blàr anam [24]

“The time of union, the time of the sacred rites of marriage, is also the time when the dark, retarding powers that hinder personal and social development come to an end. There are, consequently, three interrelated factors which are significant in the concluding episode. The first is the manner of the stepmother’s demise through the instrument of the red hot iron slippers which recalls folk practices of destroying a witch through the magic agency of iron. There are also associations of slippers and shoes with the female sexual organs which, as expressive of the egocentric overestimation of the physical dimension of human nature, represent the root of the stepmother’s evil. As with the ‘“Old Woman of the Shoe” who had so many children she didn’t know what to do’, the stepmother ‘lives in’ her sexuality. Instead of a concern for physical beauty and bodily sexuality, the love that comes from self-sacrifice and spiritualization is necessary for real personal development. Again the ambiguity of the symbolism is significant in that sexuality is both the locus of the destructive and demonic powers of the stepmother and the basis for the transforming union of love being celebrated at the wedding. Finally, the other interrelated factor is that the wedding dance is the occasion for the death of the stepmother, a ritual act which is a celebration of the rhythmic nature of life and human society.”
–N. J. Girardot, “Initiation and Meaning in the Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

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