Why is it that characters in fairy tales are always trying to melt away their weird exteriors to somehow prove how great they are underneath? I mean, I guess it’s not that complex of an idea but why do they always succeed? Why does the Beast get to be a man and we call that a happy ending? Why aren’t frogs ever just content to be cool frogs? What’s Pinocchio’s big issue with being what he is? I have never liked this about fairy tales, nor that everybody involved in those stories is always so relieved and pleased about the transformation. If I got to know and love a beast or a frog, I think I’d be pretty freaked out if they were suddenly a human man.
I said as much in one of those precious high school Literature classes one time, the ones that are generally just a great jumbled mess of inferior minds struggling to develop and/or to resist the blitzkrieg of somebody else’s ideas of “exercises in critical thinking.” I am always wrong in those classes because I always just say the opposite of what everyone else is saying, though sometimes I don’t really believe it. In this case I did believe it, and I was wrong because I was missing the importance of symbolism of stories.
“It’s vital to realize the difference between stories and real life,” the teacher was saying, “because things that could not happen in life can in stories, and they often stand in for emotions and situations that are intrinsic and therefore harder to illustrate.”
I am still not quite sure why that invalidated MY statement about beasts and princes, but it wasn’t like I was going to be a writer anyway. I was just trying to pass the class. I didn’t end up passing it, actually, because I stopped going to school the day my dead biology frog winked and blew a kiss at me and there was nothing symbolic about it.
It wasn’t even that I was freaked by a dead thing moving or an animal making human gestures- I immediately realized the significance of the story I was in the middle of. But what bothered me was that apparently not all princes ever get to be turned back to normal, and most of the time people don’t even notice.