Reading Feminism in ‘Rapunzel: Modern Tales’ by James Finn Garner


I believe that you have read the story about Rapunzel. A beautiful girl with a long hair who was locked by a witch in a tower. But, have you heard about the other version of Rapunzel whom in the end of the story, became a singer?

This literature review will analyze about the feminism in the story entitled Rapunzel written by James Finn Garner in his book “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times”. This is a good and unpredictable story. This Rapunzel story is a different version stories comparing to well-known Rapunzel version existed in Indonesia. This story is much richer in modern and feminism point of view which shows that Rapunzel as a woman, finally realized that she had been exploited for years.
 As we know, feminism has been a great mattered in the last 10 years. Waren (1988) states that feminism is all kind of movement to end the sexist oppression. Feminism, is not just about the gender someone has, but the decision about who she/he want to be. As feminism is something related tthe decision of sex behavior and this critical reading is aimed to read the feminism in this story, it will be started to talk about the gender involved where there are 3 women and 2 men in this story and each character has different roles here. The story opened with a living tinker with his wife who had disadvantaged economic-life.  It is written that the tinker was trying to steal some lettuce belonged to the witch next door, as begged by his pregnant wife. In this scene, it can be seen that this story shows woman as a dependent-lesser person while the man is a brave and someone that can be rely on. This scene create a huge effect to the real-life, going from this story and others impact, it is now believed that a wish of pregnant-woman should be granted no matter how the wish will be done.
Another scene created with the witch—as it is promised by the tinker—nursed the baby named Rapunzel and imprisoned her in an undiscovered tall tower deep into the woods. Rapunzel is treated well by the witch and the witch come to the tower every day to hear Rapunzel’s beautiful voice singing songs. Until one day, a prince heard Rapunzel’s amazing voice then decided to promote Rapunzel to a music marketing company to get profits. Both setting shows women as the object of beauty-admiration and as a weak and protected person, while man is a confident, brave and firm person.

Rapunzel is singing a song
However, this story as it is categorized to be a politically correct stories, it turns out to show that women can be an independent people, powerful, brave and firm. According to Lyons (2006), gender is not the only particular subject to be looked at, it should consider women’s experiences concerning the race and age too. That’s why in the end, after realized that her body had been exploited and soon her voice will get into it too, Rapunzel escaped from the tower, leaving the industrious busy prince and the witch. As what she experienced form the conversation between the prince and witch, the mature Rapunzel know that her hair can sold to get money also Rapunzel established a non-profit Music foundation and sings for free. This shows that women are like to love and a full of sympathy creatures.
Finally, it can be conclude that this story show a great example of feminism. Women are not seen as a dependent and weak people but also can be independent even sometimes men can depend on women.

Works Cited

Garner, J. F. (1994). Rapunzel. In J. F. Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. Great Brittain: Souvenir Press.
Lyons, T. (2006). Literature Review. Retrieved Januari 04, 2017, from Addiction Research Chair:
Waren, K. J. (1988). Critical Thinking and Feminism . Informal Logic.