I'm feeling a bit sad that we have finally reached the last week of our fun series for Ring Around the Rose. But then, I am a little excited, too, because it means it is time to move on to some other exciting thing. Endings are only beginnings in another form, are they not?
This week's question is probably the most serious one we decided to tackle.
What are your thoughts on the themes in Beauty and the Beast? AND What is your favorite version of Beauty and the Beast?
There are so many elements about the story of Beauty and her Beast that grab me. The first exposure I had to the fairy tale was, naturally, the Disney version. It was my favorite movie for the longest time because I empathized with the heroine. Belle was different, and people often made fun of her, but she didn't try to change to be more like them. She was not deceived by "outward appearances," not ultimately. She learned how to see past people's outward ugliness to the prettiness within. And she loved books. She would rather spend her afternoon with her book than with a bunch of people. Is that really such an unusual thing? I didn't think so.
I think the only part of the film I did not like was when the Beast changed back into the Prince. I hated the fact his voice changed. It was bad enough they changed his face, but did they have to mess with his voice too? I really, really missed the old Beast...He was the one I fell in love with, with his ugly face and grouchy personality. I didn't feel like I at all connected with the handsome prince. Give me back my Beast, please.
I think the most important theme in Beauty in the Beast is the message that you don't need to be outwardly beautiful to be beautiful. True beauty is from within, not without. In our world, where Hollywood celebrities and football stars are more famous than our military heroes dying overseas, this is a message we desperately need to be reminded of. We place so much emphasis on the outward appearance, but what's on the outside doesn't really matter. It's what you do with yourself. It's the thoughts you think. The people you help. The hearts you touch. The change you make. It has nothing to do with what you look like, but rather what you do with you already are.
I also appreciate that the concept of sacrifice is so crucial to the story. Belle sacrifices herself for her father, the beast sacrifices himself for Belle, so that she can be free. True love is sacrifice. It's putting what another needs over what we need. Note, I didn't say what we WANT but what we NEED. True sacrifice means you have to give up something so that someone can have something they need. Doesn't Jesus teach us that by the very nature of who He is and what He did for us?
I also like the fact that this is not a "Love at first sight" story. I do like Cinderella, but the whole concept of falling in love with someone the moment you meet them seems so shallow to me. It's like you fall in love with their pretty face or charming personality or big castle...but what about the real person within? I like the fact that in this fairy tale, the Beast grows on the heroine. She has to look past her initial prejudices and try to understand the person he truly is. This is true love.
And perhaps I love this fairy tale the most because I feel like, of all the fairy tales, it is the one that could be my story. Not that my husband is an ugly beast, or ever had an unpleasant personality, but we had one of those gradual acquaintances that turned into something lasting and romantic. If anything, I feel like I have the more beastly character--I can be grouchy, temperamental and sarcastic--while my husband is long suffering, patient and kind. I feel like, if our marriage were to be a picture of Christ loving humanity, I would be the monstrosity and my husband would be the Beautiful one who came to save me, in spite of my inward ugliness.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this timeless tale. Don't forget to check out the rest of the bloggers joining in on the conclusion to this fun series.
Kaycee at The Pink Cave
Jenelle at Jenelle Schmidt
Dorian at Dorian Writes
Hayden at The Story Girl
Heidi at Along the Brandywine
Grace at A Live Masterpiece