(6/26/05 2:12 pm)
transformation vs. change in fortune|
I am wondering what the exact definitions of the transformation and change in fortune motifs are. Is transformation only designated to physical change from animal to man (or visa-versa)? Does fortune only mean money, or could it mean fate? It seems that if you take these motifs broadly, they could run together a bit.
I am new to this message board and new to the study of fairy tales, so sorry if this question seems silly. I guess I am a little confused.
(6/26/05 2:26 pm)
Re: transformation vs. change in fortune|
Hmmm...I don't think it's silly. But I think it may be up to you to determine the terms for your own analytical needs. One could argue that certain transformation are certainly unfortunate....the hero or heroine is transformed by a spell into an animal form, or mutilated (as in the Armless Maiden narratives). They appear as transformations to end the existing fortunes (lives and livelihoods) of the characters. But if the point of these transformation is to push these fledgling youths into their rite of passage as adults, then these misfortunes are part of the dialectical transformation of the child into adult. The old world must be torn apart by misfortune to allow for the new world. Maybe here, it could be argued that fortune is part of a definition of destiny or fate--the transformation into adulthood. (the good girl who succeeds in her trials and wins a wonderful husband, the bad girl who fails miserably winds up a deformed cripple with a lumpy husband.)
On the other hand, it is interesting to ponder the economic reading of "fortune" here--The rags to riches story that accompanies some rites of passage tales (Puss in Boots, Ivan and the Gray Wolf)...erstwhile but poor heroes whose lives are transformed by their ability to confront challenges with manly grace and wind up wealthy and married to a Princess. Here it almost seems as if the transformation into adulthood is simultaneous to the getting of wealth. Later versions of Cinderella seem to focus as much on her rise in social status as her coming of age. (though the earlier versions don't as she is both wealthy and powerful in those.)
Hmmm...then there are the transformations/fortune that happen in cautionary stories like The Fisherman and the Magic Fish...who at the insistence of the fisherman's wife, keeps upping his fortunes, transforming (at least in appearance) the social status and character of the Fisherman's wife...until of course her greed costs her everything.
Any way...I think it's an interesting question...
Edited by: midori snyder at: 6/26/05 2:31 pm