Object 1: Wunderbare Märchen nach den Gebrüdern Grimm (Published in 2011)- specifically Dornröschen (Little Briar Rose in English), first published in 1812
June 2, 2021
This book contains my favourite story, ‘Dornröschen’, which is the German variant of the fairy- tale ‘Sleeping Beauty’, collected by the Brüder Grimm 1. The moral of Dornröschen is that sometimes presents risks, but in the end, true love and family conquers all2. This is an interesting object as it demonstrates how socio-ethical values are gained through culture, however, messages that may no longer be socially acceptable arise.
This object enriches the exhibition because it teaches us about what a community has decided as valuable. My experience reading this as a little girl reflected this as I believed that in order to be truly happy in life, I need a strong familial support, which was shown in ‘Dornröschen’ as her family was always there for her, and the only character with no family is the Evil Fairy, who commits heinous acts throughout the story3. This belief can be seen in German culture as family is fundamentally important to most Germans, and people often identify its main source of value being the support family members have for one another4. This shows how culture influence the knowledge that is taught and shared in order to emphasise particular cultural values.
Another way in which this object contributes to the exhibition is that it questions whether the intended message is being absorbed by the audience. Re-reading this story as a teenager I question the message of ‘true loves kiss’, as taking away a woman’s authority and sense of self by allowing men to dominate them sexually and emotionally is dangerous for young children to digest. Furthermore, this makes me wonder how valuable the knowledge gained from ‘Dornröschen’ is, since cultural norms change overtime. Therefore, this illustrates that knowledge gained through culture can sometimes be unclear and not applicable to different time periods.