"Hansel and Gretel" is another traditional fairy tale that helps us understand what's going on in this crazy campaign that has drawn in anti-establishment voters who are angry, since they have been beaten down by the economy and want changes to the way things are. The story of Hansel and Gretel helps to illustrate the saga of these voters, since they are lost in the woods, seek refuge in what looks like an attractive place to go, and are threatened by destruction by an evil witch who has lured them in, only to try to eat them up before they manage to escape.
This is the sixth in a series of campaign fairy tales I have written for the Huffington Post:
- Two Fairy Tales about Donald Trump
- Snow White and the Seven Candidates
- Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Trump http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gini-graham-scott/little-red-riding-hood-an_b_9381132.html
- Golditrump and the Three Bears
- The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Trump http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gini-graham-scott/the-three-little-pigs-and_b_9394494.html
In this case, the original story, which comes from German folklore, was first recorded and published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. As the story goes, Hansel and Gretel are young children whose father is a woodcutter, and when a great famine occurs, his abusive second wife convinces him to send the kids into the woods, because they eat too much, so she and her husband won't starve to death. The situation is a little like today's economic turmoil that's resulting in increased inequality, so many once middle-class people and poor people are suffering more and more, and so can feel very lost. Thus, as you think of Hansel and Gretel going off into the woods, you might think of the Republican and Democratic Party struggling to find its own way and survive.
At first, Hansel and Gretel try to return home after Hansel lays out a trail of pebbles and then breadcrumbs, but that doesn't work very well, much like it has proved difficult to get any bills through Congress to help the poor and downtrodden. But eventually Hansel and Gretel follow a beautiful white bird, who is singing so delightfully, to a house in the woods built of bread and covered with cakes and windows of clear sugar. So since the children are so tired and hungry, they start eating the roof and windows of the house. This inviting attraction is a little like the way Trump has sent out his call to the angry and frustrated people, using sweet enticing words and entertaining antics to woo them, which he knows how to do well as a reality show host featuring glamourous celebrities. So his promises and claims of greatness and success are like sweet candy to voters, so they eagerly follow and vote for him. They think it will be just great in the gingerbread house built by Trump.
But then, as the traditional story goes, a hideous old woman comes out of the house and lures Hansel and Gretel inside with the promise of good food and soft beds. As a result, after having a wonderful meal, the children lay down to sleep in beds with linen sheets, feeling like they are in heaven. But in fact, the old woman had only pretended to be kind, because she is in reality a wicked witch, who built her house of bread in order to cook and eat the children who fall into her power, just like Trump might seek to use his power if elected President to do whatever he wants, such as building a wall to keep out Mexicans, preventing Muslims from entering the country, torturing suspected terrorists, and killing their innocent family members. And the gingerbread house is, of course, like one of Trump's many real estate properties.
In any case, poor Hansel and Gretel are at first helpless. The witch locks Hansel in a cage in a stable behind a grated door to fatten him up, so she can eat him, much like Trump has been capturing the Republican Party by rounding up more votes than anyone else. He has done so by reshaping the debates, so he can insult and demean the other candidates, while they have little success in fighting back, much like Hansel in his cage. Trump just insults the opposing candidates some more and looks for their weaknesses to undermine them, such as repeatedly calling Cruz a liar and attacking Rubio as too weak and soft to make a good President. Still, Hansel is able to keep the witch from eating him by holding out a little bone, which she thinks is his finger, so she continues to think he is still too thin to eat, much like the remaining Republican candidates, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich, keep entering primaries and caucuses in the hope of getting enough votes to stop Trump from winning the nomination.
Meanwhile, the witch treats Gretel like a slave, ordering her around to cook and fetch water, much like Trump has been putting down Hillary, as not being worthy of being President, accusing her of everything from the e-mail scandal to lying about the attacks in Benghazi and having a husband with a roving eye.
But finally, Gretel proves to be the smart one. After the witch decides to eat Hansel even if he is too thin, she prepares the oven for him and decides to kill Gretel, too. So she asks Gretel to open the oven and lean in front of it to see if the fire is hot enough. But suspecting that the witch plans to kill her, Gretel pretends she doesn't understand what the witch wants her to do. So she asks the witch to show her. Once the witch demonstrates, Gretel pushes her into the oven and shuts and bolts the iron door, after which the witch burns to death. Then, she frees Hansel, and they discover chests of pearls and jewels throughout the witch's house, which they take back home with them. Likewise, the wily Hillary can be the one to successfully attack Trump, whether he wins the nomination or not, and the witch's house with its treasures and precious stones is much like Trump's beautiful three-floor penthouse in Manhattan, which is filled with luxurious paintings and furniture, like a room from a Louis XIV palace. And in the end, the witch is burnt up, much like Trump might feel burned should he lose the nomination to Cruz, Rubio, or other establishment Republican, or should he lose badly to Hillary in the election in November. In that case, no wonder Trump might feel all burned up, because he has lost despite all his insults, lies, and low-blow attacks, much like the evil witch ended up getting destroyed in her own oven.
Gini Graham Scott, PhD, writes frequently about social trends and everyday life. She is the author of over 50 books with major publishers and has published 30 books through her company Changemakers Publishing and Writing. She writes books and proposals for clients and has written and produced over 50 short videos through Changemakers Productions and is a partner in a service that connects writers to publishers, agents, and the film industry. Her latest books are Scammed, Lies and Liars: How and Why Sociopaths Lie and How to Detect and Deal With Them, and The New Middle Ages: How the Growing Inequalities Between Rich and Poor Threaten Our Way of Life.