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Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Alan Soldofsky


brothers grimm, fairy tales, happily ever after, walt disney

Subject Areas

Creative writing; Literature


Thinking Through the Happily Ever Afters is a series of poems about love told from the contemporary perspective of female characters who populate fairy tales. From Barbot de Villanuve’s 18th century Beauty and the Beast, to the Brothers Grimm compilations of classic fairy tales, to Neil Gaiman’s modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty, these poems find inspiration from characters who have either been overshadowed or betrayed by their male counterparts or seek something different for themselves. They explore why these female protagonists—Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Aurora—fall in love, stay with, or leave their partners. This project explores the emotions behind each woman’s experience with love: in each case, she finds her independent voice, which is denied to her in the traditional tales. Through these poems, the reader can connect with each character, expanding our understanding of the protagonist’s newfound empowerment. Through these poems my readers may identify with some of their favorite fairy tale characters and also understand them on a cultural level, through the feminine perspective. This work is divided into three sections—“Before the Happily Ever Afters,” “Blissfully Happy,” and “The Honeymoon Is Over”—with ten to eleven poems each, and then organized by character, showing how they deal with each stage of love in one or more poems. Although primarily written in free verse, I use the formal structure of prose, sestet, Italian sonnet, and English sonnet to focus some narratives. This allows me to focus on the perspective of my characters, showing love in all its forms, both enduring and destructive.