Announcing Puss In Boots: A Lesson On Personal Betterment

We are proud to announce our newest fairytale app… Puss In Boots! Check it out on the app store available for both the iPhone and iPad.

Most kids today are probably familiar with the audacious and acrobatic booted cat from the Shrek movie franchise; his popularity evident by the spin off movie they made just for their feline character. In honor of our new app Puss in Boots, I would like to spend some time now to delve a little deeper into the fairytale and uncover the moral the fairytale is trying to teach.

Contrary to Antonio Banderas’ animated cat, the first recorded Puss was French and his author, the father of fairytales Charles Perrault. Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a distinguished member of the L’Académie française – the institution created in 1635 that dealt with all things related to the French language. At the age of 67, Perrault lost his position as the secretary of L’Académie française and it was two years after this, in 1697, that he published the first ever collection of Western fairytales. This collection, entitled Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé avec des moralités: Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals: The Tales of Mother Goose, invented the literary genre of fairytales and included the original versions of many beloved fairytales – including The Master Cat or the Booted Cat (Le Maître Chat, ou Le Chat Botté) more commonly known as Puss in Boots. During the 19th century, the Grimm brothers retold their versions of some of these fairytales, including Puss in Boots.

So since Charles Perrault wrote down fairytales to teach morals to children, what is the moral of Puss in Boots? From my reading of the tale, I gathered that the moral Perrault was trying to teach was that of actively working for one’s own betterment. Growing up listening to American stories of hard work and perseverance, the story of Puss in Boots doesn’t present a very familiar path towards self-betterment for me. The wily cat tricks people out of their wealth and deceives the king so that the king can bestow favors on the Marquis of Carabas. The path towards self-improvement here is not through one’s own labor, but through gaining the favor of the king. Yet I was not French during the end of the 18th century, the time period in which King Louis XIV – also known as the Sun King – lived in Versailles. Noblemen from all over France would come to perform the duties of the lowest servants, just to garner the king’s favor. This era in European history was the Age of Absolutism, where kings were the absolute rulers over their people, so it is no surprise that Puss in Boots – a tale of self-improvement – focuses so heavily on the one person who could in fact improve one’s lot in life in late 18th century France, the king.

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Apple iTunes App Store