Fairy Tale Synthesis Prompt


Overview: For this last unit you will compose a 5-7 page synthesis essay. Synthesizing is the bringing together of multiple texts; therefore you will be using three primary sources in this essay.

The topic of this essay is fairy tales and retellings. You will pick a fairy tale from the list below, find two written, short story versions (a Grimm version and one other) and a retelling in another mode, and discusses similarities and differences between the three sources. Some examples of other modes are television (Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural), movies (Red Riding Hood (2012), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Blue Beard (2009)), songs (Lil’ Red Riding Hood - Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, 1966), paintings (Little Red Riding Hood by Francois Fleury-Richard, 1820), graphic novels (Snow White the Graphic Novel by Martin Powell), novels (Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright), etc.

To discuss some of the differences or similarities between the sources you may have to take a look at the culture of the time that the retelling came out (ie: if you choose the movie Red Riding Hood you may want to discuss the Twilight obsession and how the Catherine Hardwicke effected the movie). You may incorporate up to two outside sources.

Choose one fairy tale:

  • Red Riding Hood
  • Cinderella
  • Snow White
  • Rapunzel
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Rumplestilskin
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Blue Beard
  • Hansel and Gretel

I will post the Brother’s Grimm version of each of these fairy tales in a file folder named for the tale on D2L. I will also post some outside material (retellings, academic articles, etc.) to help you in your research. Finding the second and third primaries is up to you.

Process: The structure of the essay will depend on the type of synthesis and topic you will be addressing. Here is a very basic plan:

  • Very briefly summarize each primary source
  • complete the synthesis matrix by filling it in with info from your sources
  • decide on the overall comparisons and contrasts between your three sources
  • break the overall idea down into various components (analyze)
  • find examples/evidence from your texts: synthesis means bring together multiple texts
  • collect all this information and begin drafting

Technical Info

  • 5-6 pages long (not including the works cited page)
  • MLA formatting
  • avoid first and second person perspective
  • keep a neutral, academic audience in mind
  • have a catchy title and introduction
  • works cited page

Due Dates

  • Rough Draft: due on December 4. Bring two paper copies to class. This should be a minimum of 4 pages of text (not including the works cited page in the page count).
  • FINAL DRAFT: due on December 6 by 10:00 a.m. via D2L drop box.

Warning: Do not put this assignment off. You have three weeks to complete it, but this is not a paper that you will be able to write overnight. Start gathering your sources ASAP. Visiting me during office hours, getting classmates to peer edit, and visiting the AARC will help you produce the your best paper, which will help your grade.


By: Kay Porter