Well, I had to move the final post in the Beauty and the Beast series to today, rather than Monday, due to traveling home from the ACFW conference (more about that in Friday’s post), but I hope you’ll still enjoy hearing my final thoughts and that you’ll jump in with anything you would like to share.
We’ve covered the many versions, themes, and modern renditions of Beauty and the Beast, which reveal the scope and impact of this tale. So why is it such a favorite? For me, several elements weave together to accomplish this. The themes running through many of the versions, such as the transformative power of love, the value of inward beauty, and the importance of right perception, appeal to me. They have meaning worthy of contemplation. Then there are story elements I find endearing and reflective of the journeys many of us take in life—the way Beauty and the Beast fall in love over a period of time, their romance blossoming first from friendship and then growing upon this foundation, the process that Beauty undergoes of learning to see and understand rightly, the vivid illustration of sacrifice for the sake of love, and many more. Aside from all that, little things in the story add their own appeal, like Beauty’s love of books, the roses, which have their own language and significance, and the dreams which play a powerful role in the storyline. Granted, these don’t appear in all the variants, but they’ve become fairly iconic. So the tale is meaningful on many levels, as a love story, a tale of redemption, and a journey of personal growth, which has allowed me to enjoy it time and again.
The enduring elements of the story also make it ripe for reinterpretation (as seen in the many retellings), and my love for this tale inspired me to write my own rendition, Beauty for Ashes. Dreams and daydreams helped birth character and plot which then melded together with aspects of the traditional tales and the Celtic notion of thin places. And even after investing the enormous amounts of time and energy necessary to write my own novel rooted in the fairy tale, the story still holds wonder and fascination for me. Perhaps that is what makes fairy tales so enduring, these elements of deep meaning that can be explored over and over again, always taking on new life.
So what tales grip your imagination and don’t let go, as Beauty and the Beast did for me?