Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: Beauty and the Beast

It's IWSG day, a monthly event author Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. This month’s IWSG question is: What’s the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story? I don’t know if this is considered weird or cool…But since my WIP has a culinary theme, I’ve been spending time in the kitchen trying new recipes. When my recipe is successful, it’s fun to eat my research. (And when the recipe is a fail, I consider it a learning experience.)

Today I don’t have an insecurity to share but a thought about how stories can be interpreted differently from one audience member to another.

Back in March, I took my daughter to see the live-action movie for Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson. Both my children have seen the Disney animated movie. Lately, they have been listening to the soundtrack for Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. 

I’ve always interpreted the story’s villain as Gaston, who shows no empathy to the suffering of others, tries to have Belle’s father incarcerated and killed, and attempts to kill the Beast once he realizes Belle has feelings for the Beast.

The other day, my son asked me if the Enchantress who cast the spell on the Prince to turn him into a Beast was a bad guy. I responded that the bad guy was Gaston. My son persisted and asked why the Enchantress had to turn the Prince into a Beast. I explained that the Prince wasn’t nice to the Enchantress- he unfairly judged her looks-and so the Enchantress wanted to teach him a lesson about looking past outside appearances. My son responded, “Just because someone isn’t nice to you doesn’t mean you have to turn them into a beast.”  

I have always been fascinated by the character of the Enchantress in Beauty and the Beast. In the recent live-action movie, I was particularly pleased to see that the Enchantress played a bigger role than she did in the animated feature.
(Actress Hattie Morahan did a great job.) I never saw the Enchantress as a villain but a character who existed to support the fantastical elements of the story.

Nonetheless, my son’s perspective is also valid and offered an idea I hadn’t considered before. It is true that you don’t have to turn someone into a beast just because they aren’t being nice. (You can just imagine doing it, haha.)

What do you do when you encounter someone who isn’t being nice?

15 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

What an interesting and true perspective your son has. And he's right. Just because someone doesn't treat us right, we don't have to punish them and be mean back.

Pat Hatt said...

I may just walk away or tell them to pound sand or screw with them a bit. Can't say I've ever turned them into a beast though lol

Some can even see the beast as the bad guy though. He brought it on himself, he caused the rest of his staff to get turned, ruining their lives, he pretty much captured her and forced her to stay. Could be a whole argument for Stockholm syndrome lol

All perspective.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yum on eating the research! Hmm, maybe I could write a story about chocolate or cupcakes or.... :)

Em-Musing said...

If someone isn't being nice to me, I ignore them or walk away. But if someone isn't being nice to someone I love and care about ---watch out! I can slice someone down to size with just words.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! Now go read my post. I know a few people who would apparently disagree with you. Not me. I completely agree, and your son is spot on.

Nancy Gideon said...

Great post! Made me think (darn it!). We judge very quickly but take very little time to empathize. Out of the mouths of babes, they say. That's why I love hanging with my grandguy!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A new way to look at it. I can think of a lot of stories where a spell was cast to teach someone a lesson. I guess all those spell casters are bad guys to your son.

emaginette said...

The thing is... he was always a beast hidden inside a human until he met Belle. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

The Silver Fox said...

I haven't seen either Disney version, but I'm familiar with this ancient story. I don't recall the spell-caster as being featured in any of the versions I've seen, so I'm probably not the one to answer this.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think there are multiple villains in the film and it just depends on one's perspective.

Liz A. said...

Lately I've come to the conclusion that people who aren't nice are hiding their own pain. So, attacking them for being mean just compounds their misery.

Everyone does interpret stories differently. You'll never know how someone is going to take your words.

S.P. Bowers said...

Kids have such amazing insights. Their minds haven't been trained to see everything the way the world sees it. We need to listen to them more. I haven't seen the live action yet and can't wait.

John Wiswell said...

I didn't see the live action movie, but it sounds like your son has a good point. The Enchantress might not be the principle antagonist, but by modern standards, she was inordinately cruel to the prince, far outside the realm of his behavior. I'm glad your kiddo can recognize that multiple people in a narrative can transgress!

Doree Weller said...

Huh, that is a great insight, and I didn't really think of it before either. I loved the live action movie and how they fleshed out all of the characters a bit.

On another note, I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger award, and now I nominate you. You don't have to accept you don't want to, but it was fun to do. You can read about it on my blog, if you're interested.
Doree Weller

Shannon Lawrence said...

He had a good point. I was disappointed that, in the enchantress's bigger role in this newer movie, she didn't teach Gaston the same lesson. I don't think he had to die. How horrible would it have been for such a vain and selfish man to lose his looks?

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