I’m working with my friend on line art for a contest entry and here are the sketches so far. She suggested a fairy tale theme and it was snow white that immediately came to mind, as I’d read all about it. I do this thing where I get focused on something and I spend hours, sometimes days or weeks immersing myself in information about that thing. It was a couple years ago when I had my snow white obsession, and I read all of the variant related folk-tales on wikipedia as part of that obsession.
One of the themes of Snow White left out of the most popular version is the telling of her story. In The Young Slave, The Sleeping Prince, The Goose Girl and The Maiden with a Rose on her Forehead the heroine’s redemption from her life of misfortune isn’t by receiving a princely kiss but by telling her story to objects, to things, and having her story simply overheard by a person.
Why is she so afraid to tell her story that she confides in objects rather than people? She doesn’t trust the ones who can save her. Snow White is nearly universally a figure of childlike innocence, not in the sense of naive ignorance but in a judicial sense, she is free of guilt. Her relation to the crime in her life is victimhood. She is attacked, violently. She is hunted and in hiding, subjected to slavery or menial labor by her protectors. She is even symbolically killed with tight ribbons, poison apple and comb. Even the replacement fawn’s heart from the woodsman who spares her in the common version is a symbolic death. Why not testify about these crimes when it is the testimony that ultimately frees her?
She never tells us.