• For a woman to be good, she must be dead, or as
close to it as
possible. Catatonia is the good woman's
most winning quality.
Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, after pricking
her finger on a
spindle. The kiss of the heroic prince
woke her. He fell in love with her while she was
or was it because she was asleep?
Snow-white was
already dead when the heroic prince
fell in love with her, "I beseech you," he pleaded with
the 7 dwarfs, "to give it to me, for I cannot live without
looking upon Snow-white." It awake was not readily
distinguishable from it asleep.
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow-white, Rapunzel
~all are
characterized by passivity, beauty, innocence,
and victimization. They are archetypal good women victims by definition, They never think, act, initiate,
confront, resist, challenge, feel, care, or
question. Some-
times they are
forced to do housework.
They have one scenario of passage. They are moved,
as if inert, from the house of the mother to the house
of the prince. First they are objects of malice, then they
objects of romantic adoration. They do nothing to
That one other figure of female good, the good
fairy, appears from time to time, dispensing clothes
Onceuponatime: The Roles 43
or virtue. Her power cannot match, only occasionally
moderate, the power of the wicked witch. She does have
one physical activity at which she excels
she waves her
wand. She is beautiful, good, and unearthly. Mostly,
she disappears.
These figures of female good are the heroic models
available to women. And the end of the story is, it would
seem, the goal of any female life. To sleep, perchance
to dream?
The Prince, the Real Brother
The man
of flesh and bone; the man
is born, suffers, and dies-above all, who
dies; the man who eats and drinks and
plays and sleeps and thinks and
wills; the
man who is seen and heard; the brother,
the real brother,
Miguel de Unamuno,
Tragic Sense of Life
He is handsome and heroic. He is a prince, that is,
he is powerful, noble, and good. He rides a horse. He
travels far and wide. He has a
mission, a purpose. In-
evitably he fulfills it. He is a person of worth and a
worthwhile person. He is strong and true.
Of course, he is not real, and men
do suffer trying to
become him. They suffer, and murder, and rape, and
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