Catherine Sloper Fairy Tale

972 Words4 Pages
The story of prince charming saving his damsel in distress is always the basis of every fairy tale, but one cannot forget about the evil stepmother and the damsel’s angelic fairy godmother. All of these characters represent the generic fairy tale that everyone knows and loves. The damsel and the prince long to be together, but the evil stepmother does not allow them to do so. In response to this, the fairy godmother helps the damsel escape her stepmother, and once she does, the prince and the damsel live happily ever after. But, In Henry James’s novel Washington Square, this is not the case. Henry James deconstructs the generic fairy tale in his story about Catherine Sloper through the use of characters that contradict their assumed roles.…show more content…
Sloper’s character, the author takes the typical assumption about the antagonist in fairy tales and flips it around. In a generic fairy tale, the antagonist would almost always be a woman. However, in James’s story of Catherine Sloper, the antagonist is a man. Dr. Sloper is the character that continuously shields and restricts Catherine from ever realizing her full potential as a woman. He constantly feeds on the familial power dynamic, asserting that she is his daughter and he will always have power as her father. Dr. Sloper does not have much respect for his daughter; however, Catherine has a significant amount of respect for her father, which causes her to be submissive and excessively obedient. Dr. Sloper’s character allows James to destroy the common misconception that the antagonist should always be a woman, and instead, makes the antagonist a…show more content…
The usual portrayal of a prince charming is a person who wholeheartedly embodies the characteristics of someone who is loving, caring, handsome, and selfless. At first, Morris seems to be an exceptional suitor for Catherine. He speaks his mind and wears his heart on his sleeve, and Catherine falls in love with his charming personality. However, soon after, Dr. Sloper fully realizes Morris’s character and disapproves of him. After the fact, Morris shows his true colors and shows Catherine the man he really is. Morris is a selfish man who only wanted Catherine’s money: “prince charming” does not fit that description. James creates an unconventional prince in Catherine’s story that is the complete opposite of what a prince is supposed to be. In turn, James eliminates the prince charming stereotype and replaces it with an uncanny
Open Document