The Heritage of Words | Class 12 Notes
The Gingerbread House
Writer: Robert Coover
Robert Coover’s story “The Gingerbread House” consists of forty-two numbered paragraphs which shows the parts of the story and it is an adoption of “Hansel and Gretel”. In the mid-afternoon, an old man leads two children to the pine forest. The boy is dropping the pieces of bread and the girl is singing nursery songs and carrying a basket of flowers. The old man seems poor and miserable who wears torn clothes is very poor, weak and thin. The children are also wearing torn clothes and walking with bare feet. The eyes of the old man are blue and his face is wrinkled. He is looking for the chance to leave the children in the thick forest. He feels guilty. Though he loves his children, he has no food to feed them. As they are walking, they encounter a terrible witch who has worn black clothes. Her face is pale, her body is thin and twisted and her eyes are like burning coals. She cries madly and stretches her hand in the empty space. She catches a white dove and tears its red heart out.
When they are on their way to their journey, they reach into the “Gingerbread House”. The house can be reached walking on the biscuits through the garden of sugared fruits. The house is made of sweets, chocolates and sugar. There is sticky I garden of sweets. The door of the house is heart-shaped and red. It is shining like a ruby. The door is half-open. The place is sunny and beautiful. The air is fresh. There is a river of honey and lollipops grow like daisies. The boy looks back and finds that the breadcrumbs that he drops are eaten up by the white birds. He is sad as his plan to return back home fails. The old man and the children spend the night in the forest. The next day, the old man tries to return back home silently but the children see and follow him. He pushes the girl and strikes the boy. The children weep but the old man returns home leaving the children in the dense forest.
There are several obstacles in the story that are faced by the children. Numerous problems and difficulties in the forest are common for them. However, they don’t lose their heart. They come to the gingerbread house. They fall on the sticky garden of sweets. They lick each other clean and are happy. The boy climbs up the roof of chocolate. They enjoy eating bread and sweets. Beyond the door of the house, there is the terrible sound of the witch flapping her black rags.