I’m not quite finished with the book yet, but I’ve been reading 12 Rules for Life by Dr. Peterson and it has been amazing so far. One of the things that really interest me is his ability to break down folk tales or Bible stories or any tale that is reflective of culture. I also really enjoy the stories of his clinical practice but that has nothing to do with writing so I’d rather focus on how he breaks down stories.
In one recent chapter, he discussed the tale of Sleeping Beauty, which is one of my favorite Disney movies. First of all, there’s a dragon and prince Phillip (my name) fights it like a champs and kills it. Awesome. There’s also a drinking song with the two kings which is also super cool. And I always thought it was hilarious when Phillip and Aurora meet because after they have apparently fallen in love by merely singing a song together after her animals steal his clothes.
At that point, Phillip asks her (keep in mind, they are already in love) “What’s your name?”
Aurora freaks out and tries to take off. He asks her when he can see her again. The exchange goes like this:
Phillip: “But when can I see you again?”
Aurora: “Well, maybe one day.”
Phillip: “When? Tomorrow?”
Aurora: “Oh no, tonight. In the cottage. In the glen.”
So she went from, we can never see each other again to I’ll see you tonight really quickly. Hilarious.
Peterson broke the story down as parents trying to protect their daughter from the evils of a fallen world. He points out that they did not invite Maleficent to the baby princess’ celebration. Maleficent represents nature which is not necessarily good, and in fact is wild and dangerous. Which is exactly why they want to protect their daughter from her. The evil queen curses the girl. The king and queen of course won’t have that and seek to protect her from the curse. So they destroy all spinning wheels and send their daughter to live with the good faeries who are supposed to shield her. All of this is apparently about shielding their offspring from corruption and dangers of life.
Strangely, they bring their daughter back and of course, she manages to prick her finger and fall into a coma. This is to symbolize her preferring to stay asleep and not grow up and deal with real life. In fact, the entire kingdom is asleep at that point when the faeries put everyone out.
Prince Phillip of course, escapes from Maleficent’s keep and battles to save Aurora and the kingdom after battling natural obstacles like the thorns of the roses. And of course, he battled the dragon which cursed the virgin and was victorious. He kisses her (no longer innocent) and she wakes. No longer is she the naive virgin apparently and they are going to be married.
I never put together all those details. I just enjoyed the story. But it is fascinating to think that the folk tale was about childhood innocence and parents trying to guard her from the corruption and evil of the world.
I am going to look at all those stories with a bit more attention to meaning and detail now. There was much more to Sleeping Beauty than I knew.