A Rumpelstiltskin By Name

 [Disclaimer: This is a revised essay for my online class. The essays are part of the assessment and the basic requirement is the length to be between 270-320 words. I assume you have already have a background of the story, and I am simply trying to enrich the discussion. :)]


The tale of Rumpelstiltskin gives us views on gender discrimination, greed, and deception. The characters are classic: a show-off father, a greedy king, and a wise goblin (Rumpelstiltskin)—all exploiting the daughter. The father jeopardizes his daughter’s future and she became helpless because of her inability to spin straw into gold. Thus, the king wanted her for the probability of multiplying his riches. The woman is seen as an object: a gold-producing machine. Otherwise, for what other reason would the king marry a miller’s daughter? It seemed a profitable deal with the king.

Rumpelstiltskin used his magic intelligently; for he knows that taking the firstborn child would be useful by either in gaining more power or as a ransom in the future. But why was his identity a secret? Mystical creatures opt not to reveal themselves fully to mankind—especially to women, as they are perceived to be unworthy of trust. He also challenged the queen that she cannot guess his name, a further insult to a woman’s intelligence regardless of her position in the society. When she got his name right, Rumpelstiltskin can no longer claim her child and the woman triumphs over someone who is not human. The story ends with a defeated and outwitted Rumpelstiltskin tearing himself into two out of anger.

Grimms’ Tales are not like Aesop’s Fables in directly telling the moral of the story, but it challenges the readers to learn it by unlayering the characters. The father wanted power by lying on his daughter’s reputation while the king wanted to get richer. The protagonist daughter is not perfect, yet she becomes victorious over trials. Rumpelstiltskin can even be seen as a compassionate antagonist by giving the daughter a chance to redeem her child. He thought creatures like him cannot be outwitted, but he was proven wrong. Don’t we, at some point in our lives, identify ourselves as the daughter, the miller, the king, and Rumpelstiltskin?


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About nadineestrella

A passionate leader. A driven learner. A life lover. I believe in God. I play hard, I work smart, I pay attention to details. I always try to see the beauty in life and the goodness in others. I love reading books, exploring places, and experimenting with food. I play different roles: a true friend, a loyal sister, a loving daughter, a faithful woman.

5 responses to “A Rumpelstiltskin By Name”

  1. Cleuci says :

    Hey Nadine!

    Thanks for posting your week 1 assignment. I got here from the Coursera discussion forums, where you made great suggestions on how we can make better use of the peer responses system as students.

    I hope to read your further insights into the course by following your blog. I am also blogging about the course here: http://therabkinsbride.blogspot.com.br/

    • nadineestrella says :

      Hi Cleuci!

      That’s great. Saw your post on your blog about Lewis Carroll’s work. I will post mine soon when I receive feedback from other students. Looking forward for discussing your thoughts about the classes as well. Thank you!

  2. Lisa Santika Onggrid says :

    Hi Nadine! Thanks for commenting my essay! That essay never made it to peer review, though, because the system said ‘it’s not submitted’ two days after I submitted it (I even did a recheck), so I’m happy to get at least one review. I’d frequent students’ blogs from now on, since I’m demoted to ‘audit’ after my mother sent me to ‘holiday camp’-sort of. That made me unable to finish Dracula (and we’re already on week 4!) plus that system failure with Alice essay, I can’t continue anymore.

    I digress. I like your essay here and how you said ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ reflects our society’s view on women. I think it’s valid, especially in the days Grimm’s stories were originally written. However, from another point of view, I’d say that you lack focus in your essay, so you end up telling many things but nothing in-depth. It’s still an interesting read though. Do post your Alice essay soon!

    • nadineestrella says :

      Hi Lisa! Yes, I’m sort of still treating my essays as a work in process. I do hope you won’t give up on the class even if you just audit it. 🙂 Best regards, N.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid says :

        I know what you mean. Sometimes my essays turn into full-length articles and I’m forced to cut down most of them.

        I’ll still view the videos and read the books, though with my own pace, as I’m already so far behind the class. I read blogs and will be writing mine also, but will not meddle with grades anymore.
        I plan to enroll again if the class is offered next term.

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