Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blog 13: The last one!

When I chose to take this class I thought I was only taking it to get some of my McDaniel plan requirements out of the way and it looked pretty interesting, but as we started to have more and more classes I realized that I was getting much more out of it than I thought. When I was younger I didn't realize all the different messages that can be gotten from fairy tales and how there can be underlying themes throughout them. I just saw them as a form of entertainment, but then I came to realize that they were that and ways to see things like what is right and wrong. I really enjoyed all the material covered in class because we learned about tales from all over and we got to see how different cultures use the tales and how some of them have the same themes even though they originated in a completely different areas. The class wasn't challenging so much because I found myself enjoying what we had to read so it made the class that much easier to talk about because some times I could relate to what was going on in the tales. Sometimes if I didn't fully understand what was going on in a tale I probably should have reread what was going on, but other than that I don't believe that I didn't spend enough time on the material. My favorite part of the class was when we were asked to draw pictures about the tales, whether it was in class with groups or on our midterm it was interesting to see what other people saw when they read the tales. The same goes for when people would talk about what they were getting from each tale because everyone gets something different out of every tale. I love how fairy tales can be seen in everything from an oral story, a written tale, to a movie or even in music videos such as Sonne by Rammstein. That music video was also another one of my favorite parts because it shows something that is simple and seen as something that is for kids to be in a rock video. It shows how diverse of an audience that fairy tales have. The main thing is learned is that fairy tales teach people values, beliefs, rules, and different taboos. They are made mostly for adults and children alike and they are a great source of entertainment. You as listeners or readers and take what ever you like or think of the tale because it is never wrong. A fairy tale is something you can relate to whether your relating to the motif, lesson/moral, or just the character in general. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blog 12 Bangladesh

On Thursday Dr. Shabbir Mian, the physics professor came to our class and taught us about fairy tales from Bangladesh. A big difference between these tales and European tales is that the people that listen to these tales truly believe in what is being told unlike the Europeans. The tales from Bangladesh show the traditions of the people and give us a look into their belief system. Bangladesh is on a delta, meaning that it is surrounded by a lot of water, which makes the landscape very lush and green and it does not have very many tall trees. This landscape plays a large role in many of their tales. If a tall tree is sen in a tale it is important and normally will contain some type of demon in it. Because they are surrounded by a lot of water, their main form of transportation is on boats and a lot of their tales involve crossing the seven seas or rivers. Things commonly seen in the tales are also fishermen and endless supplies of rice because they are important to the culture. The tales that come from Bangladesh are called Rupkotha, which translates into beautiful words. These tales are different because they do not contain fairies like most others and they were made for children and adults alike. These tales originated from five books called Panchatantra in 550 AD. One of the most popular author of these tales is Ashraf Siddiqui and he often wrote about a little bird called a tuntuni. Like tales from the Europeans you can see some similar motifs such as good vs evil, greed vs. generosity, and that evil is punished. The types of characters that you see are demons, monsters, kings and queens and you also see a lot of magic, ghosts, talking animals and all these characters going through transformations. Overall I found this lecture to be very interesting and I learned a lot about the culture and their tales through it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blog 11 Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are very interesting. The little mermaid is one of my favorite children’s movies so it was interesting to see the differences between this version and the movie. Andersen’s tales were not made for children and you can see this because there are vulgar parts and you can see that there is a lot of pain and/or suffering. This is a difference from some of the stories we have read. As well as there isn’t really that fairy tale ending that we normally see. In the little mermaid we see that the mermaid doesn’t get to marry the love of her life and because of this she turns into air. Normally we see the main characters live happily ever after, they don’t normally die. Although there are differences some things seen in his story are similar to others that we have read. We see some similar motifs such as love and villains and also the main character goes through a transformation of some sort. The villain of the Little Mermaid was the sea witch and when we meet her you see how the mermaid is going to have to suffer, but she does it for her love. When we look at the stories you see that the main character is very young and that is normally a common theme seen through most of the stories that we have read. Because the character is so young, I think it made if very easy to change this story into a children’s movie. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog 10 African Fairy Tales

Dr. Ochieng’ K’Olewe’s presentation was very interesting. I thought that out of all the guest speakers that we have in class so far, he was one of the most entertaining presenters to listen to. When he came to our class you could tell right away that he was going to be very energetic and enthusiastic when telling the class about folktales and story telling in Africa. Another reason why I enjoyed this lecture is because Dr. Ochieng’ K’Olewe was very interactive with the class, having us sing and dance along with him as he told us his tales. This lecture enriched my knowledge of folk and fairy tales because it gave me a better understanding of how people in Africa look at these tales and why they tell them. The professor told us the reasons that people use these tales were to celebrate wit and their culture, as well as to entertain the people. They teach people values, beliefs, rules, and different taboos. These tales and stories were normally told at night after everyone was done with work. And they wanted everyone to focus only on the voice so they liked to tell them in the dark so people could only listen to the words of the tale. The main thing I learned about these tales are that they bring the African community together, that even now more people use the verbal form of the stories than the written versions. The stories bring the old and young together for bonding time and it gives the people a sense that the community is not lost. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blog 9 Fitchers Bird

My favorite Bluebeard tale out of those we read would have to be Fitcher’s Bird. This tale was my favorite because it has the women getting revenge on the villain. Bluebeard is a evil old man that takes the lives of beautiful young girls because they let their curiosity get the best of them. Unlike the other versions of the tale the women are given keys and an egg. The sorcerer tells the girls when he is about to leave that they need to, ”Carry it with you wherever you go, because if it gets lost, something terrible will happen.” Even after this warning and after he told the women not to go into the small room they still disobey him and the first to women are brought to their doom. The last sister of the Three is still obeying her husband but is seen as being so much smarter than the other two because she keeps the egg in a safe place. Once she sees the room and that her sisters are in the room she knows that she must do something to save them. This part is probably my favorite when the third sister put the pieces of the first two sisters back together and they magically are alive again. The last sister is so smart that she even gets Bluebeard to take the sisters that he killed home and fools him when she walks right past him dressed up as a bird. The reason this version of the tale is my favorite is because everyone is fooled by the last sister and because of her wit all the villains are killed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog 8 Rags to Riches

“Rags to Riches” is a common motive seen in the Cinderella tales, but how realistic is this motive. Of course people can marry a person that is very wealthy and become rich themselves, but how often does that happen. Not very much, so when it does it is compared to a fairy tale because this is the most common place to see this occur. In the Cinderella tales you see a beautiful girl that is treated poorly by her step family and eventually is found by a prince because he found her glass slipper and they live happily ever after, with the evil step family somehow being punished. If only in real life could this happen to the average person on a regular basis. Even though a few lucky people get to live out this lucky rags to riches fairy tale, it does not always mean that they are happy because money doesn’t always bring happiness. A lot of times a person may come from "rags" and just find their dream person, not necessarily obtain riches from the marriage. A more convincing rags to riches story occurs for people who start at the bottom of the totem pole at their job and work their way up to get promotions and become rich and successful like they wanted. Although Cinderella is a great tale it is not very realistic.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blog 7 Seeing The Voice

The lecture by Drs. Rust and Rose was very interesting. Being an ASL student at McDaniel, I already have a fairly good idea about the ASL culture and history, but it was nice having a deeper look into the story telling aspect of the language. It is so amazing to me how little people in the US understand about the culture and the negative connotations they associate with the deaf community and it is very unfortunate. As Dr. Rust explained to the class there were some famous people such as Aristotle that said that Deaf people were dumb and didn’t deserve to breathe because they had nothing in their brains, but this is because people did not take time to understand their language. It was interesting to hear about Dr. Rust’s background and about his family. He told us that his Father refused to use ASL outside of his own home because he didn’t want people to think that he was dumb. I feel like that it is very sad that a person would have to feel that way about the language that they speak. Now that people are better understanding the language and culture, deaf people are more confident in using sign and signers now sign higher and use their whole body unlike in the past when they would try to hide it. It is also interesting to see how technology has helped the deaf culture advance and how it makes things much more accessible to the deaf. ASL is a visual language and can show so much feeling and expression, unlike English. Many hearing people think that ASL is just broken English, but they are very different in structure. Watching the few stories that Ricky signed to the class you can see how you can get so much more meaning and emotion out of the story than the tales told in English. A story told in ASL has so much in it that a 2-3 min story in sign would take at least ten pages for a person to tell in English. The lecture enriched my understanding of folktales by showing us yet another culture that uses these tales to spread history of their culture to different people. Dr. Rust told us that many of the tales told in ASL actually are told to make fun on the dominant culture or the speaking. Seeing of these types of tales was interesting because all of us in class are used to just hearing tales from speaking people and not in ASL.