University of Hawai‘i at Hilo HOHONU 2019 Vol. 17
To contaminate an oral folktale or a literary fairy Commercializing the Fairy tale is thus to enrich it by artfully introducing Tale extraordinary motifs, themes, words, expressions, proverbs, metaphors, and characters into its Marisa Cortez corporate body so that it will be transformed and There is no doubt that we who live in the United form a new essence. (Zipes 103) States are part of a consumer culture. A large portion of Contamination happens most often from the the population spends countless hours at supermarkets, transition between traditions (e.g. oral to written department stores, and shopping malls as they buy traditions). Two well known contaminators of fairy tales things that they need, things that they want, and things are authors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Grimm that other people want. Now, at the click of a button, brothers were not writers of fairy tales, but they were we can order items online and it can arrive within the collectors of them. They often changed the fairy tales in same day. So what does this mean for the children who ways that would be desirable to German children. are undoubtedly immersed in this culture? It means that According to [Heinz] Rolleke, the Grimms they too will eventually become able consumers. As deliberately avoided titling their tales ‘German’ they are not making wages, parents/caregivers are doing because they were eminently aware of the ancient the consuming for them. But this does not mean that myths and tales from numerous other societies children are immune to being a market target. Certain and countries that contributed to the formation of advertisements target children, and it is very likely that the tales they gathered for their collections. (Zipes they include characters from the latest hit movie or 101) television show. As a kid, I recall Star Wars Mac’n’Cheese, Jack Zipes goes on to state the they were the greatest Disney Princess Fruit Snacks, Shrek Twinkies with green contaminators of the nineteenth century. ﬁlling, and other similarly marketed products crowding “Puriﬁcation is the elimination, deletion, and supermarket shelves. This also extended to books, toys, omission of linguistic items and/or themes that are games, clothes, bedroom decor, personal hygiene items, considered to go against ‘the set of values of the adult etc. What were once classic fairy tales, along with intermediary (Klingberg 1986)’”(Soares 164). Puriﬁcation modern day fairy tales, are being used to make a proﬁt often happens with the translations of fairy tales. There off of working people through their children. In this are four strategies of puriﬁcation according to Soares, paper I will be analyzing the transformation of fairy tales including: deletion, added explanation, substitution of to their modern form and the manner in which they are an equivalent, and rewording. Deletion can happen at commercialized for proﬁt. the word, sentence, paragraph, and story levels. Deletion In “Folk and Fairy Tales”, Martin Hallett and at the word, sentence, and paragraph level occur when Barbara Karasek use “fairy tale” as an umbrella term. It there are no substitutions for an equivalent or rewordings encompasses the oral folk tale, the literary tale, and every of any kind. Deletion at the story level occurs when morals variation in between. Merriam-Webster deﬁnes fairy tale of the story go against the culture values of the society as: (1a) “a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces the fairy tales are being translated into. Explanation is and beings (such as fairies, wizards, and goblins)”; (1b) added to tales in order to dilute and justify incidences “a story in which improbable events lead to a happy of violence and death, or to extend the description of ending”. The insertion of “as for children” seems to be events in order to add a tone of adventure. Substitutions a sign of the current times, whereas throughout history for an equivalent often happens at the word level. Words fairy tales have been for all age groups. Nonetheless, with lighter connotations are interchanged with their these two deﬁnitions combined cover the “magic” of heavier counterparts. It also occurs when there are no fairy tales and the expansive nature of the telling of a direct translations for words. Lastly, rewording occurs fairy tale. to add meaning and to dilute and justify incidences of The “-ation” of the Fairy Tale violence. It can also change the chronological sequence The sufﬁx “-ation” indicates “the process of”. What of a plot for clariﬁcation and clarity of the events. often happens to fairy tales is that they change, some Disneyﬁcation is “the transformation (as of something are minor and happen naturally with translation, while real or unsettling) into carefully controlled and safe other changes are major, which often have to do with entertainment or an environment with similar qualities” cultural values. Three changes that often occur are (Merriam-Webster). It is a relatively new word that’s ﬁrst contamination, puriﬁcation, and disneyﬁcation. known use, with the aforementioned deﬁnition, was in Contamination is “a term used by folklorists to 1959, according to Merriam-Webster. Disneyﬁcation is a point to foreign (or alien) elements that may have been form of puriﬁcation that is aimed at diluting and omitting added to or have seeped into what appears to be a much of the violence and atrocities that often occurred pure homogeneous tradition” (Zipes 102). Although the in old versions of fairy tales. It rightfully gets its name word contamination is often associated with negative from the result of Walt Disney’s inﬂuence on fairy tales. connotations, Zipes compares the contamination Contamination, puriﬁcation, and disneyﬁcation of fairy tales to a vaccination, which is ultimately a have moved fairy tales throughout time and between contamination of the body for its own good.
4 University of Hawai‘i at Hilo HOHONU 2019 Vol. 17 cultures. These processes allowed for many tales to be interpretations are on two opposite ends of the scale. adapted for different audiences, often changing and Today, the characters of the tales Wanda Gag brought to diluting their content to what is deemed appropriate for american children only live on through her books. The the time of their transformation. They have brought fairy characters brought to life by Walt Disney live on today tales to their current form, of which many are familiar through the Disney empire. with today. Disney and the Consumer Battle of the Snow Whites Disneyland, also known as The Magic Kingdom and “Snow White” is a commonly known fairy tale in the The Happiest Place on Earth, is a place for people of all United States today. In fact, a 2006 survey “found that ages to enjoy. It is for families to make new memories. It while only 24% of Americans could name two Supreme is for older generations to visit old memories. It is for new Court Justices, 77% could name two of Snow White’s couples and old couples alike. It is for far away visitors dwarves” (Gidwitz). The tale has its beginnings pre- and for close by neighbors. Disneyland is a place where dating the Grimm brothers, but the Grimm’s published dreams come true and where all major credit cards are the story and entered it into the written tradition. accepted. “Sneewittchen” or “Snow White” was included in their From “Steamboat Willie”, to “Snow White and ﬁrst publication of “Children’s and Household Tales”, the Seven Dwarfs,” “The Nutcracker and the Four as well as the other six publications of the book. From Realms”(2018), and 734 movies in between, Disney is a there, are many translations and versions, but I will be household name all around the world. With hundreds of comparing and contrasting how Wanda Gag and Walt box ofﬁce hits and millions of dollars (domestically) per Disney used “Snow White” for their careers. hit, Disney is no stranger to consumer culture. In the United States, the ﬁrst three decades of the Their commercial success has not been limited to twentieth century marked the boom of the popularity of box-ofﬁce proﬁts that totaled over $598.8 million fairy tales. Wanda Gag, already an author and famous in 1994. Successfully connecting the rituals of for her book “Millions of Cats”(1928), decided to consumption and moviegoing, Disney’s animated embark on a translating journey. She would translate ﬁlms provide a ‘marketplace of culture,’ a 52 Grimm tales in “Tales from Grimm” (1936), “Snow launching pad for an endless number of products White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1938), “Three Gay Tales and merchandise that include videocassettes, from Grimm” (1943), and “More Tales from Grimm” soundtrack albums, kid clothing, furniture, stuffed (1947), the last of which was published posthumously. toys, and new rides at theme parks. (Giroux 69) Gag’s goal was to recapture the magic and memories Giroux’s article is a bit dated, but it does not diminish of her childhood when she ﬁrst discovered the Grimm’s the successful market Disney has created. The parks tales. Zipes notes that her translations: Strive for personal alone attract millions of visitors annually. A single-day tone of a story teller sitting across from a child. Most of pass for Anaheim’s Disneyland in 2018 costs $97.00- the tales are reduced in length and all the redundancies $135.00USD. There is also the option of being an annual are eliminated. Motivation is explained, and lurid passholder which began in 1984 from which prices horror is avoided. Although Gag translated freely, as she have gone up. The following statistics are gathered from emphasized, she rarely changed the plots in a radical “Disneyland Annual Passport Price Over Time | Ultimate fashion. (Zipes 90-91). Walt Disney, however, completely Guide”. The SoCal Select Annual Passport (AP), only removed any vivid horror from his ﬁrst full length feature available to Southern California residents, has seen a ﬁlm, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1938). In 173% increase now priced at $369USD. The SoCal 1920, prior to releasing “Snow White and the Seven AP, different from the select, has seen a 247% increase Dwarfs”, he “created and marketed his ﬁrst original in price now priced at $499USD. Both SoCal Annual animated cartoons and later perfected a new method Passports are now only available as renewals. The Deluxe for combining live-action and animation” (“About AP has seen a 223% increase now priced at $729USD. Walt Disney”). He also created the cartoon “Steamboat The newest additions to the Annual Passport family, The Willie”, later known as Mickey Mouse, who would Signature, Signature Plus, and Premier, currently stand at become the face of Disney. A franchise that began with the prices of $999, $1,149, and $1,579 USD respectively. his animation studio, Disney Brother Animation Studios, Disney has also successfully moved into other markets and has continued to expand with the development as well. Not only have they expanded the parks to of the popular theme park, Disneyland, and so much four other locations worldwide, they have the Disney more. Preceding “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, Channel, the Disney Cruise, Aulani Disney Resort and Walt Disney was an innovative cartoonist and soon after Spa, Adventures by Disney, the ofﬁcial Disney Fan club the release of his ﬁrst full length feature ﬁlm, he would (D23), Scholarship Programs, the Disney Conservation create an empire. Fund, Disney’s American Teacher Awards, Disney Although, “both Disney and Gag did the exact Weddings, Disney Youth Groups, and the list goes on same thing [by americanizing] the Grimm’s tale and (Disneyland Annual Passport Price Over Time | Ultimate [exploiting] the ﬁgure of Snow White for personal and Guide, 2018). professional purposes” (Zipes 93), the product of their Disney created an empire with characters he adopted