Damsels: Distress or Rouse

June 6, 2008 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

A fair warning that this post is geared more towards girls.

We’ve all read about them. Chances are that most girls have even been them before; but what are they really? Has anyone ever stopped to analyze them? So yes, there are books and movies positively filled with them but what are they really? And how should we treat them?

Lets look at Shannon Hale’s works. Primarily, Goose Girl. Goose girl is an amazing and pleasant story about Princess Anidori of Kilendree. When her Father dies her innocent unintentionally cruel mother arranges for Princess Anidori (The Crown Princess) to have an arranged marriage to Prince Geric of Bayern. What this means is essentially Princess Anidori must leave her home and life to marry someone she’s never met. Typical, right? Oh, and let’s not forget the evil lady in waiting who plans to steal her identity and throne! Princess Anidori certainly qualifies as a damsel in distress.

Next lets glance at Nobody’s Princess. This book follows the story of Helen of Sparta as a youth, or really what the author imagines it to be. She portrays Helen as being wild, rowdy, and always getting into trouble. Helen is a far cry from your typical princess; yet she too is a damsel in distress.

Finally lets look at Pride and Prejudice. Ah, the notorious Miss Elizabeth Bennett. Claimed as one of the best British heroines in all of literature she too is a damsel in distress. How? Easy. She may be strong willed and opinionated but she too has her weaknesses. I would label these as her passion, also a strength certainly, her family, and her aspirations. She simply wants more than she can have. Think about what might have happened if Mr. Darcy hadn’t saved the day! Jane would have been happily married far before the end of the book, and it’s very possible that Lizzie would have married Mr. Wickham! A truly horrible thought indeed. Yes, without Mr. Darcy Lizzie’s story would have been incomplete.

Obviously, damsels in distress are everywhere. Our society relishes them. We love the idea of a beautiful maiden with long flowing hair being in terrible danger and than being rescued by a handsome male riding a horse, who conveniently happens to be a prince as well 😛

Now let me just say that I do really love fairy tales. The more distressed the damsels are the better; but I also think there’s a problem. Not every damsel is in real distress and not every prince wants to rescue hither fair maiden. There comes a point where you have to separate fantasy from reality and take a look at the bigger picture. I think damsels in distress exist in our society today. I also think that they often make the distress they’re in. Some people are, for lack of a better term, delusional. They have no idea what they want so they create fantasies that they think are what they want. Imagination is a wonderful thing; but is can also destroy you.

Some damsels are in distress, true. But most are just creating rouses. So next time you read a wonderful story about an enchanted castle and a prince in disguise consider this: what kind of fantasy do you really believe in?



Entry filed under: Thoughts.

Update My Review of Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters

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June 2008
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