Hansel and Gretel



Hansel and Gretel lived with their step mother and their father. Hansel was a boy and Gretel was a girl. Their father was a wood cutter and they lived near a forest. The family was very poor and did not have enough to eat. One night Hansel and Gretel heard their parents planning to leave them in the forest. The woodcutter did not want to leave his children in the forest, but his wife forced him to leave them.

When they went into the forest the next day, Hansel dropped shiny pebbles on the path. The children were left by themselves. However, when it was night, the moon made the pebbles shine brightly. Hansel and Gretel followed the trail of pebbles back to their home.

Sometime later there was again no food. The woodcutter and his wife took Hansel and Gretel into the forest again. This time Hansel did not have any shiny pebbles, so he dropped small pieces of bread on the path. But the birds ate the pieces of bread so Hansel and Gretel could not find their way to home. They were lost in the forest for three days. They become very hungry. luckily they found a house made out of bread, cake and sugar. At the moment they saw, they began to eat it.

But it was the house of a witch. When she saw two children eating her house, she greeted them politely at first and gave Hansel and Gretel lots of food, but then she locked Hansel in a small shed and made Gretel do lots of work. The witch wanted to eat Hansel and she was waiting until he got fat. However, Gretel pushed the witch into the over. She rescued Hansel and the witch was burnt to death.

Hansel and Gretel tried to find their home. They came to a river but there was no boat and even a bridge. However, they were carried across the water by a large white duck. When they got home, they discovered that their stepmother had died. They gave their father lots of jewels that they had taken from the witch’s house and after that they were all very happy.

Important Questions and Answers:

Write the psychological analysis of Hansel and Gretel.

The writer in his adapted story Hansel and Gretel presents the psychological analysis of the story. In this story, he expresses a unique truth of life that poverty and deprivation make human beings selfish and less sensitive to others sufferings. The writer tells us that when the children grow up, they must learn to live separately from their parents. Hansel and Gretel have left in the forest in order to give them a chance to learn to live independently. However, they have come back as they have not been able enough to live apart from their parents. The children have again been left in the forest for the second time and they’ve tried to solve the problem by concentrating on fool only. As they’ve acted like hungry animals rather than human beings, they have been the captive of witch. The house and the old witch being the source of food are symbolized as mother. This story gives us message that greed leads to destruction. Hansel and Gretel manages to get rid of the witch when they start thinking and behaving like human beings. The white duck that helps Hansel and Gretel get home carrying across the water stretch is the symbol of new beginning. The duck can carry only one child at one time shows that children must learn to live independently without any support from their brothers and sisters. The bird which led them to the gingerbread house is a symbol of peace. When Hansel and Gretel return home, they have grown up and start helping their father. The help they render is symbolized by the jewels. The family is considered rich and happy not because of the wealth but because Hansel and Gretel have learnt to think and act like matured people.

Write the political analysis of Hansel and Gretel

This story Hansel and Gretel written by Jack Zipes from political point of view tells us about the struggle between the poor and rich group of people. The woodcutter and his family represent the poor class people who are forced to commit deeds because of their poverty. The witch represents the aristocratic class of people and also symbolizes as the entire feudal system. She is also symbolized as the greed brutality of the aristocracy which is responsible for the difficult condition of the poorer class of people. The killing of the witch is symbolical realization of the hatred felt by the poor people because of the oppression and exploitation on them by the aristocratic people. The writer depicts the class conflict and exposes the prejudice and injustice of feudal ideology. The writer emphasizes that the poor people must be optimistic and should react appropriately against the oppressors for the transition of the situation in their favor.

Gretel’s version

This story Gretel is presented as Gretel’s version in modern setting. Gretel complains that Hansel and her father didn’t tell her the true version of the story. She says that Hansel was really very weak and she had to help him. His father was an unpleasant person who was compelled to leave the children in the forest. He bowed down on the insistence of his wife in the evil plan. Gretel says that leaving children in the forest was not unusual. Many parents did so in the past because they believed that animals, fairies, people on pilgrimage or kindly shepherd would take care of them. Gretel says that she has sympathy for her step mother as well for the witch rather than having feeling of disgust towards them.


The Gingerbread House


The same fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” is adopted by Robert Coover with the title “The Gingerbread House” He used the device of exaggeration to parody the form of the original. In order to do so, he eliminated the first part of the story that is exposition of the crisis and the last part such as complication and ending. In other words, the important events and the sequence between one and the other event are not included in the story. In place of the events, he furnished the story with extra details about the minor aspects of the story such as the physical attributes of the characters and the forest. Every detail was exaggerated to such an extent that the action and the movement of the story become slow and sluggish. Besides the addition, he modified the characters. Hansel and Gretel by describing their frequent quarrels and reconciliation. Even the old father who was kind in the original story appears irritant now & then. At one occasion he strikes the boy without any reason. Similarly the witch is presented as “outrageous lunatic shredding her own clothes, clawing cruelly at her face and throat, cracking, screeching and tearing doves.” Because of such modification, addition and elimination of different aspects of the story, one finds the events beating about the bush.



Likewise the story ”Gretel” is adapted by Garrison Keillor. The writer used the device ‘relocation’ to parody the content or meaning of the original story. It is relocated to the modern context with Gretel as the narrator complaining about the unjust treatment given to her character in the story. She adds extra information about her father being drunk and her brother being weak and cunning. These details help in modifying the characters with Gretel being the real protagonist and strong. She appears more lively with her several weak points such as her thinking that she should not have shoved the witch into the oven. She even considers the trying experience of the forest for which one does not have to worry much. The details of the story and the main events are eliminated.

The Little Brother and the Little sister

The Little Brother and the Little Sister” an English translation of “Hansel and Gretel” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, deals with the same story of Hansel and Gretel. The writer sincerely included all the essential points of the original story to make it complete and harmonious. However one finds the dialogues between the character and other being eliminated. The minute details of the original story are simply summarized and the conversation between one character and the other is narrated. The Stepmother described as a ‘women’ and shown to have wicked nature in the original is modified to some extent and described as the mother. Her vocatives “you lazybones’. ‘wicked children”. “You fool” etc. meant for Hansel and Gretel are eliminated. Such expressions make her appear no better than a witch. Removal of these expressions help in modifying her into a less witch and more unloving mother. In addition to it, the physical attributes of the witch are ignored in this adaption. In the original, one finds remarkable similarity between the stepmother and the witch in their way of talking with and beating the children. In the adoption, one finds the difference. Moreover, the last part of the original story includes the rich details such as ecstasy of the children over the death of the witch, return journey, crossing the stream with the help of the duck, father’s joy over the reunion etc. Such details and jubilant feelings are not included in the adoption.

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