Women in Russian Fairy Tales
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This paper examines several different Russian fairy tales focusing on the way women are depicted in these stories. The paper asserts that by analyzing these fairy tales, we can gain insight into the role and social status of women in early Russian society as well as learn something about the symbolic significance of the female sex in early Russia. The paper also points out that the stories were likely influenced by Christianity and the patriarchal social system and had decidedly male perspective as the authors were typically men and not women.
From the Paper:"A good woman (or a "perfect" woman, in Szarycz's terminology) in Russian fairy tales is simply one who does her duty faithfully. A woman's duty is housework: grinding corn, spinning yarn, making gruel. If she does these tasks faithfully, she will be rewarded with gifts. In "The Grumbling Old Woman," the title character's stepdaughter is "not clever enough and not pretty enough" and is therefore banished into the woods by the stepmother. Here she is all alone, but still does the housework, grinding millet and making gruel. For this she is rewarded by a wood goblin who gives her many gifts. She is finally vindicated when the stepmother calls her back home, for when the stepmother sees all the many gifts her stepdaughter is bringing with her, she changes her attitude and speaks to her politely and with great respect. In "Vasilisa the Beautiful," the heroine, Vasilisa, gets "weary of sitting without work" and begs to be allowed to do some spinning. She works hard at her spinning and produces the finest linen. Her reward for her hard work at the end of the story is that she gets to marry the tsar and live happily ever after. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Clements, Barbara Evans. "Introduction: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation." In Russia's Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation. Ed. by Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991. Pp. 1-13.
- Jakobson, Roman. "On Russian Fairy Tales." In Russian Fairy Tales from the collections of Aleksandr Afanas'ev. Trans. by Norbert Guterman. New York: Pantheon Books, 1945. Pp. 631-651.
- Kollmann, Nancy Shields. "Women's Honor in Early Modern Russia." In Russia's Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation. Ed. by Barbara Evans Clements, Barbara Alpern Engel, and Christine D. Worobec. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991. Pp. 60-73.
- Russian Fairy Tales from the collections of Aleksandr Afans'ev. Trans. by Norbert Guterman. New York: Pantheon Books, 1945.
- Sokolov, Y. M. Russian Folklore. Trans. by Catherine Ruth Smith. Hatboro, PA: Folklore Associates, 1966.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Women in Russian Fairy Tales (2014, May 22) Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/women-in-russian-fairy-tales-153870/
"Women in Russian Fairy Tales" 22 May 2014. Web. 20 June. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/women-in-russian-fairy-tales-153870/>