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The Silent Struggle: Autonomy for the Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers

The Silent Struggle: Autonomy for the Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers christy williams TheSilentStruggle Autonomy for the Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers The vein of fairy tales in which a girl enters into a period of silence, solitude, and weaving in order to free her brothers from a spell that has turned them into birds is quite puzzling. Referred to as ‘‘The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers’’ (previously ‘‘The Brothers Who Were Turned into Birds’’), these tales are classified as ATU 451 according to the basic plot types catalogued by Antti Aarne and translated by Stith Thompson in TheTypes of the Folktale and recently expanded by Hans-Jörg Uther inTheTypesof InternationalFolktales. It would be easy to praise these tales for their active heroines who save the day. It would be just as easy to dismiss them as yet more tales in which the heroine serves as the means to establish male power. After all, the various titles of the tale refer to her brothers, not to the heroine. However, these tales, like so many others, do not have a simple either/or interpretation. The heroine is a strong female character because she does act, but the silence required from her reinforces the submissive role of women and suggests her inferiority to men. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Silent Struggle: Autonomy for the Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers

The Comparatist , Volume 30 – Apr 26, 2006

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

christy williams TheSilentStruggle Autonomy for the Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers The vein of fairy tales in which a girl enters into a period of silence, solitude, and weaving in order to free her brothers from a spell that has turned them into birds is quite puzzling. Referred to as ‘‘The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers’’ (previously ‘‘The Brothers Who Were Turned into Birds’’), these tales are classified as ATU 451 according to the basic plot types catalogued by Antti Aarne and translated by Stith Thompson in TheTypes of the Folktale and recently expanded by Hans-Jörg Uther inTheTypesof InternationalFolktales. It would be easy to praise these tales for their active heroines who save the day. It would be just as easy to dismiss them as yet more tales in which the heroine serves as the means to establish male power. After all, the various titles of the tale refer to her brothers, not to the heroine. However, these tales, like so many others, do not have a simple either/or interpretation. The heroine is a strong female character because she does act, but the silence required from her reinforces the submissive role of women and suggests her inferiority to men.

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Apr 26, 2006

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