Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale
I am thinking of a fairy tale,
where the princess is not
flinging herself down the stairs.
I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Hansel and Great,
Bounty and the Beast,
where the beauty
has a pillowed breast,
and fingers plump as sausage.
I am thinking of a fairy tale
that is not yet written,
for a teller not yet born,
for a listener not yet conceived,
for a world not yet won,
where everything round is good:
the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.
This poem is another favorite of mine, and my students. I actually have it written on my bedroom wall. I love how she uncornified puns, the visual imagery, the consistant structure and most of all the message.
I’ve (still) been getting an awful lot of hits through the search term of the title of this poem. Apparently a lot of people are looking for a little elucidation and explanation to this poem. I’m going to expound a little on. This is not necessarily the “right” answer, but it’s definitely my answer.
Jane Yolen is taking a satirical and harsh stance on fairy tales. She starts off by taking the reader into her thoughts, letting you know that this is not reality. Through her word play on the names of popular princesses and fairy tale characters she expresses her love, or the need for healthy/ normal role models, and disdain for the cliché. She goes on with this parallelism for 2 stanzas.
The last stanza is the sharpest where while she’s still in her thoughts, she is talking directly to the reader and criticizing them. Saying, oh yeah, you think you got my point, you think you are listening to me, you’re not, you are still stuck in the same mentality, even if this did open your eyes a bit. (You’ll nod you’re head and say, “This is an amazing poem! And then skip lunch) This story was never told, the reader who would read this hasn’t even been conceived yet, and the world to which I want to tell this to has not yet been won over by my argument (that round is good, too).
Then she ends beautifully using bringing a common theme between 4 round objects to reiterate her message, each one representing something else, the sun – nature, wheels – inherently round, nessesity, and cookies – emotion, common love and affection, and traditionally round. She includes the princess in this equation, that it should have the acceptance that the previous items have. Where their “roundness” is never questioned, it simply is, and wouldn’t be otherwise. “Where everything round is good the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.”
Something to think about, consider Pixar’s Shrek. How many of you were disapointed that Fiona chose an Ogre’s body if that meant she’d have love. How many of you wished Shrek would stick to his human form. That would have been a real happily ever after wouldn’t it? Little twisted, no? Seems like Pixar’s got the right idea, don’t think most people are listening though.
Hopes this is what you were looking for. I’d appreciate if you left a comment just letting me know if this WAS what you were looking for, and if it helped 🙂