Is Female Villainy All That Bad: the Disappointing Heroines of the Fairy Tales Grimm

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

Looking for heroines in the fairy tales Grimm can get very discouraging. Those few women who do have agency still fail—to my contemporary standards, at least—to qualify as heroines. Women in these stories do not ask for what they want (they probably don’t even know what they want as they haven’t been taught to search for it); they do not claim or define their own identity; they never refuse marriage or children or any task assigned to them, no matter how unfair. To be succinct, they never say no. They politely nod (no smiling) and acquiesce. So it remarkably seems to me—at risk of being controversial—that the closest figure to resemble a powerful, assertive heroine in the Grimm tales is the female villain.

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Tracking Witches from the Forest to the Home: Bewitched and the Fairy Tales Grimm

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

The realm of magic was always governed by women. Women are nymphs, they are jealous goddesses; they are lustful and vengeful monsters like Medusa, and dangerous women yielding destructive power like Pandora. In fairy tales they are witches, they are crones, they are evil stepmothers and hags. The norm in history and in the literature seems to be that magical women are to be burned, contained—but what happens when they resist?

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A Young Writer’s Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

Ursula K. Le Guin came into my life at the most formative time—not childhood or adolescence, but when I began to take writing seriously: in college. My first creative writing professor urged us to draw maps of our stories; “if you can’t visualize the space your characters inhabit, how will you show the reader?” On the projector, he put up maps from The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and A Wizard of Earthsea. On the back page of my notebook I made a list: “Must Read.” To it, I added: Le Guin, Earthsea. Every workshop, this same professor brought books that reminded him of that day’s story and provided more worlds to inspire us. Earthsea popped up again, so I circled it on my list: it was time to read about Ged.

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The Monster Within: Getting The Grip of It

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

Jac Jemc’s new novel, The Grip of It, is a story of a haunted house and the couple within it. At her reading during the Texas Book Festival, Jemc spoke about using the haunted house trope as a metaphor for the couple’s deeply rooted problems. The more they are disturbed by the unknown of the house and its surrounding area, the more is revealed of the dysfunction of their relationship.

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The Importance of Generating Compassion as a Fiction Writer

Written by Carolina Eleni Theodoropoulos

A couple of weekends ago at the Texas Book Festival, Karen Shepard presented her new collection, Kiss Me Someone, while in conversation with Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! Shepard spoke heavily about the responsibility she feels as a writer to cultivate compassion for characters that sometimes appear monstrous.

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