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Natalie Franks: The Brothers Grimm exhibit

todayNovember 3, 2015 16

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by Chelsea Moran
Blog Content Contributor

Natalie Franks: The Brothers Grimm exhibit.
Natalie Franks: The Brothers Grimm exhibit.

At this point in life I’m sure we’ve all heard or seen movie versions of classic fairy tales like The Princess & the Frog, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and many more but, do you know the real story? If your only reference to fairy tales is Disney’s retellings, then my friend, I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news but your childhood is filled with partial lies. Most of the innocent stories we loved growing up that involved beautiful princesses, heroic princes and happy endings did not originally end on a happy note. I had always heard people say that Disney took old folk stories and only told part of the story, or changed it completely, but I had no idea how much until this past weekend when I went to the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin to see Natalie Franks: The Brothers Grimm exhibit.

I walked in expecting fluffy illustrations of classic stories, only to find disturbing drawings of fairytales I could hardly identify without reading the info box beside them. Natalie’s drawings in gouache and chalk were extremely colorful and slightly distorted. I immediately had to break out my phone and do a google search of the actual Grimm Brothers stories showcased in the exhibit. What I found was anything but innocent, and there were recurring similarities in each tale such as: mutilation, murder, lies, sex, incest, cannibalism, violence, and someone’s mother always dieing; so… basically imagine everything you know to be bad and try turning that into a fairytale to send your kids to sleep at night. I imagine the stories were used to scare kids into behaving, if that’s the case, let’s recap the most disturbing tales, Grimm Brothers and others,  and see which one would have horrified you into to being a good child.

In no particular order:

Sleeping Beauty – “Little Briar Rose”

Rose does get cursed and is spelled into a 100 year long sleep. However, during that time a king see’s her, rapes her and gets her pregnant, She gives birth while still asleep and wakes up to find herself  a mother of twins.

Little Red Riding Hood – “Little Red Cap”

Little red must not have loved her granny too much because she let the wolf convince her to help him eat granny and then jumped into bed with him. Then the wolf eats little red.
Princess and the Frog – “The Frog Prince”

Instead of kissing the prince to break the spell and become human, the princess beats the frog and drains him of his blood so she can drain the magic out of him. Not such a happy ever after.

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs – “Snow White”

Disney wasn’t too far off with this retelling. They just forgot to mention that, aside from her heart, the evil step mother also wanted Snow White’s liver and lungs so she could cook them and serve them for dinner. See, minor detail.

The Little Mermaid

A beautiful mermaid (Ariel) saves a handsome prince (Eric) from drowning. In hopes of them falling in love, the mermaid goes to an evil sea witch (ursula), to ask for a pair of legs. In exchange for legs, her tongue is cut out and each step she takes will feel like agonizing pain.

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