When I was reading through the New Fairy Tales, I was making connections to stories I heard as a child. The characters had a familiar feel to me. I felt like I was going back to my childhood. This helped me interpret the new fairy tales I was reading because they had similar characters, some had the same or similar names, and themes.
I chose to read the fairy tale “Dollface.” In the link is the actual fairy tale I read. This fairy tale reminded me a little bit of Pinocchio, but the doll in this story remained a doll. The story starts out with the doll in the process of being completed. The doll knows that something about him is not right, like part of his body is not there. When his is finally able to walk he meets the young child. She enjoys playing with him. This is his first relationship or contact with a human, yet he understands emotions and thoughts. The girl grows up and eventually stops playing with the doll. He is then paired up with another doll that is not like him. He tries to develop a relationship with her but fails to do so. The end of the story is when she finally does talk though and when she does she says “doll.” The doll learns the truth about what he is; a doll.
This fairy tale goes deeper than just a story for children. I interpreted it as a relationship between a parent and a child. The doll represents the child who has been neglected over time by the parent. The child feels a connection to the parent and wants to stay around because of that. The young child represents the parent that “lost interest” in the child. Maybe something tragic happens in the parent’s life and they turn to alcohol to escape. In the fairy tale, the doll tries so hard to get the young child to listen. The doll slowly starts to get dehumanized by the young child, or the parent starts to treat the child like a pest or something that just takes up space.
In the end of the fairy tale the doll’s fabric wears and it rips. The doll desperately wants to feel something to know he is alive, but disappointed when he feels nothing. He waits for death to come but death does not come. I interpreted this as the child becomes broken from the neglect and it starts to wear on the child. Maybe even the parent gets into a new relationship and the partner is abusive to the child that they bear scars. The child wants to be dead because they do not know why this is happening to them. The parent does nothing like the young child in the fairy tale. The young child had grown up and moved on from the doll, just like the parent had moved on from their child. They both did not care anymore about the things of the past and had a new life.
The ending of the fairy tale made me really sad for the doll. The doll learns the truth about what he really is, a toy. Going back to the child and the parent interpretation, I think that this could be interpreted as the parent or their new partner, telling the child they are useless. When I think of toys I think that there is an appropriate age for each one. Being a nineteen-year-old college freshmen, I am definitely too old for such toys. I would say that for me they are useless because I do not get any educational value out of them now like I did when I was younger. This is where my thought process is going when I interpret “toy” as the parent telling the child they are useless. They do not fit in their life anymore; they have outgrown the child.
The conventions used in this fairy tale helped me with the understanding of this story. This fairy tale was written from the point of view of the doll, first person. As the reader, I was able to know what the doll was thinking and feeling. That is very important when reading the fairy tale. If the young child had told the story it would have changed the entire story. I believe there would not be as much emotion as the author wanted.
Another convention used in this fairy tale was the struggle of wanting to be human. This helped me better understand what I was reading. Every fairy tale seems to have some sort of struggle which makes the fairy tale what it is. The struggle of the doll wanting to become human was very relatable. I think everyone has a moment at some point in their life when some dehumanizes them. For example, if you were bullied or not wanted by a family member, those are times we would feel dehumanized. That is why this struggle helped me understand this fairy tale so well. I have been in the position of the doll and it does make you feel like you are dead.