Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ellen's book pages 3 and 4

ellenBook02
ellenBook01
ellenBook03
ellenBook04

The frog Ellen's drew inspired me to make this book about the story of the Prince Frog.

18 comments:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! This is very cool! I love the lines and color. Is this round 2 or round 3? I am hoping to see it in person so I can read it better.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I always love your birds in the background and your color choices are wonderful.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I did manage to read it! :-D. A good retelling. :-D

Mike Kline said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Lovely...

ballookey said...

So beautiful - Your background is so detailed, it's a complete work in itself! I love the color (of course ;)

Aya Rosen said...

This is round 3.
This is the story: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/frog.html#grimm2
Though I have to say, it makes very little sense, and the moral is not quite clear to me.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Oh goody, I am so glad I will get to see this in person. I was actually able to make out the story int he larger version. BUT I will be so PLEASED to see it for real.

:-D

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

ha ha, I went to the site and was pleased and delighted by the many versions of the story,a nd even though I had heard it before, of course, I really have NO IDEA what the moral is.

Most of us, if we kiss a toad, get a toad.

Maybe the moral of the story is that "ugly" people can have deep inner beauty?

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

from asker.com:

Don't overlook something (or someone) that you might not like or understand because underneath it might be something wonderful.

A corollary moral is "you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince".

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

from answers.com: To put it simply, don't judge a book by its cover. Someone "ugly" on the outside may actually be a wonderful person.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

and from themes in literature: Here are some possibilities . . .  It’s important to keep your promises.  Don’t look down on those who help you.  Appreciate the things that people do for you.  Honor your word.  If you live up to your word, good things will happen to you.

I think I like this one best.

ballookey said...

Actually, when I was a child I too thought the moral was along the lines of not judging people by their appearance, but as I get older, i can't help but see them differently:

There, there ladies, submit to the advances of the toady men and you'll be rewarded. The reward is often characterized as him becoming a young and attractive prince - a reward that would be enticing to a young and romantically-minded girl - but that would be unlikely. The reality is that a toad remains a toad, but the purpose of the story is to cajole women into a marriage they find undesirable. It's not as if the woman in the story EVER sees anything in the toad BEFORE he transforms. At best, she accepts him reluctantly, or only because a promise has been given and therefore she must proceed against her own wishes.

They don't use a toad in these stories for no reason, either. Toads were seen as devilish and poisonous. They symbolized an utterly undesirable and revolting creature. If it were just about looks, the cursed prince could just take the form of a mouse, or mule or something otherwise unassuming. But to make the story resonate with it's intended audience: young girls in risk of being married off in arranged marriages to unappealing older men, the prince has to be cast as a something revolting, not just unassuming or merely ugly.

It's more in keeping with the time in which they were written where marriages of women were frequently arranged to some degree. Additionally the "sisters" who reject the toad are often characterized as cruel, shallow, and frequently are thoroughly punished by the story's end. It's interesting to note that NO ONE wanted to marry the toad, but the women who reject the unappetizing option are often vilified in these stories. It should be unthinkable in modern society to scorn women for rejecting a situation where they might be tricked into marrying an asshole lout who makes unwanted advances on them.

We think the story is about pure physical attraction - something that didn't much matter when it came to arranged marriages. It's a moral that only entered the story in it's modern retelling and that hides what I think is the story's uglier true secret mission:

Ladies, if a revolting toad makes advances on you, submit!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

You're probably absolutely RIGHT about that.

Not that we can't take other more pleasant meanings from it like the ones suggested by themes from literature, but I believe you've hit the nail on the head and that revising the story or its interpretation for our young girls might be a healthy thing to do.

Aya Rosen said...

what really bugs me is isn't that the toad is just ugly, but that he's blackmailing the girls to take him in, so not only he's not pretty, he's also nasty.

Then the girl takes him in not because she respect his personality, but because she made a stupid promise just to prove a point to her sister.

I guess the moral is "better marry a nasty toad then stay single"?!

ballookey said...

I think what's wonderful about your illustration is that it features the first two princesses and excludes the third - it's exactly the sort of subversive message I'd love to see accompanying traditional tales.

Something Different said...

a toad remains a toad

yep!

I love that your piece has sprouted this lovely debate about the morals behind fairy tales. Y'all should take this argument to Disney's doorstep. I cringe when I see my 5-year-old niece watching some of those prince/princess movies. I know out culture is built on them, but does it have to be?

henniemavis said...

How the heck did I miss this until now? I won't chime in, other than to say Aya, your work sometimes floors me... the hand-lettered text you did on this, WOW. And the images are drop dead gorgeous!

The storyline, its moral & the ensuing discussion here is provocative, to say the least. I will be reading links now & since I have your book, maybe illustrate a tale of my own in it!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Change can only happen when enough people agree to make it happen.