(12/16/04 7:33 pm)
With the season of the Nutcracker ballet here (saw it in Philly on Sunday!) I thought I'd toss out a question for your perusal.
Many articles on the ballet, stating that the ballet wanders far afield from the Hoffmann original, claim that in the original story Marie/Clara lived in a "loveless household."
Yet I have the translation of the Hoffmann story that was illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and it seems that this isn't the case. Marie and Fritz's parents, the Stahlbaums, seem quite loving towards their children. Papa, after Fritz breaks the Nutcracker, scolds his son about "wounding a soldier in battle"...stern, but with a twinkle in the eye, knowing how fixated Fritz is on his tin soldiers. He knows how to "speak his son's language."
After Marie cuts herself on the cabinet's glass during the Nutcracker's first battle with the Mouse King, Marie's mother is by her side when she wakes up, clearly very concerned. She does call Marie naughty, but it's clearly the relief of a loving parent who has been worried about her daughter. While Marie recovers, Mrs. Stahlbaum is described as coming to her daughter's bedroom every night and reading to her. (During one of these sessions, Drosselmeyer visits and tells her the Nutcracker's history.) None of this sounds "loveless" to me.
At the end, when Marie tries to convince her family it wasn't a dream, they do scoff at her and call her a "little dreamer"...but that's to be forgiven. They're grownups, after all.
So...where did this misconception get started?
(12/26/04 8:43 am)
Re: Nutcracker misrepresented?|
I agree- I have never viewed the original story as descriptive of a "loveless husehold." I see evidence that the adults have kept the children fromthe beautiful things for fear they might break them, I see normal family teasing of a sensitive child, I see a dark and strange family friend who may be an odd choice for a godfather, parental scolding and such.
I think this misconception was born out of one person writing an article, and many websites lifting the same article- word-for-word sometimes, paraphrased at others- and using it on their sites. I did a search for:
Nutcracker "loveless household"
and found the same words repeated over and over. In my own research, this has frustrated me, as I am looking for original opinions and information and I find the same old article repeatedly. It's ok to have once in my bookmarks list, but not as often as it appears, and I have no idea who the original author is.
Thank you for finding this key phrase- I will now be doing searches with a request for -"loveless household" and hope they do not get listed.
Forest frosts and sugarplum dreams,