The Gingerbread House – Summary | Heritage of Words

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The Gingerbread HouseUnit Eight : Playing With Text
The Gingerbread House – Robert Coover
The Heritage of Words

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 denouement. 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 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 and 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, crackling, 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.

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