Hansel and Gretel – Summary | The Heritage of Words

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Hansel and GretelUnit Eight : Playing With Text
Hansel and Gretel – Jacob and Wilhelm
The Heritage of Words

Once there was a famine in a country, which compelled the step mother to think of leaving the children to the forest. The father yielded to the wish of wife, as she was pigheaded. In the morning, the step mother asked them to get ready to go to the forest. Hansel had collected pebbles as he had heard the conversation of parents the earlier night. As they left their home, the boy dropped pebbles on the way. After walking for some duration, they reached to a spot where the step mother asked the children to wait till they return back. But it was only a trick to leave the children in the forest.

At midnight, when they got up, the boy thought of returning to house. He could return successfully with the assistance of pebbles he had dropped. At home they were welcomed by the father though the mother was indifferent. There was another famine in the country, which forced the mother to bring the previous idea back again. The father accepted despite his unwillingness. The boy, unlike previous time, was unable to collect pebbles as the mother had locked the door from outside. Early in the morning, the children were woken up and given bread. The boy dropped the bread on the way making it crumbs. Unlike before, the parents took them deep into the forest. The children were left there. They wished that their parents would come which didn’t happen as they had thought. The children couldn’t return back to their house as the breads crumbs had been eaten by birds. They, at last reached to a house made of bread and cakes. As they nibbled from the house, a voice sweetly spoke them to continue. It was a witch, who used to eat children whoever came handy. The witch, on the next day imprisoned the brother and compelled the sister to do laborious deeds. Everyday the witch went there and checked how fat he had become.

The boy could deceive her with the help of a bone. As she realized that the lad would never become sedentary, she decided to end the consequence. Early in the morning, she ordered Gretel to fetch water. She had prepared oven to end the brother and sister. As Gretel arrived there, she asked her to be in. Gretel showed ignorance to the way of entering and asked her to demonstrate. No sooner had the witch tried to enter her head, she pushed her into oven and closed it. She then released her brother. They went inside the house and collected treasures. On the way back home, they arrived by a river, which was full of water. The boy asked a duck to help him across the river. As they reached their house after long walk, they saw their father, who welcomed them happily. Their step mother had already died.

Important Questions :

1. Psychological analysis of Hansel and Gretel
Ans. 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.

2. Political analysis of Hansel and Gretel
Ans. 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.

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