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Susan Bobby
Registered User
(5/29/07 9:40 pm)


Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
A friend of mine is doing some research for a paper and needs to know any suggestions of classic tales or contemporary tales that contain elements of female rivalry, either sister vs. sister or friend vs. friend. The paper is on Margaret Atwood, so it has to be work published prior to Atwood's publications. I appreciate any and all responses to this question!

Susan

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(5/29/07 9:50 pm)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
Look at pretty much all of the Kind and Unkind Sister tales, such as Diamond and Toads. Some are stepsisters and some are blood relatives. I have an extensive collection of these tales on SurLaLune.

Some versions of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella also fit.

There's also the rivalry between princess and servant in The Goose Girl.

And that's just some of the most common tales.

Heidi

AliceCEB
Registered User
(5/30/07 10:03 am)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
Jane Austen's books have a fair amount of female vs. female rivalry. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE has some sisterly rivalry, although more strikingly friend vs. friend rivalry. EMMA has an interesting twist of friend vs. friend rivalry, because class issues are also relevant.

A different slant is Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN, where the relationships are complicated, but there is some sister vs. sister rivalry about the young man (whose name escapes me) who they are friendly with.

Best,
Alice

Edited to add that I posted the reply without properly looking at the subject header. These are not, of course fairy tales, but they are stories that Attwood is very likely to have read. Please ignore if this doesn't help

Edited by: AliceCEB at: 5/30/07 10:05 am
Writerpatrick
Registered User
(5/30/07 12:17 pm)


Re:Female rivalry
Snow White is all about female rivalry: Snow White vs. The Queen.

aka Greensleeves
Registered User
(5/30/07 2:13 pm)


Re: Re:Female rivalry
The ballad "Cruel Sisters,"

Grimms' "Black Bride and White Bride,"

"Kate Crackernuts,"

Greek myth of Arachne and Athene (although to a Greek mind, that story is about hubris, I think for modern purposes it's entirely possible to interpret it as rivalry),

"The Lai of Lanval," by Marie de France (~eh, maybe)

I want to say some of the Old Norse stories have elements of female-to-female conflict, but I'm not coming up with specifics. I can't remember the story of Sigurd well enough to recall how much rivalry (if any) existed between the two women.



Edited by: aka Greensleeves at: 5/30/07 2:13 pm
MaryCatelli
Registered User
(5/30/07 6:52 pm)


Re: Re:Female rivalry
Sigurd definitely has female rivalry -- Sigurd dies because his wife tells Brynhilda that she was tricked into marrying the man who could not go through the flames.

On the other hand -- Kate Crackernuts? That's not rivalry between sisters or friends; the girls get along fine. The stepmother is jealous of her stepdaughter, to be sure, but drops out of the story very early.

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(5/30/07 7:24 pm)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
Let's see. Cinderella has already been mentioned. Fair, Brown, and Trembling is even pronounced, since the mother/stepmother does not appear at all; it's all sisters. Other forms include The Story of Tam and Cam, The Wonderful Birch, and The Sharp Grey Sheep.

In many variants of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the hero must go off and marry another woman when the heroine breaks a taboo; could be regarded as form of rivalry, though they are hardly friends. In The King of Love, the sisters persuade her to break the taboo, which might be jealousy.

Pintosmalto and Master Semolina have the hero actively kidnapped by a rival, although a strange woman.

One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, a Grimm tale, also features sibling rivalry; the middle sister is the picked on heroine.

The Three little Birds feature the oldest daughter as the victim of her sisters' rivalry. Other tales like this have the youngest, but against her sisters are rivals, as in The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird. A good number of those tales are mother-in-law/daughter-in-law rivalry, which would appear to be a different kettle of fish; sometimes she combines with the sisters, as in Ancilotto, King of Provino (You may note that everyone gets along just fine in the next generation. It appears to help when there are brothers.)

In
The Feather of Finist the Falcon
and The Three Sisters, the sisters actively harm the hero to make the blame fall on the heroine

kristiw
Registered User
(5/30/07 9:25 pm)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
It would be interesting to compare (step)mother/daughter and sister/sister rivalry, since in the first case it always seemed to me to have to do with a conservation of roles in the story. Especially in Snow White-- it's the old maid/mother/crone motif, and once the maiden is becoming the mother (when she gets old enough to usurp that role) the mother becomes the witch, by default. There isn't any other role available to her. Since there's no transition in age between sisters or friends, there's something else going on. Even in their rivalry I can't think of a story where the *young* competitor is a witch: in most of the stories she has a convenient mother acting vicariously on her behalf.

About Kate Crackernuts, and variants, I don't know, Mary-- I agree that there's no rivalry on the part of the sisters, but I think the fact that rivalry is set up on their behalf and they refuse to cooperate makes it even more interesting for these purposes.

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(5/31/07 5:49 pm)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
Even in their rivalry I can't think of a story where the *young* competitor is a witch: in most of the stories she has a convenient mother acting vicariously on her behalf.

Actually, a good number of the Cinderella variants have no mother figure at all.

vlronn
Registered User
(5/31/07 6:36 pm)


female rivalry
Beauty and the Beast and, earlier, Cupid and Psyche have the sisters of Beauty and Psyche as selfish and envious women. Beauty is encouraged to leave her husband for too long and Psyche to find out what her husband looks like, both with almost disastrous consequences.

There is an old story of a woman with two girls, one ugly and ill-tempered whom she loves and one beautiful and kind whom she treats as a servant. One day the beautiful one falls down a well and meets a witch whom she serves and who rewards her for her service. When she returns to her mother, the mother sends the other girl to work for the witch. However, since the other sister is so mean-spirited, she is punished rather than rewarded. I think this is a Grimm story but I can't remember the name of it.

Edited by: vlronn at: 6/1/07 6:34 am
MaryCatelli
Registered User
(5/31/07 7:57 pm)


Re: female rivalry
Mother Holle

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(5/31/07 8:37 pm)


Re: Classic fairy tales with female rivalry
Come to think of it, there are fairy tales where the heroine has rivalries with her fellow female servants. The Little Girl Sold with the Pears -- Calvino included that in his collection. The Three Aunts Catskin

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