tales for children
Posted by Kate on October 21, 1997 at 09:47:40:
I'm fascinated by the fairy stories, especially the long one about the princess in the glass coffin which Roland reads at Maud's house.
Fairy stories have long been recognised by psychologists as representing basic human experience... The idea of a princess trapped in a glass coffin, until she is rescued by a brave man is obviously based on a fairy story paradigm (sleeping beauty, snow white etc etc). I was struck by its location in the book. Here is Roland, with Maud, who he has been told is basically an ice queen, who has long blonde hair. He feels inadequate compared to her - she is more upper class, she has a job and a beautiful flat, she is self confident and self contained. A bit like the craftsman in the story he feels unworthy.
Is Byatt teasing us with this story? are we supposed to buy into the idea that Roland will "release" Maud from her self imposed prison of glass and ice?
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