Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Midsummer's Night Giveaway: Cultural and Historical

Today's post uses Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson as a jumping point.
Read my review of this book: Toads and Diamonds Review

One of the great thing about fairytales is how, although in the US at least they are mostly thought of as taking place in Western Europe, their stories are often just the skeleton, lacking cultural, historical and setting details that mark it as being able to only take place in a Western  Culture. On top of that, many fairytales contain motifs and tropes that are easily put together in other cultures. For example, "Cinderella"s elements are seen in fairytale/legends from all over the world (Cruel Mother, Made to Work, Lost Item).

So a really cool thing that an author can do in a fairytale adaptation, is take one that we may think of as Western and stick it in a completely different culture, or at least one that many readers do not know as much.

In the case of Toads and Diamonds we are thrust in to the cultures of India, Hindu and Muslim. We not only get the enjoyment of the tale, but we learn about these cultures. In the custom of YA, I don't know many others that do this with non-Western culures (Although Wrede's Snow White and Rose Red historically portrays Elizabethan England and Wildwood Dancing the culture of Transylvania), but I really wish there were more because it brings so many things together.

Also! Another post up from Raiding Bookshelves:

A Midsummers Night's Giveaway: Rumplestiltskin

And don't forget to check up on both Raiding Bookshelves and The Cosy Dragon for fairytale themed book reviews that they've been posting.

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