Review: Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm [Project Fairytale]

Hansel and Gretel are both smart, plucky, and resourceful children. They are both proactive characters whose cleverness drive the story and are the villain's ultimate undoing (Hansel's ingenuity and Gretel's trickery). It can be tricky to give children a characterization without making them seem to perfect, but I thought these two siblings were portrayed well and without Stu-like tendencies.

The bond of the "blood" family is the predominant theme in this book. It is more powerful than "hunger": for food, for power, for lust...and like in many fairytales, love is wielded like a weapon to defeat evil. The children want to get back to their father so badly, that it motivates them to kill (granted it is in self-defense, but they still kill someone and that will change them forever). It is also interesting to mention that the step-mother in this story is portrayed in a negative light, further reinforcing the trope of "evil" stepmothers in fairytales. Perhaps this trope lives on to further push the idea that the bonds of blood can never be truly broken.

It is interesting to note that Gretel is the only female to survive this story. This seems to be the case because Gretel values love over everything else. Both the step-mother and witch are shown to be selfish and power-hungry. This characterization leads ultimate to their deaths. Still, the females in this story tend to hold the most "power". While Hansel is a resourceful child, it is Gretel that defeats the witch by pushing her into the oven. Just like it is the step-mother who convinces her spineless husband (the father) to abandon the children in their "best interest"; just like it is the witch who lures children with sweets. The women's prerogative definitely drives this tale.

Finally, I love the unique depiction of the witch in this story as a red-eyed, near-sighted, cannibal who has the same sense of smell as beasts. It just makes the villain that much more scary.

Project Fairy Tale


  1. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long.



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Once upon a time, there were two sisters -Susan and Shauna - who were moved and mesmerized by stories through any medium, since they were teeny tiny. This passion stayed with them throughout adulthood, and after becoming even more enthralled with Young Adult fiction in recent times (and some Adult & MG!) they decided they just had to open up their own book blog and share their enthusiasm with the world, or well, to anyone who would listen.

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