Snow White Themes

As we all know, there are countless versions of Snow White.  These stories can range from the Brothers Grimm, Disney, Basile, even the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.  Although they are all unique in one way or another, there are many themes that continue to be seen in them.  The first are the three colors white, red, and black.  Snow White is typically described as being white as snow, with lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.  White can be seen as innocence, red as life and passion, and black as Snow White’s death.  Another is Snow White’s biological mother’s death.  She either dies right after birth or around Snow White’s seventh or eighth birthday.  With the death of the mother, it allows for the introduction of the evil stepmother, who is ultimately a very important character throughout the entire story.  Another theme is internal organs, whether it is a heart, liver, or lungs.  The queen wants some part of Snow White’s internal organs; she (the queen) would be more powerful and attractive after eating it.

Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

There are two numbers that repeat in the story, three and seven.  Three drops of blood fell on the snow in the Brothers Grimm version and in Snow White and the Huntsman, three days after Lilla swallowed the leaf is that fell she found out she was pregnant, three people were killed in Lasair Gheug before she was taken to the forest.  The number seven was also seen throughout the different versions.  There were seven dwarves who had seven plates, seven cups, seven chairs, seven beds, and so on.  In some versions it is when Snow White turns seven is when the queen starts to become jealous of her, in The Young Slave, she was put in seven caskets of crystal.   While the story may change from version to version, the basic themes remain the same, which allow the stories to be recognized by others who have heard similar versions.  Each version’s differences allowed for it to better fit in the culture and for the people who were listening or reading the tale.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ghack24
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 02:01:45

    I really like the way you focus on the symbolism of the Snow White story and how, in spite of the many different versions that exist, a large majority of the symbols carry over into each one. The colors are obvious because they separate Snow White from the other women, like the pale white skin or the red lips, but the numbers is something that most do not notice. The fact that 7, which symbolizes perfection, or 3, which symbolizes completeness, permeates throughout the many versions is something that I never noticed and I am sure many others overlooked as well. These themes really do help to identify the Snow White tale type, even if we do not consciously notice it.


  2. aowens10
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 08:24:17

    I like how you focus on the symbolism in Snow White, and your right: the symbolism can be seen in all versions of Snow White, including the movie we saw the other day. I want to focus on how the symbols you pointed out are portrayed in the movie. In the beginning of the movie, we see a women walking in the snow in the garden among blackened skeletons of bushes and trees. As she is walking she sees the rose and pricks her finger and finds out that the colors red, white, and black are so becoming that she wants a daughter with these colors. As you said above, red symbolizes life and passion, I also believe that red can symbolize death as well, which explains the red apple. I also found it interesting how you pointed out the numbers 3 and 7. Both numbers have biblical background, and as ghack24 pointed out above, symbolize completeness and perfection. In the movie, when the mother pricks her finger, 3 drops of blood are spilled. In the end of the movie when Snow White stabs the Queen, 3 drops of blood are spilled as well. I also found it interesting how there were 8 dwarves in the beginning, but they killed one of them off so their was only 7. Overall it was a very nice post!


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