Class 12 | Heritage of Words

Hansel and Gretel, Jack Zipes | Heritage of Words

Writer: Jack Zipes


Jack Zipes interprets story ‘Hansel and Gretel from a different perspective. He chooses to interpret the story from the   Marxist point of view. He expresses that this story is a story of hope and victory. All the character in the story is a very low level but supporting traditional cultural values. A poor man wood-cutter who has not sufficient food to feed his family. He has got a second Wife but she also negates the children and shows her rude behaviour. The children are so kind and lovely, they are Hansel and Gretel. Because of famine in the region, the woodcutter and his wife decide to leave the children in the dense forest to get rid of them and survive easily. They leave the children according to their previous plan and the children suffer much in the forest and later came to the grip of the witch.

According to Marxist theory, there is always a conflict between two class, upper class and lower class. Jack describes children as lower class and oppressed and step-mother and witch as high class and oppressor. But the children save themselves because of their cleverness and trick; they kill the witch and returned home with a lot of jewels and pearls. The witch’s house is made up of bread and sugar to attract poor children.

In the story, there are two classes higher and lower class. The lower class also represents the woodcutter family and higher class represents the witch and stepmother. This story shows the famine and poverty of 18th and the struggle between the two classes where the lower class always wins at last. At the end of the 18th century, the people wanted the change from feudalism to capitalism. The feudal ideology was proved wrong. The people were ready to struggle and they hoped their bright future in capitalism. The poor family changes their lifestyle from extreme poverty to the richness from the jewels the children carries from witch’s house is one of the best examples of the transition phase from feudalism to early capitalism and this is exactly what Karl Marx predicts.

4 thoughts on “Hansel and Gretel, Jack Zipes

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