“Transformation of Beauty”: A Recap

Our recent event was a success! Looking at Beauty’s transformation through video clips, presentations, and displays helped those who came to see how much Beauty has changed throughout the years, from helpless and passive, to fierce and independent. With the new movie’s release this month, the timing could not have been more spot on!

Those who came to our event explored Beauty’s transformation over the years through the information, book adaptations, and memorabilia provided by our class. Each version exhibited a different side of the tale as old as time in an interesting way; there are so many literary adaptations of “Beauty and the Beast” such as Beastly, Cruel Beauty, and Of Beast and Beauty.

book

Did you know there are also many different film/TV adaptations of the tale? Cortlynd prepared a video presentation for our event, demonstrating Beauty’s transformation through various clips. In these clips from a French film, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Merlin, and the new Disney trailer, it is apparent that while aspects of the story have stayed constant over time, plot points have changed and reflect contemporary society. These changes focus on how Beauty marries the Beast, and the level of independence that Beauty has or gains from her experiences.

Besides the displays and video clips, we also looked at Belle’s character more in depth via a presentation by Emma (no, not Emma Watson). In this presentation, we further explored the “Beauty” in “Beauty and the Beast.” Since the original 18th century French versions of the story, “Beauty and the Beast” has been a more feminist and girl-powered fairy tale than most, as Beauty receives power from magic, or saves the Beast, or is simply portrayed as strong, independent, and well-read. That trend has continued through its many adaptations in film, literature, and television. The newest adaptation introduces a more natural and realistic “Beauty” portrayed by Emma Watson. Viewers will be able to see Belle as an inventor and teacher, making her character stronger than ever.

quiz

Following these presentations, we played a quiz game to review. Sarah created a quiz that helped engage the audience more: they really got into a competitive spirit through questions like “What is a predecessor of the fairytale ‘Beauty and the Beast?’” (Cupid and Psyche), and “Who made a version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that depicted Belle with the ability to use magic?” (Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve). These informative questions helped to tie the presentation and video together. We ended our event with a raffle, and the forty-two people in attendance (twenty percent past our goal!) waited, hoping for their number to be called. While only four winners received tickets to Divine Comedy and Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, everyone seemed to enjoy the event and its activities, which helped end the evening on a high note!

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