Hansel and Gretel

Heritage of Words | Class 12 Notes

Hansel and Gretel

Writer : Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm


Once in a time, nearby the large forest, a poor woodcutter lived with his wife and two children. The son’s name was called Hansel and the daughter was Gretel. The children were always neglected by their step-mother. She didn’t love them and wanted to get rid of them and felt burden because of their presence at the house. There was the scarcity of food and famine in the region, so their father was unable to give food to the children. The step-mother was cruel and unkind to the children. That is why the stepmother made a plan to leave the children in the forest and for that reason she compelled her husband to leave the children in the forest. The children also understood the plan of their parents but didn’t do anything and accepted the bitter reality. They were suffering from hunger. The boy Hansel was very clever and he had gone out at night, filled his pocket with pebbles so as to scatter in the way of their trip to the forests.

One day in the morning, the poor family had begun their trip to forest with the intention to leave the innocent children. Hansel threw the pebbles on the road one by one. When they reached the forest, their father and mother left them were sleeping nearby the fireside. As the children woke up at night, found them alone and their parents had not there, so they waited until the moon rose and followed the road where the pebbles shone like silver pieces. They were able to come in to their house because of the pebbles. Their step-mother was restless to see them but the father was happy. The parents made another plan to leave them into more dense forest and the children had overhead the conversation of their parents but they couldn’t do anything as they were trapped in the room and given some breadcrumbs by the stepmother for the next day and went to a thick forest. But this time Hansel threw the pieces of bread on the road. When the father and mother came back home like before leaving the children in the forest in their deep sleep, the children woke up at night, followed the road but the pieces of bread were not there They missed the road, were tired and fell asleep under a tree. They followed a singing bird when they woke up. They reached a house. The roof of the house was made up of bread and the windows of sugar. The hungry children began to eat the house. An old woman came out from the house. She took them inside the house. They felt that it was heaven. The woman was wicked witch. She wanted to kill and eat them. So she imprisoned Hansel in the stable, gave good food to fatten him. But once, Gretel pushed the woman into the oven and bolted the door of oven and the woman burnt to death. Then Gretel being very happy freed her brother.

The children were extremely excited when they found a lot of pearls and jewels in that house. They put it into their pockets and headed towards the home. But in their way there was a huge body of the water and began singing a son. Then the duck came and rescued them to the side of the river. When they walked a bit more, they knew that the river was familiar and while walking far they had seen their father’s home. They ran and found their father in the home but their step-mother was died. They gave the precious stone, jewels and pearls to their father and lived happily afterwards.


Important Questions and Answers :

  1. Psychological analysis of Hansel and Gretel
    Ans: The writer in his adapted story Hansel and Gretel presents the psychological analysis of the story. In this story, he expresses a unique truth of life that poverty and deprivation make human beings selfish and less sensitive to others sufferings. The writer tells us that when the children grow up, they must learn to live separately from their parents. Hansel and Gretel have left in the forest in order to give them a chance to learn to live independently. However, they have come back as they have not been able enough to live apart from their parents. The children have again been left in the forest for the second time and they’ve tried to solve the problem by concentrating on fool only. As they’ve acted like hungry animals rather than human beings, they have been the captive of witch. The house and the old witch being the source of food are symbolized as mother. This story gives us message that greed leads to destruction. Hansel and Gretel manages to get rid of the witch when they start thinking and behaving like human beings. The white duck that helps Hansel and Gretel get home carrying across the water stretch is the symbol of new beginning. The duck can carry only one child at one time shows that children must learn to live independently without any support from their brothers and sisters. The bird which led them to the gingerbread house is a symbol of peace. When Hansel and Gretel return home, they have grown up and start helping their father. The help they render is symbolized by the jewels. The family is considered rich and happy not because of the wealth but because Hansel and Gretel have learnt to think and act like matured people.
  2. Political analysis of Hansel and Gretel
    Ans: This story Hansel and Gretel written by Jack Zipes from political point of view tells us about the struggle between the poor and rich group of people. The woodcutter and his family represent the poor class people who are forced to commit deeds because of their poverty. The witch represents the aristocratic class of people and also symbolizes as the entire feudal system. She is also symbolized as the greed brutality of the aristocracy which is responsible for the difficult condition of the poorer class of people. The killing of the witch is symbolical realization of the hatred felt by the poor people because of the oppression and exploitation on them by the aristocratic people. The writer depicts the class conflict and exposes the prejudice and injustice of feudal ideology. The writer emphasizes that the poor people must be optimistic and should react appropriately against the oppressors for the transition of the situation in their favor.

One thought on “Hansel and Gretel

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