The Prince, The Punisher, and The Perpetrator: Masculinity in Animal/Monster Groom Tales
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Feminist scholarship concerning fairy tales is too limited. While relationships between male and female characters have been explored extensively, this thesis focuses on masculinity as it is performed in interactions between male characters. It aims to bring more justices to traditional fairy tale gender binaries. Using Tony Coles’ Theory of Multiple Dominant Masculinities, this project examines four 17th-19th century animal/monster groom tales, studying male characters in order to understand how masculinity is constructed in selected tales and operates as a dynamic relationship between male characters. While the quest for dominance is often linked to violence, by employing the marvelous as an agent of change, these tales offer utopian perspectives in which shifts in male power occur without violence. The system of masculinity can be unfavorable and restrictive, presenting male characters with limited role options, but in fairy tales this system is also flexible, offering the possibility of change.