Catskin Character Analysis

1916 Words8 Pages
The tale of "Catskin", rewritten by Jacobs in the 19th century, has all the essential features to be considered a fairy tale: a good and an evil character, a life full of struggles for the protagonist, a happy ending and, most importantly, a moral lesson. The significance of "Catskin" seems to be that, although life, at times, can be dreadful, determination, perseverance and patience will eventually determine one 's success. In the tale, for example, the protagonist never capitulates, neither when she has to escape a forced marriage, nor when she lives in the castle, continually mistreated by the old cook. Eventually, though, Catskin seems to earn her happy ending thanks to her virtues and beauty. However, there is more to the story than meets…show more content…
Therefore, it is not surprising that many fairy tales from all over the world and written at different points in history, all have some features in common, among which, a moral lesson usually pointing to how the main character 's virtues are enough to grant him/her a joyful life. At first glance, "Catskin" does not seem to differ from this universal pattern. Initially, the protagonist - Catskin - "[Because] the old cook is very cruel to her […] leads a sad life" (Jacobs 166). Nevertheless, she endures the debasement constantly perpetrated by the cook without ever fighting back thus manifesting an interminable patience. Notably, when, before every dance, the wicked chef dashes and breaks three objects on her body, "She only briskly shakes her ears, and says nothing," (Jacobs 167) displaying admirable fortitude. Moreover, it should be underlined that the main character was born from "A gentleman who has fine lands and houses," (Jacobs 166) but, in spite of her wealthy origins and the degradation and abuse she receives daily, she is dedicated to her job as a scullion even going back to her occupation after every ball - this way providing the cook with the opportunity to bash two more objects on her head - thus demonstrating humility and strenuousness. Ergo, after everything Catskin tolerated throughout her existence, her…show more content…
After carefully analyzing the tale "Catskin" I found that the story is more complex than I could have predicted at first. Although the intended moral looks straightforward and supported by the narration, I found examples of how Catskin behaves differently from the blameless heroine that one would expect from a fairy tale 's princess: she is the perpetrator of a fraud, she behaves like a predator only waiting for the right occasion to strike and, finally, she craves to have her social prominence recognized. The moral of the story, which initially seemed to be about intrinsic virtues eventually granting a happily ever-after, fails when the overall conduct of Catskin is considered. However, the most controversial part of "Catskin" seems to be that the story actually presents a moral. The importance of the three beautiful gowns in the recognition of the protagonist 's beauty and the eventual father-daughter reunion after such a long time since Catskin 's son was born, prove how important facades are in the tail. Therefore "Catskin" does present a lesson which is as amoral and questionable as the old cook: appearances
Open Document