A couple of weeks ago I posted something about one of my favorite childhood books, The Little Red Hen, on my Mom’s Musings blog.http://jaynepbowers.com/2014/05/15/duty-bound-chick/
I had just read Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits and was amused and somewhat gratified to see that she and I saw that little duty-bound chick in the same way. In fact, she was/is the personification of every self-sacrificing woman the world over. If you want to read more, then check out the blog. If you want to read a more sophisticated consideration of the hen and her story, read When The Heart Waits.
Tonight I’m writing a few words about Rapunzel, another childhood book elaborated on by Kidd. As I reflected on the story and how it affected me as a child, I must admit that the only thing I recalled was my envy of her long, lustrous locks. A practical child, I also wondered how she managed to shampoo and thoroughly rinse the golden tresses.
After reading Sue Monk Kidd’s take on Rapunzel, I have a different perspective and see applications of this trapped, helpless damsel everywhere. “Help me,” someone will plead. “Can’t you see how powerless I am?”
Imprisoned in a tower with no way of escape, Rapunzel’s singing attracts the attention of a handsome young prince. She lets down her hair so that the suitor can climb up for a visit. When the enchantress (witch?) who put her in the tower in the first place finds out about these clandestine visits, she gets so angry that she cuts Rapunzel’s hair and sends her away to fend for herself. Eventually, Rapunzel and the prince are reunited and live happily ever after. This is a fairy tale after all.
But back to the story. Rapunzel is in a high tower in the middle of the woods with no way to get out. There’s no staircase and no door. When the witch comes to see her, she says, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair.” Later, the prince says the same thing.
Did it never occur to Rapunzel that she and she alone was allowing them access to the tower? Didn’t she realize that she was enabling them? Didn’t she think of escaping?
Can you imagine being in such a situation? Don’t you know she was unhappy and wanted to get out? I wonder how she felt and what she must have thought when the witch and/or the prince left her for their lives outside of the tower. Why didn’t she do something to change her life?
Sue Monk Kidd posed an interesting question, and so am I. Why didn’t Rapunzel cut her own hair, make a ladder of it, and climb down to freedom?
Do you know someone like Rapunzel who is unhappy in a relationship, job, or geographic location who keeps waiting for rescue? Someone who is waiting for the witch to come and cut her hair and set her free? I do.
What about someone who is waiting for his parents to give him permission to move to another town? Someone who despises his job but keeps hoping that one day things will improve? Someone who longs to meet that special someone but won’t do put forth the effort to meet him or her? I know those people too…and many more just like them.
In fact, there have undoubtedly been times when I’ve been the damsel waiting for rescue. There will probably be future times of futile waiting too. But when those times come, I’m going to remember Rapunzel and cut my own hair and climb out of the tower. At least I hope I’ll have the courage to rescue me. I hope you will too.
Is there something in your life that’s keeping you trapped in a tower? What can you do to change?
Are you someone who’s already found the courage to “cut your own hair” and climb out of the tower?