unsettling wonder

Household Tales: A Grimm Read-Through


Die drei Spinnerinnen [The Three Spinning Women] illus-097t

ales exist apart from their tellers. I get more convinced of this the more I read tales like this one. There are two tales here. Or rather, one tale beneath the other, struggling to break through and tell itself. But I’m at a loss to decipher whether it’s the tale itself or my own reading of it that I like.

To put it rather dully, this tale is dichotic. To put it more engagingly, this is a tale at war with itself. Is it the story of how to be a good repressed girl, a glib reiteration capitalistic propaganda—a story to be lauded in the darkest moments of Thatcherism? Or is it a radical restructuring of values and appearances, a manifesto for the promise of the other, a cry for welcome to the stranger, an insistence on solidarity and freedom?

Is it somehow both?

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