Essay on Lanval and Yonec

1687 Words 7 Pages
Often times in literature the body becomes a symbolic part of the story. The body may come to define the character, emphasize a certain motif of the story, or symbolize the author’s or society’s mindset. The representation of the body becomes significant for the story. In the representation of their body in the works of Marie de France’s lais “Lanval” and “Yonec,” the body is represented in opposing views. In “Lanval,” France clearly emphasizes the pure beauty of the body and the power the ideal beauty holds, which Lanval’s Fairy Queen portrays. In France’s “Yonec,” she diverts the reader’s attention from the image of the ideal body and emphasizes a body without a specific form and fluidity between the forms. “Yonec” focuses on a love not …show more content…
The Fairy Queen controls the dynamics of their relationship. They meet and separate whenever the Fairy Queen feels the need to. The Fairy Queen’s beauty gives her power and control over Lanval. The concept of beauty as a method of control for women is not something new.
Lori Baker-Sperry and Liz Grauerholz discuss the concept of female empowerment through beauty in their article “The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Feminine Beauty Ideal in Children’s Fairy Tale.” Baker-Sperry and Grauerholz state that, “women willingly engage in ‘beauty rituals’ and perceive being (or becoming) beautiful as empowering, not oppressive” (712). Baker-Sperry and Grauerholz argue that in children’s fairy tales, the female characters see their beauty as their most useful tool and would undergo “beauty rituals” to attain this beauty. By being beautiful, the Fairy Queen is able to win the attention and loyalty of Lanval. Not only does the Fairy Queen receive power in this bond, but also Lanval himself finds good fortune in the form of physical wealth. To further emphasize the Fairy Queen’s beauty and the power she holds over the court, France uses the series of girls prior to the Fairy Queen’s entrance. This builds a sense of suspense and the fact that the Fairy Queen easily trumps the girls in beauty further emphasizes her superiority. By emphasizing the Fairy Queen’s bodily beauty, France is able to show the power the Fairy Queen has over Lanval and the court.
While…