Essay about Article Summary of to Spin a Yarn

1262 Words Apr 24th, 2013 6 Pages
“We can begin to explore the lineage of women as tale-tellers in a history that stretches from Philomela and Scheherazade to the raconteurs of French veillees and salons, to English peasants, governesses, and novelists, and to the German Spinnerinnen and the Brother’s Grimm.” (53-54) In the chapter “To Spin a Yarn: The Female Voice in Folklore and Fairy Tale” from Fairy Tales and Society: Illusion and Paradigm, Karen E. Rowe explores the depth and history of voicelessness of women and how the combination of spinning and tale-telling was their way of speaking in a society that would not let them. She takes the reader on a tale of a complex history that starts in ancient history with the Greeks, goes to the French, the English, German and …show more content…
By “telling admonitory stories of past times and by demonstrating Scheherazade’s chaste fidelity. Scheherazade’s purity.” (59), Scheherazade is demonstrating the three kinds of special knowledge that “seems to be attributed to women: the knowledge of sexual passion, the knowledge of healing, and the wisdom to spin tales” (59)
The tales associated with women and spinning make their way to the “learned Ladies” of the French court as well as Italian and English. This is where the tales were immersed into royal culture and then made its way to the folk. “These Italian, French and English derivates from the Greek and Latin, compel us to see the origin of fairy as closely related to female acts of birthing, nursing, prophesying, and spinning – as ancient myth makes plain.” (63) Recall the three Fates and how in their hands they hold the birth, life and death. “In these women’s hands, literally and metaphorically, rests the power of birthing, dying, and tale-spinning.” (63) Even in myth, the three Fates are ladies, the first deciding birth, the second deciding life and the third deciding when the person of choice would die.
When the tales made their way to German tradition, where Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm copied the stories down and published their works, there is a notable change in the way the stories were told. “Grimm Brothers regarded as the fathers of

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