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April 17, 2014

Homework Help: English

Posted by Mary on Monday, February 1, 2010 at 8:38pm.

Hello there! If you have time, can you please look over my essay! Thank you!

Analyze one of the following elements in Donkey Skin: the narrators, the art of transformation, power, love, self image, self transformation.

The fairy tale "Donkey Skin" by Charles Perrault addresses the topic of incest. "Once the incest taboo is violated, a woman is withdrawn from circulation, no longer available to be given away" (134). Donkey Skin however, goes through many transformations which help her overcome her father's evil desires for her. These transformations lead the reader to believe that she will have a better future.
Donkey Skin's first transformation takes place when she runs away from her father with the help of her fairy Godmother and disguises herself with the donkey's skin. "It's such a perfect disguise and so horrible that once she conceal herself inside, nobody will ever believe that it adorns anyone so beautiful as her" (70).  Not only was the donkey's skin a "perfect disguise" but it can translate as Donkey Skin's way of showing that she has been tainted by her father's sins. He is an animal to her, so then she becomes one herself. Also by cloaking herself with the donkey's skin, she becomes invisible. When she is visible and beautiful, she is endangered by her father's desires to marry her and can not defend herself because she is young and vulnerable. Thus her period of social exclusion is an opportunity for Donkey Skin to become more mature, and gather strength for her return to society. 
Every Sunday, another transformation occurs, Donkey skin locks herself in her room, cleans herself, and dresses up. She wears her beautiful gowns and looks at herself in front of a large mirror. She feels "satisfied and happy" (71). The mirror is important in this fairy tale because with the mirror, Donkey skin can see her true self, a Princess. She also sees herself as someone who is not only beautiful, but strong and brave. If she had marry her father, she would never feel as delighted as she is now. 
During her Sunday transformation, Donkey Skin's only regret is "that she did not have enough room to spread out the trains of the dresses on the floor" (71). Her regret foreshadows the end of her time in isolation because she cannot stay hidden forever. If she stays in her room too long it will lead to narcissism. What she needs is to be visible, to be seen by someone else: her prince. 
With Donkey skin's new found wisdom and confidence, she is able to captivate or even cast a spell upon the prince to a point where he becomes lovesick. He cannot rest until he had her. Thus he orders someone to tell her to bake a cake, which represents his need for Donkey Skin. Donkey Skin immediately washes herself, dresses nicely and bakes the cake in the kitchen, a place of transformation of food and also her destiny. Baking this cake is essential for Donkey Skin because it is her chance to reveal who she really is. By dropping the ring in the cake, she is showing her status and proposing to the Prince. She is taking matters into her own hands.
Donkey Skin has her last transformation when she goes into her room for the last time, cleans, and adorns herself to present herself to the King and Queen. "She arrived at the palace and passed through the halls in her blue dress whose radiance could not be matched" (73). Donkey Skin dresses so beautifully to show the King that she is fit to be the wife of the prince and even the future queen.
Donkey Skin has her happily ever after of marrying the Prince and reuniting with her father. This fairy tale speaks the unspeakable (incest), and provided a refuge for young people going through incest. Donkey Skin may be an unpopular tale in Western cultures, but gives a positive message that people going through this are not alone, and must persevere. Perhaps all they need is some transformation like Donkey Skin to mature and grow stronger to succeed in the end.

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