Author Archives: mmcligas

Once upon a semester…

…there was a junior who had waited impatiently the entire summer, twiddling her thumbs and tapping her foot and constantly pestering her professor until at last the time came for the work for the First Year Seminar to get underway. After navigating registration and preparing to help her gang of freshmen in whatever way they needed, it was time to get the ball rolling with the first assignment of the class–this blog post, answering the ever-important questions, “Why did you choose this course as your FYS? What are you hoping to accomplish in this seminar? What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?”

The peer mentor paused, frowning and furrowing her brow: obviously she couldn’t answer the first question the same way her students would, but, to set an example, she could try answer it in a different way:

Having been in a different FYS (Theatre Appreciation) two years ago, I was fascinated to dig into a topic I hadn’t explored before, and with the added benefit of working as peer mentor for my advisor. I hope to use the opportunity to learn more about the fairy tales of the famous Brothers Grimm. Those two men also pique my interest as people who helped standardize the German language, in part through their publishing of fairy tales that had, until that point, only been shared orally. I’d love to find out how the Brothers chose one of the various versions of the stories to put onto paper and what edits they might have made themselves, and, perhaps most importantly, how those stories eventually translated into the modern versions presented by Disney that we love today.

Nodding sagely, the peer mentor decided that that would suffice, and she moved on to the last two questions:

As you can guess from the title of this blog, my favorite fairy tale (both from the Brothers and good ol’ Walt) is “Der Froschkönig,” known more widely by the title “The Princess and the Frog.” I’ve always loved that fairy tale above all others because the ending show that not everyone is always as they seem, and that you should expect the unexpected. The Disney version earned its spot as my favorite animated Disney film because of the enjoyable aesthetic and characters, the tantalizing color schemes and undeniable ear-worm songs that demand I dance or sing along.

The classic story kept the same basic principles and theme throughout the years, with one sentence in the German version being of particular important to me: “Wer dir in der Not geholfen hat, den darfst du auch nicht verachten” (“you may not scorn someone who helped you when you were in need”).  This speaks to every reader and is one of the most important lessons the story offers.

No matter which version is told, the outcome doesn’t vary much: the prince is freed in one way or another (either by a kiss or by being thrown against a wall, depending on which version you prefer) and brings new happiness to the other characters.

The student paused once again, overcome by a sudden urge to rewatch the Disney film of her favorite fairy tale. Looking over her work, she decided that a movie break was perfectly appropriate…in the name of academia and preparing for the upcoming classes, of course.

She looked at the calendar as she reached for the film: new changes–not as drastic as turning into a frog, but changes all the same–were coming to a lot of people, and she was happy to get to be part of them.