The Structure and Underlining Meanings of Rapunzel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Structure and Underlining Meanings of Rapunzel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Length: 1407 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Structure and Underlining Meanings of Rapunzel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm


The story of Rapunzel, by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, has the same basic structure as all other fairy tales born from the oral tradition; what is commonly referred to as the opening, main part and ending, is the foundation of the tale.

It is around this clearly defined three-part structure of the plot, that invisible layers of meaning exist – often very different for each reader. Between the clever design of the plot – which allows several stories to surface within a seeming individual tale – and multiple layers underneath the literal action, exists a limitless journey of personal exploration. A fairy tale such as Rapunzel has many possible functions in a child’s life and development – explaining the desire for the tale to be read time and time again by the eager young mind.

The opening of the story establishes a number of things: the characters (with the exception of the prince), their dispositions, and the first task. The short introduction is also in itself a short story, with its own three-part structure. Rapunzel’s mother, also known as the wife, by persuading her husband to steal a head of lettuce from the witch, sends him on his journey. The husband’s acceptance of his task finalizes the opening of the introduction. The following two trips to the forbidden garden, and his encounter and, later, his deal with the witch, complete the main part of still only the beginning of the story of Rapunzel. When the witch appears during the heroine’s birth and takes her away, the story of Rapunzel’s mother and father is complete, and in turn, so is the introduction to the tale.

The conversion from the introduction to the main pa...


... middle of paper ...


... on a subconscious level due to complex interactions between the plot, characterization and symbols. Length and detail are not relevant in what a fairy tale like Rapunzel achieves; its accomplishments are made possible by the strict structure of the plot which holds within itself much potential and multiple features, as well as the communications that exist between author and reader likely without either one knowing it. Our favorite fairy tale has a reason for holding a special place in our heart whether we know it or not, as does the story we love to hate and continue to read and re-read. Like the human psyche, the fairy tale can be studied not only rewardingly but without an end.

Works Cited

Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1976.

Hallett, Martin and Barbara Karasek, ed. Folk & Fairy Tales. Toronto: Broadview, 2002.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Rapunzel

- The Consequence of Desire in Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Rapunzel Historical scholars, patriots, and entertainers of an accidental nature: all have been used to describe Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the two German brothers who, in the 19th century, dedicated much of their lives to the collection and publication of folk-tales in an attempt to help define the cultural identity of their country. The entertainment value of this collection was probably not considered at the time of its origination, especially by the collectors themselves, whose main motivation was a sense of “nationalism and Romanticism” (Hallett, xvii)....   [tags: Brothers Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
2966 words (8.5 pages)

Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel Essay

- Religious Symbolism in Grimm's Rapunzel   A fairy tale is seemingly a moral fiction, intended mainly for children. A lesson in critical analysis, however, strips this guise and reveals the naked truth beneath; fairy tales are actually vicious, logical and sexual stories wearing a mask of deceptively easy language and an apparent moral. Two 19th Century writers, the Grimm brothers, were masters at writing these exaggerated stories, bewitching young readers with their prose while padding their stories with allusion and reference: an example of which is "Rapunzel." Grimm's "Rapunzel" is packed with religious symbolism, which lends a new insight to the meaning of this classic story....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
723 words (2.1 pages)

A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Rapunzel Essay

- A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Rapunzel      The familiar story of Rapunzel, as told by the brothers Jacob Ludwig Carl and Wilhelm Carl Grimm, takes on new meaning with a psychoanalytic interpretation. It is a complex tale about desire, achievement, and loss. The trio of husband, wife, and witch function as the ego, id, and superego respectively to govern behavior regarding a beautiful object of desire, especially when a prince discovers this object. The story begins in a rural house where a man and woman live without children, near a walled garden tended by a frightening witch....   [tags: Hay Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
1098 words (3.1 pages)

The Formalistic Approach to Hay's Rapunzel Essay

- The Formalistic Approach to Hay's Rapunzel Prayer has been always a symbol of faith, and even in modern poetry it is still used as a desperate cry to the One in Heaven. One of the great examples of this desperate cry would be Sara Henderson Hay's "Rapunzel".After reading her modern version, familiarity with Grimm's fairy tale "Rapunzel" will reveal a completely new interpretation. Sara Hay chooses Rapunzel's prayer to be in the sonnet structure. Sonnet, being a part of a lyric genre, represents the most personal and direct speaking manner....   [tags: Hay Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
834 words (2.4 pages)

Significant Images in the Grimms’ Version of Rapunzel” Essay example

- Significant Images in the Grimms’ Version of “Rapunzel” “…the witch took her to the middle of the forest and shut her up in a tower that had neither stairs nor door, but only a little window at the very top.” (p. 74) A feeling of suspense is instilled just by reading this single line in “Rapunzel” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Elements evoking emotion in a story, such as suspense, increase the degree of entertainment thereby enhancing quality and enjoyment factors. This story is both superficially entertaining and subconsciously intriguing....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
1120 words (3.2 pages)

A Feminist View Of Rapunzel Essay

- A Feminist’s View of “Rapunzel” The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel” encourages women to subscribe to domestic roles. Through the tales of various female characters, “Rapunzel” teaches women to embrace their domesticity even at the risk and disadvantage of such a single-faceted lifestyle. The first female character is Rapunzel’s biological mother, who embodies the domestic women by relying on her husband and never leaving her house. Her husband encounters the enchantress in her own garden, who, though supernatural, cannot expand beyond the domestic realm....   [tags: Fairy tale, Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel]

Powerful Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers

- Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers Listless is the air in an empty room, just swelling the curtain; the flowers in the jar shift. One fibre in the wicker arm- chair creaks, though no one sits there. - Jacob's Room The year 1922 marks the beginning of High Modernism with the publications of T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. Woolf's novel, only her third, is not generally afforded the iconic worship and critical praise so often attached to those works of her most famous male contemporaries....   [tags: Jacob's Room Essays]

Powerful Essays
4385 words (12.5 pages)

The Disturbing Tone of Rapunzel Essay

- The Disturbing Tone of Rapunzel The story of "Rapunzel" has been passed throughout generations in the form of a fairy tale. Typical fairy tales come to a resolution ending ‘happily ever after’. It seems that there is always a villain, always a hero, and some sort of a moral or lesson to be grasped from each story (Rhetoric 102K/L class discussion/lecture, January 18, 2001). Most of the traditional fairy tales involve a ‘damsel in distress’, in which she is happily rescued by a true love....   [tags: Grimm Rapunzel Essays]

Powerful Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Comparing the Grimm Brothers' Rapunzel and Disney's Rapunzel

- Comparing the Grimm Brothers' Rapunzel and Disney's Rapunzel Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm also known as the Grimm brothers are historically known for their uniqueness both in their styles of writing and the exceptional illustrations of their works. Their age old literature has been told and retold with the essence of gothic architecture and contemporary children's stories for decades now. This essay will contrast the Grimm brothers story of Rapunzel and Disney's story of Rapunzel, it will also include comparing their illustrations with Molly Bang's theory....   [tags: Compare Contrast Comparison]

Powerful Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

Rapunzel Essay

- Rapunzel I have always enjoyed this fairytale, about a young woman with exceptionally long hair who is kept prisoner in a tall tower by a sorceress. The Grim Bothers and Zelinky's version is very different from each other. Zelinsky retells the story in another way. He brings the story alive and I was able to experience in a whole new way. One thing for readers to remember is that many fairytales were originally for adults, so that is the why they may not always seem quite age appropriate. Zelinky's version relates that Rapunzel reveals that she has had a visitor in the tower when she asks the sorceress to help her with her dress for, "it is growing so tight around my waist, it does not wa...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
577 words (1.6 pages)