Sunday, October 7, 2012

Anne Sexton's Snow White

Anne Sexton's poem "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is very different from the original fairy tale written by the Grimm Brothers.  To start the entire poem is filled with Sextons own interpretations of the Grimm's Snow White.  Sexton in the beginning describes Snow White as having "cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper/arms and legs made of Limoges/lips like Vin Du Rhône/rolling her china-blue doll eyes/open and shut."  It is almost as if Snow White is a doll in the poem.  By fusing pop culture into her poem as well, Sexton is able to make her poem more comical and relatable to today.  After the dwarfs come home and untie Snow White from the lace that she had been tied up in by her stepmother, Sexton describes Snow White as being as full of life as soda pop.  At one point in the poem she even refers to an ace bandage when describing how tight Snow Whites stepmother ties her up.  
Sexton adds interesting details to parts of her poem that were not in the original story.  For instance there is a portion in the forest where Snow White encounters twenty doorways in which twenty wolves stood in front of.  Or the part where on the seventh week Snow White comes upon the seventh mountain, which is where she finds the dwarfs house.  These obviously cannot be found in the original tale.  And Sexton, by adding the fact that Snow White travels for seven total weeks, takes away the original Snow Whites image of timelessness.  Another way Sexton adds time to her poem is in the end when she states that Snow Whites princes comes in June.
Finally, Sexton adds her own interpretation of happily ever after to her poem that implies that Snow Whites has encountered the same fate as her stepmother.  She makes it seem as if it is inevitable and all women will encounter this fate at some point in their life.

I would have to say I prefer Anne Sexton's version of Snow White.  Although I love the Grimm's version, Sexton's makes me laugh every time I read it.  Her interpretations and commentary give it a personal touch, but also make it more relatable.  Her interesting descriptions are commendable and add to the overall effect.  Overall I find it to be more interesting and I really enjoyed reading her poem.

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