Lecture 20

Grimms’ Fairy Tales

  • Rumpelstiltskin is an antisemitic portrayal.
    • Human-like, but not quite human
      • Hunched over
      • Parts of his face accentuated
    • Wealth and exchange
      • Values children over wealth, presumably because he already has a lot of wealth
    • Kinda emasculated because he can spin
  • Blood libel: the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews use the blood of Christian children for rituals.
  • Study after study has shown that Jewish people are just as rich as everyone else and have dealt with money as much as anyone else.
  • It doesn’t matter if the Grimms were antisemitic or thought they were antisemitic, but they took antisemitic action by publishing and distributing these tales. That act made antisemitism more entrenched and natural.
  • In the Grimms’ tales, Christian men are people who have to do things who survive society, but women and Jewish people are a certain way, specifically they are a way that reveals their nature and therefore are a way that deserves punishment.
    • In some tales, Jewish people are punished specifically because they are synonymous with the trickery.
      • The Jewish dude is a liar. Other guys lie, but “out of necessity.”
    • The fairy tales say this in a matter-of-fact way.
      • No one in the tale contradicts the antisemitism.