“Sleeping Beauty in the Woods” by Charles Perrault and “There was once” by Margaret Atwood are two remarkable literary pieces showing great mastery of both the English language and proper literary technique. A comparison of the plot and narrative technique in the two stories will help us better understand them and appreciate their value. In addition, it will bring forth the bountiful talent that both writers possess.
In “Sleeping Beauty in the woods”, the author veers clear of the continually repeated legendary tale and tells the story after the union of the Princess and the Prince. In his version, the two are united in matrimony and have two children, but the Prince keeps the whole affair a secret and Sleeping beauty respects his decision. After some time there is a war. The Prince has to go to so he tells his mother about his union with the Princess and leaves the Princess under her care. Unfortunately, his mother is a cannibal who hates children and she tortures Sleeping Beauty. The Prince upon returning from the war pushes his own mother into a deadly pit. On the other hand, Atwood through her story “There was once” makes a mockery of the traditional outline of a “classic” fairytale. She basically retells the Cinderella story and presents its biases in a less judgmental way. The author clearly overcomes each depiction including the views on beauty, good, and evil. In addition, she also handles the stereotypes against step-mothers, sibling rivalry, and the boys who look up to Prince Charming. The greatest message the author communicates is the fact that old fairytales with old ideals bear little or no reflection of life in these days and age.(Atwood, 45)
Both stories are fairytale classics that discourage readers from acting upon the content and leaving it like it were reality. In addition, in today’s world, living “happily ever after” bears a slightly different meaning because “happy” is not always constant and this gives it more value given that it is rare.