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Author
Comment
katherine
Registered User
(10/9/06 6:50 am)


princes and the pea - sexual connatations?

Most fairytales have sexual connatations woven into them that appear fairly obvious to an adult reading them, but i find the story of 'The Princes and the Pea' quite ellusive in this way. Does anyone have any ideas as to any underlying themes in this tale? What does the pea represent? Is it a reference to something sexual?
Thanks

searsmith
Registered User
(10/9/06 8:50 am)



purity
Delicacy of sensation -- refinement of physical nature -- has long been associated with heightened moral sensibility. In this case, the princess's extreme discomfort at something so small as a pea buried under a pile of mattresses suggests her body is extremely sensitive, her senses extraordinarily perceptive. Coarse, vulgar sensation has no appeal for her, and ought not to be brought into her presence. Her body is so tender, in fact, it is practically spiritualized.

In addition to this suggestion of purity, the princess's inherited (perhaps inbred) sensitivity suggests the refined bodies of the nobility -- how very blue her blood is. In the decadent movement, such sensitivity came to signify artistic temperament, and was still associated with a fallen aristocracy, which was once essentialized by blood (see Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher").

katherine
Registered User
(10/9/06 11:02 am)


Re: purity
Thank you for your reply, it was very interesting and alot there that i didnt know about until now. It makes sense now, so thanks again!
I was kind of wondering whether the pea was a reference to a clitorus and whether she was aware of it i.e 'aware of her sexuality' - if she was aware, she wouldnt be classed as pure because she had carnal knowledge?

Monika
Registered User
(10/9/06 8:25 pm)


Re: purity
It's also worth bearing in mind that Andersen was pretty repressed and not at all comfortable with the whole idea of sexuality (and especially female sexuality). You can certainly read a reflection of this attitude in many of his stories.

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