Much like their Norn counterparts, they spin their universe into existence. Stepmother and witch are closely related and often the same person in the fairy tales. They are also hoarders of wealth and material riches.
Because she is old and ugly she is jealous of and hates the heroine. If a man's domain is the spirit and higher reasoning, then the woman's domain is the body and sensuality.
In The White Bride and the Black Bride, the mother and daughter are "cursed" with blackness and ugliness.
They threaten social order, emasculate men, and destroy love and beauty. Fairy tales usually have happy endings where the heroine and her prince marry and have children, reinforcing gender stereotypes of woman as wife and mother. The outside is their realm and this is where the majority of the action occurs in the fairy tales. This gives them power over their victims, which they leverage to make unreasonable demands of those who have little or no resources. Beauty is often associated with productiveness as well as goodness.2.
Their punishment and death at the end of each story serve as a warning to tale's audience—mostly children. Relationship between women and men in fairy tales1. They draw their power and gain their resources from nature. Age is equated with evil, ugliness, and uselessness.
Jack Zipes's interpretation of eighteenth and nineteenth-century versions of "Rumpelstiltskin" (AT 500) focuses specifically on their inscription of changing social attitudes toward spinning, as a social and economic activity that had symbolized women's creativity and also given women some material control of marriage possibilities.
Since it identifies a previously unrecognized persecuted heroine without es- sentializing her, Zipes's essay well exemplifies a systematizing and deconstructive double reading strategy.
I will explore how women relate to each other and to men and how these interactions reinforce or redefine gender stereotypes. One represents beginnings, birth and rebirth, redemption, creation, union, and love.