1st Student's Major

World Languages and Cultures

1st Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Students' Professional Biography

Maria Ardanova is a graduating senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her major is German Language and Literature with a minor in Anthropology. She studied abroad in China in 2014 at Minzu University of China, and also in Germany at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg during the 2016-17 academic year. Ardanova presented her research at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium on Snow White, a famous fairy tale by the brothers Grimm and what cultural and moral messages it reveals about 19th century Germany. In the future she plans to pursue a graduate degree in the language field.

Mentor's Name

Nadja Krämer

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

World Languages and Cultures

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities


Abstract: Schneewittchen (Snow White) is a well-known 19th century fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers. What is not known to everyone is that Schneewittchen and many of other Grimms’ fairy tales that were first published in 1812 were not intended for children. This fairy tale is about a young girl named Schneewittchen whose vain stepmother tries to kill her because she is more beautiful than her. On three different occasions an attempt on Schneewittchen’s life is made until she finally succumbs to a poisoned apple. Only upon arrival of a prince, the girl is resurrected back to life. To readers of the fairy tale and to those familiar with Disney’s cartoon version, Schneewittchen is an enchanted, charming story in which good overcomes the evil, and in which Schneewittchen lives happily ever after with the prince, while the wrongdoing evil stepmother receives a punishment for her actions. However, to say that the fairy tale is simply about the themes of good and evil, and good prevailing, is not enough. In fact, a lot of questions come to mind: Why is the stepmother jealous of a child? Why does the tale emphasize characteristics of the protagonist such as innocence and beauty? What actually makes the stepmother so evil? This research analyzes the fairy tale’s underlying message about female behavior and ideals, and what it tells us about the culture and society at the time it was published.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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