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Fairy Tales 101: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Fairy Tales 101 articles discuss a hidden aspect of apparently innocent tales with happy endings. The stories tackled in this series were part of countless childhoods and helped to shape the personalities and lives of kids around the world. Due to the huge influence of these tales, these 101 series of articles aims to delve deeper into the beginning of Fairy Tales, track the original manuscripts of some of the most popular fictions, and analyze the changes made throughout the decades. The articles will also look at these fairy tales through a psychoanalytical lens, to try to decipher the implicit symbols and meanings.

Fairy Tales 101 is mainly divided into 6 articles, as follows:

The Origin of Fairy Tales

Once upon a time: The Oldest Fairytale; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

• Midnight Mystery: Cinderella

• Cursed to Slumber: Sleeping Beauty

• The Ultimate Sacrifice: The Little Mermaid

• The 21st Century Fairytale: A modern twist on traditional works.

Once Upon a Time: The Oldest Fairytale; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Figure 1: Illustration of Schneewittchen from the German fairytale book Marchenbuch (1919)

The first part of the Fairy Tales 101 explained that literature tends to evolve and progress to meet the needs of the ever-changing societies and their respective cultures. Throughout the years, new genres and sub-genres have emerged to cater to the novel tastes of readers around the world. Due to their oral origins, fairytales are one of the few genres with great flexibility and adaptability,and have undergone a multitude of retellings and revisions to suit their audience. During the early 19thcentury, the Brothers Grimmleft behind a hefty collection of children’s tales that stood the test of time and are still famous nowadays. Their oldest tale,Schneewittchen, which roughly translates to Snow White, has been the subject of numerous changes and altercations. While the first article of this series introduced the beginning of the fairytale as a genre, this week’s article aims at looking the oldest and arguably one of the most famous fairytales, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and interpreting some of its underlying meanings.