“White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony!”

This week’s post is on Snow White. Before reading, I looked at the two pictures that go with the fairy tale. Using the images, I made a connection to the Disney version and predicted that Snow White would be found sleeping in a dwarf’s bed and that the dwarfs would hide her but eventually the queen would find her and (I hope unsuccessfully) kill her. I got the first part because Snow White is shown asleep in a bed surrounded by the male dwarfs gawking at her (one has a candle, telling me that this is happening at night). The second part (where I hope is when the queen unsuccessfully, but seemingly flawlessly, murders Snow White) I deduced this because Snow White is laying unconscious, again surrounded by the dwarfs as well as animals who are all look very sad.

While reading this fairy tale, I was entranced by how visual everything was. The imagery was strong and I found myself picturing it all in my head. It was a bit easy to forget that the story was a little disturbing (Snow White is literally a child. She’s seven. And since she is a princess in a fairy tale, we know she will get married at the end. Meaning she is still a little girl marrying some random older prince dude.) I consistently found myself thinking something was written using beautifully vivid language, bringing up the mental image of Disney’s Snow White, and then remembering that this one was about a prepubescent girl.

I also had to stop after the third time the queen tried to kill Snow White herself. I started to wonder what was up with the numbers in this. Could the authors possibly be trying to slip math into the story?! The number seven and three were all over the place. Snow White’s mother took three things she thought were beautiful and hoped she could have a child who compared to those three things (white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony wood). The queen made three attempts to kill Snow White (suffocation by tying up her laces too tight, poisoned hair comb, poisoned apple). There are seven dwarfs. The queen asks the mirror who was the fairest of the land seven times. Snow White is seven. The literature analyzing nerd inside of me wanted to do research to see if these numbers had any significance that the readers in that time would have grasped immediately.

Again, the Grimm version had a sort of happy ending that was still weird. The prince comes across her seemingly dead body, tries to buy her body from the dwarfs, convinces them to just give her body to them, his bumbling servant manage to jolt the poisoned apple piece out of her throat, they prepare for the wedding and invite her step mother who is then forced to dance in iron shoes (that were heated by fire before she wears them) until she literally drops dead. Yay, I guess? And even to that point, I had a little mental movie playing it out.

snowwhite5

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2 Comments

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2 responses to ““White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony!”

  1. Thank you for clearly describing the picture that lead to such a detailed prediction, very helpful in my vision. Did you ever find out if there was some sort of mathematical connection or any type of connection with the numbers 3 and 7? That is a very interesting pick up with the numbers though, something I will keep my eye on for sure when I read. I’m a little confused at the end with the whole dislodging of the apple, but maybe I am just struggling to try and picture how the Disney version went.

  2. Pingback: The Evolution of Snow White from Screen Darling to Warrior Princess | Culture Bean's Academic Musings

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