Prompt writing today, from Gail Carson Levine:
• Think of what the characters in a fairy tale might represent. For example, take “Rapunzel.” This is only one interpretation, but maybe the witch stands for despotism, the maiden in the tower for despotism’s victim, the prince for an outside liberator. Can you think of other possibilities for this tale, like maybe the maiden represents fear? Pick a different fairy tale and think of what the characters represent. Write down more than one interpretation. If you feel like it, pick another tale.
• Now take the fairy tale and the archetypes you’ve identified and put them in a contemporary story. Write a scene or the whole story. Notice how the change affects the story.
Ok. Here I go.
Sleeping Beauty interpretation: fear of death and aging. Sleeping Beauty is preserved for one hundred years, at the ripe age of 16, and her entire world is preserved with her. No one ages, all natural process is stopped. The evil fairy is the archetypal death crone (ooooh, I feel a myth coming on!) while the three fairies who help with blessing the situation and reversing the curse are a mixture of graces and fates, adding beauty to life and deciding the length of that life. The prince, required for rescue, is time:one hundred years may pass, but then life moves on. He is the reality check to the story, and everyone forgets their fear of death in the glow of love and renewal.
Hmm. And the thorns around the castle? The veil between the worlds.
I'm off to write my story playing with these themes! I think I'll make it speculative contemporary.