Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jillmarie Murphy




characters, tales, adaptations, cultures, examination


This thesis examines the depiction of archetypal characters such as the step-mother, the old crone/witch, the trickster, the hero, and the heroine within Kinder-und Hausmärchen, first published in 1812 by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, and the influence that German culture had on this portrayal. This analysis of the tales will then be contrasted with an examination of the ways that modern authors and directors have adapted the presentation of these characters to better appeal to today’s audience in recent (1980-2014) adaptations of the stories. Our cultural values and ideals determine how characters within the tales are depicted and, conversely, the characterization of these stock characters can show what traits a society condemns, condones, and deifies. A thorough examination of the material and the cultures in which it is firmly rooted will reveal more about the tales as well as expose facets of nineteenth-century German and contemporary American societies that may not be immediately apparent. This thesis also attempts to answer the question of why adaptations of the Grimms’ fairytales have recently surged in popularity and what this means about the similarities between the two cultures.