Monday, August 19, 2013

A Tale as Old as Time

Certain as the sun
Rising in the East
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
 Beauty and the Beast

The rhyme above is from the classic Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I have actually never seen it, but love this part of the one of the songs, and thought it did well for the post. =)

In way, the Beauty and the Beast story is as old as time. Not the popular fairy tale, but the story of two unlikely people falling in love, and becoming beautiful in each other's eyes, even if they are not.

The concept of a girl falling in love with a beast, and even going to the point of becoming engaged to
him, can sound a little.. strange. I admit I even thought it was a little strange when I was younger, and never having watched the Disney movie I displayed no interest in getting to know the fairy tale better. But once you think about it, it is a very sweet story. And so I found out when I read a book entitled, Beauty.

Beauty is a very well done retelling of Beauty and the Beast written by Robin Mckinley. I think that if I did not like this story before, that I would quickly change to the polar opposite. =) (hopefully that's a correct phrase, I really don't know... or care for that matter. lol) Despite the fact that it has magic in it, it puts the fairy tale into a realistic point of view.
Honour Huston, stuck with the nickname Beauty since childhood, lives in a normal world with no magic. But when her Father's merchant ships are all lost at sea the family becomes destitute, and is forced to move to the country. In a little house outside of a small town, the Huston's start life over fighting to survive. A year passes, and the family is starting to adapt to their new lives, when a sudden business journey takes Mr. Houston back to their old town. The family is surprised when he returns distressed at an event that occurred on his journey home. With a heavy heart he displays a single rose, and tells that he made a promise to an ugly beast, owner of the rose bushes, that he would send the required payment for it. That payment was his daughter... Thus Beauty, not wanting her father to break his promise, travels through the enchanted forest to live in the castle owned by a beast. For how long she does not know...

Beauty is one of my favorite literary heroines, she's very funny and courageous, but enough fear of this terrifying beast to make her feminine. It's a pleasure to watch as she learns to trust the Beast and get to know him, and to learn that looks aren't everything; to find out that this lonely old Beast has a heart under that terrifying mask.

As for the Beast, I don't have many words for. But hold it! That's a good thing. =) He's so intricate and complicated that he's hard to describe. Since the book is looking from Beauty's perspective, (in fact, she is telling you the story herself) you also fear the Beast and his enormous castle that magically does things. So as Beauty learns things about him, so do you. It's such a sad story, and you feel so very sorry for him as the book goes on.

One of the things I love about this book, is the amount of descriptions. With fairy tales you don't get much of that, so to have the castle, the garden, the stables, all of it described in great detail is like.. like... i don't know what. It's as if the story finally got full justice. =) The Beast is also very well done. I personally think we should leave him at 'beast', we don't need 'he looked half lion half wolf',
or anything like that. Leave it to your imagination, what ever you think is scary and terrifying, then that is he. I can't remember how the Author really described him, I just know that I wasn't pressed to figure out what he looked like. He was a scary beast, with emotional eyes.. almost human eyes. That's what I remember. =) Eyes are literally 'windows of the soul', so though the Beast no longer has human facial expressions his eyes show all of the emotion he is going through: Pain, sadness, surprise, and of course, Love. =)  

When Beauty first comes to live at the Castle, she is extremely home sick. And most of the book she is waiting, sometimes patiently other times not, to return home. When she finds out that she is never to return she is in shock. To find out that she would never return to her family, her home? That she would be stuck in this castle with the Beast for the rest of her life? To find this out broke her heart, and to tell you the truth she fainted. However, when the Beast finally lets her go on a short trip to visit her family for the last time (*sob*) she finds that she misses the Beast. And when her family makes comments about how cruel the Beast is to keep Beauty for the rest of her life, she finds herself defending him. In all, the journey home revealed a feeling she did not know existed... could she really love the Beast?

I highly suggest you read this book, whether you love the story tale or not it reveals something that everyone should learn.
Underlying the events of the story is the revelation that beauty lies within a person, and is not a matter of mere physical appearance. (-unknown)
<3 Eva
 "He cannot be so bad if he loves roses so much."
"But he is a Beast," said Father helplessly.
I saw that he was weakening, and wishing only to comfort him I said, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?

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