Essay on Literary Analysis of The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

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Set in Poland during the German occupation, “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel” is told as a fairy tale, utilizing many of the elements that are common to fairy tales.
This book reflects the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” However, in Murphy’s parable, Hansel and Gretel are two Jewish children who are abandoned by their father and stepmother in order to save them from the Nazis.
Setting the tale in Nazi Germany creates an atmosphere of fear and anxiety, and establishes a set of circumstances in which it is possible for people to act in ways that would be unacceptable under other circumstances. The stepmother is a good example of this. She is the force in the family – it is she who decides that everyone in the
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While all of the residents in the nearby village know Magda is a gypsy, they keep it quiet, because the gypsies, like the Jews, are persecuted by the Germans. She turns out to be a good witch, unlike the earlier fairy tale. That she was taken away after helping the children to flee may be evidence that life, for an ageing person, must have taken on a different importance at that time than it might in other times. Again this may be a reminder that during the holocaust older people, who were considered to be of less use overall, and were automatically annihilated. This book touches on the fact that the more useful a person was the greater their chances of survival.
The use of the oven in this tale was of interest. The oven, on this case, was not sued to annihilate someone but was used by Magda to save the children. Considering the use of ovens during the holocaust, this approach may have been a reminder that the very tools that were used to annihilate were also tools that might be used to save people. It is a reminder that the thought processes of individuals during that time sometimes stretched the limits of possibility. In fairy tales, sexuality is usually portrayed as harmful to the heroine herself, according to an article by Michael Hornyansky. He goes on to suggest that “fairy tales may serve as training manuals in passive behaviour”, an indication that
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