La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve

The Beauty and the Beast

I’m forever grateful that the Disney version was my first foray into the fairy tale of Beauty of the Beast cause if the original was, I wouldn’t like it. It’s a lot of things that I really didn’t like about the original version which I’m about the list.

1. Beauty being a Mary Sue- I know this was written before the term was even coined but boy our MC is the definition of it. She’s very beautiful, kind, kind of naive with every guy falling completely in love with her which pretty much sums up her character. She likes to read but it was kind of glossed over and not really talked about. She’s kind of shallow cause she constantly thinks of the beast being just a stupid animal although all he show to her is kindness and intelligence that doesn’t befit a normal animal. The story supposed to be an allegory to woman around that time who is showing apprehension to arranged marriages but it doesn’t help when you constantly thinks that a person who show you nothing but kindness as inferior you cause they are different than you. That kind of negates everything that I knew the story of BATB to be about. She eventually comes around and loves the beast but without feeling guilty about it. Also the love triangle between her the beast and his human form that she saw in dreams which is my second point.

2. The dreams plotline- OMG!! This probably the #1 reason why I don’t like this version at all and I’m so glad that the abridged and other versions/retellings took it out. While Beauty was in the castle, she would have dreams of the human handsome side of the beast which she completely feel in love with in a matter of one night. Yep Insta-love to the max with this. Every night the human side of him is trying to get her to see what’s behind the beast which she constantly refused to. This is a problem for me because it negates what beauty and the beast means to me. BATB is all about learning the inner beauty of someone who from the outside may seem monstrous but truly is a good person on the inside. It’s also about learning to accept who they are. It’s the true definition of “never judge of a book by it’s cover.” It totally negates that when she totally falls in love with the handsome side of him and gives two cents about the beast. In other versions that I have loved ( cough disney version) they take this out completely which is for the better because it brings a type of complexity that only hiders and not help the story.. They totally focus on the beauty falling in love with the prince in ONLY his beast form which is brings me to my third point.

3. Beauty and the Beast relationship and interaction (honestly lack of) – Now this is where I show that I’m totally spoiled by the Disney version to the max. In the Disney version after the first couple icy interactions, you are shown them having a snowball fight, reading to each other, having lunch and finally the famous the dinner / ballroom scene. You actually have scenes with them interacting, getting to know each other and becoming friends. These scenes actually convinced you that those two are truly in love with each other which the spell is broken at the end.. In the original version, the only interaction you have with them is having dinner which they talk for a few mins although she sort of becomes annoyed when he asked the question the “Will you sleep with me question.” and then leaves. That’s it for the time she’s there. This brother me because it was so many ways they could have interacted with each other in that castle. He could have taken a walk with her to show her all the castle grounds, fed the monkeys with her or attended an opera or play with her. Them doing activities together would have help convinced the readers of those two falling in love with each other.( Although he fell in love with her as soon as he met her. ) I think if she would have more interactions than her thoughts of the handsome person in her dreams would have diminished. She would be getting to know him and realizing that he really is a good person and wouldn’t have to be convinced by her dad to marry him. Here’s the kicker that really ticked me off. The fairy (which I’m going to get to later) told him to have limited interaction with her but to use the dreams instead. I’m like “YOU WANT HER TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THE BEAST TO BREAK THE SPELL NOT THE HUMAN! THAT TOTALLY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE!” Also their relationship consist of stalking since he was watching her while she sleeps and guilt tripping since he told her if she doesn’t come back he will die. You can kind of say that it’s also codependence because he was actually trying to kill himself by starving when she didn’t return back on time. I can’t forget the fact that the whole thing was a set up by the fairy and him to break the spell. ( I’m going to get more to that with the fairy as well.)

And people say that it’s all about Stockholm syndrome …

Try Stalking, Guilt Tripping, and Codependency for size…

Moving on.

4.The “wicked” fairy reason to cursing the prince- Ok Now what to do expect when you asked to marry the boy (for power of course) who saw you as a mother figure when his real mama was away at war? WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? FOR HIM TO SAY YES??? He saw her as a mother figure and that was it.. It was honestly not fair to him when he only saw her as that. Yes, the queen called her ugly and old but it’s not fair to punish him for it. In other versions (Disney and 2014 French), you can understand why he the prince got cursed it was honestly his fault why he did. When you act like an ass to a kind old lady who offered you a rose and asked for a place to stay for the night, than you deserved to get a curse on you. When you’re hunting after a golden doe after the woman you love told you not to anymore which you continue do so which turns out to be her when you killed it, then you deserved to get cursed by her vengeful forest daddy. Turning down someone that you see as a mother figure doesn’t warned getting curse even if your absent mother opens her mouth.

5. The “ good” fairy- Oh boy. If it’s ever was a character than wanted a pat on back for her “ good deeds” the more than the good fairy. Oh goodness! I got tired of her acting as the hero of the story. Pretty much after her sister cursed the prince, she was the one who step in and pretty much dictated the whole situation. From choosing her niece aka the prince cousin to be the one the break the curse to actually setting her father up to come to castle to pick the rose to bring one of his “daughters” back which started everything in motion. It’s like everything she did was to “one up” her evil sister and get revenge on her other sister which was actually Beauty’s real mama. She was also the one who told the prince to not interact with beauty when he was in his beast form but only in his human form. Like I said earlier, it negates the story because they want beauty to fall in love with his beast form so it can break the spell. She was also responsible for bringing beauty to the merchant which she through was her father. You come to find out that the King (the prince Uncle) was actually her dad and her mom was fairy. At this point, the whole story was starting to sound like one big wish fulfillment to max . Beauty is actually a princess and fairy which is whole Deux Ex Machina since the prince mama was very close to not giving her blessing since she through she was inferior birth. She found out she’s actually her niece and everything good to go. One thing that piss me off is when the fairy told the father that she’s not his daughter anymore but the kings.. He raised her as his own for all these years and is the reason why she considers marrying the beast. You can’t just tell him in such a rude matter that he should stop considering her as his own. That’s very inconsiderate to him and to beauty.

Ok

There’s one thing I did like which was the prince back story which I touched on. I honestly feel like Beauty should have been seeing his backstory in the dreams instead of him telling to her towards the end which made the story longer than it should. You could have killed two birds with one stone which the 2014 version incorporated. Also Beauty’s mother backstory was pretty interesting too.

Ok! This thing is almost 1600 words so I’m about to wrap it up.

All in All I honestly glad I read it so I can finally understand where some accept of the retelling coming from but I wish I could have enjoyed more. Beauty and the Beast maybe my fave fairy tale which I love reading retellings of it doesn’t mean I have to love the original which I didn’t. I recommend the Abridged version since I think the Disney is more based on it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s