ve read it, you may never be able to read the original story in the same way again”(Gaimen 33). Gaiman’s use of perspective change and role reversal creates such a convincing tale that one would never look at this story in the same light. One could not help but think of the Queen’s suffering and the lies told by Snow White, while we know the truth. He gives the stepmother a second chance by telling her tale. Her actions are brave, wise, and selfless. Throughout the story, the Queen not only becomes the victim but she also becomes the hero.
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