Both “Lessons from a Mirror” by Thylias Moss and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” by Anne Sexton provide a unique dialogue with the Snow White masterplot. Both works demonstrate how feminine beauty ideals and assumed purity are inextricably linked to a woman's inherent worth. Sexton accomplishes this while still remaining fairly in line with the masterplot yet her overall tone suggests disapproval of these ideals making her piece read almost as a satire, something that uses humor as a way to criticize a topic. Moss' tone also reads as disapproving but provides more of a response to the masterplot rather than following it, creating a strong feeling of tension in the piece. These two works provide versions of the Snow White tale which manage to relate to the masterplot while also forming a critique of it.
The language throughout Sexton's “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” likens Snow White more to an object than to any sort of sentient being. Vivid imagery, or descriptive language, is used to present a delicate and pristine sort of beauty to the reader. Snow White is said to have “cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper . . . rolling her china-blue doll eyes”(Sexton 3). This manner of comparison suggests that Snow White is beautiful because of the items of value that her physical attributes resemble. Comparing her to a doll is especially offensive because it suggests that she is a pretty, yet lifeless. It may also suggest that her actions depend on the whim of others as a dolls movements are controlled by a person. This sort of objectification is a vein that runs through every version of the Snow White tale to a degree. Snow White's name in and of itself is inherently objec...
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...th stanza. She realizes that by lacking whiteness and lacking virginity she is essentially seen as a void of nothingness by society. She lacks the two things that they value the most, so in a sense she lacks everything. Her personal sense of worth is greatly affected by these societal ideals, explaining the negativity atmosphere created when the author references herself throughout the poem. Moss' awareness allows her to call out and critique the societal ideals that are utilized and supported by the original Snow White masterplot and many of it's interpretations.
Anne Sexton's “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and Thylias Moss' “Lessons from a Mirorr” provide the modern reader with unique interpretations of the age old tale of Snow White. Both works utilize societal ideals of beauty and purity as they are linked to the worth of women as a way to critique this tale.
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