Snow White and the Seven Genres
Snow White, handsome, clever, and once upon a time extremely rich, with a comfortable home at the Queen Rovers and charming disposition, had seemed to unite some of the very best blessings of existence. She had managed to live nearly twenty-one years in the world with scarcely a thing to distress or vex her, until her unfortunate union with Prince Knightley. Once thought of as a capital fellow, the most eligible man at any society Ball and regarded by Miss White as a most convenient piece of Property, Prince Knightley had seemed an ideal
husband. His alliance to the White family was the greatest Triumph over the other ladies in the neighbourhood and made Snow’s Papa especially proud, despite her Stepmama positively bursting with spite and jealousy.
Their life was spent in superb Luxury, with every Michaelmas spent in Town, where Miss White chaperoned the young women of London to all the Balls; every Spring spent in a Watering Place; and at least two Tours to be taken in every year. His Name, his House and his Carriage had lent her exceeding joy yet it was his Fortune that truly merited the Jointure in Miss White’s eyes. Her pin-money was of an amount only received by royalty, allowing her to be frivolous with her acquisition of Diamonds, Rubies, Beads and other accessories with any leftover pennies generously being spent on gifts for her dear Papa. It was just as well, for she was destined to wait years for any inheritance from her husband; he was but six and twenty at the commencing of their Marriage, and in enormously good Health.
Her existence seemed an almost perfect one, until it was discovered she was not the only woman the Prince went around kissing, supposedly with the intent of bringing them back to life; Snow did not see how there could be so many evil Stepmamas and poison apples in England. She ignored her husband’s pastime with a degree of Contempt, but when other ladies began to receive shares of her pin-money she confronted the Prince. Wary of being denounced as an adulterous Blackguard, he drove her in his Phaeton to a place far further than eight miles of their estate and not within a carriage ride of either Town or any of their other holiday destinations. She realised, horrified, that she had been taken to the far North of England. She could only assume, as she saw her husband drive away, that he would go back to their home and fool her family and friends into believing that she had perished of some dreadful illness or unfortunate accident. With no way of knowing how to return to retrieve her Belongings and perhaps, if she felt the desire, see her family, Snow was forced to start a new life in the town of Elfton. For some reason, nobody in this queer place would give her money without her doing something for it; apparently asking (it was shocking that she even had to) politely was not enough. And with that, Miss White- formerly
Princess Knightley- began her new existence as the chief barmaid at the Queen Rovers.
The other barmaid, an intellectually challenged, materialistic youth by the name of Cindy Rella, flapped in one morning whining that she had misplaced one of her shoes at a party the previous night, after an argument with a partner who had rightly denounced her as a worthless snob. Snow had heard enough. Why should you care about a shoe when we’re all going to die one day? she felt like yelling at the obnoxious specimen before her. When you’re rotting in your cheap coffin with only worms for companionship, of what use will your shoe be? It probably won’t even fit your wasted, crumbling foot.
She wondered what it would feel like to die.
No more pressure, no more unrealistic expectations, no more need to contemplate life and all its time-consuming implications. Perhaps the wriggling of the bulging, carnivorous maggots would be a pleasurable sensation. Like vomiting. Purging the rotten food from the body, deliberately consumed for the satisfaction of beating it at its own game. Hahahahahaha. She wondered if her cat enjoyed the moldy salmon she fed it daily, writhing with the larvae of hundreds of pests.
The pest in front of her had continued her endless monologue, squeezing out tears every so often for dramatic effect. Snow, however detestable she found people, always liked to present a façade of civility and compassion, so she could enjoy the influence she had over their opinions of her. The thick ones were the best to toy with; sarcastically exaggerated compliments could be continuously spewed and they would unwittingly take them to be genuine.
“I’m sure you will find your shoe again. It looked so beautiful on your foot that everybody is sure to know who it belongs to, and so the person that finds it will know where to return it. As for that pompous imbecile that insulted you, ignore him: his opinion is of no importance.”
With that Snow guided her sniffling colleague over to the mirror hanging behind the bar, painstakingly concealed behind a shelf of assorted liquors. “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” she chanted. A misty face appeared in the glass and the two girls settled down on a bar stool to listen.
“I sense a deep undercurrent of self-hatred within you,” the Mirror addressed Cindy, as Snow snorted in disagreement. “Yet do you not see the beauty that lies within you? There is goodness inside every one of us, deep within the cores of our beings, our souls. You must delve into the murkiest depths of yourself to reach the most stunning pearls, the lights that will guide you to your destiny. If you have failed to receive reciprocation of the passionate adoration you have so generously bestowed upon others, do not grieve; for everybody on this earth there is another, the completion of our souls, a partner whose love will transcend all obstacles, even death. Love yourself and others will sense the radiation of joy emanating from your being. Love yourself, and they will love you...”
Snow removed her comrade from the view of the mirror and the voice dimmed, giving in to the barking blare of the telescreen by the entrance. The voice of the mirror had risen above the necessitated whisper, and Snow knew that to allow it to continue would be a request for vaporisation. The mere possession of such an article, an antique from before the Revolution, was a compromise of her, and her colleague’s, safety; indeed, their very existence.
The clock above the window read 09:00 hours. The first prole customers would drift in approximately thirty minutes from now for a late breakfast or a quick drink before work. No doubt they would be subconsciously humming the latest propaganda tune, direct from the Ministry of Honesty’s entertainment department. Snow had accustomed herself to the proles’ oddly nonchalant habits, for she was exposed to them more than normal Party members were. As a princess she and the other royals had worked in close contact with the omnipotent Party. As long as they presented an ideal to the public, and encouraged patriotic support of the Party, they were permitted to exist as a malleable item of propaganda. After her expulsion from the monarchy Snow was immediately made a Party member. One of the only workers excused from donning the compulsory gnome hat, Snow’s job was to work under the pretence of being a prole and monitor their conversations and actions. The “pub”, as they liked to call it, was a supreme environment in which to dissect her subjects in a relaxed, and therefore vulnerable, state.
The first drinker entered seven minutes after the Queen Rovers had opened for business. The old man shuffled up to the counter and paid for his beer, his unknowing contribution to the Ministry of Provision. Others followed, and the buzz of conversation filled the room. The telescreen adjusted itself accordingly and rivaled the proles with its accounts of victories over the enemy, whoever it was this time- faeries, gnomes, dwarves. Although, through strict censorship and subtle changes to past publicly available information, whoever the enemy was today had always been the enemy.
Jerking herself from her train of thought Snow realised the thoughtcrime she had just committed in questioning the honesty of the Party. As though to make up for it, she turned her gaze- in full view of the telescreen- to the poster of Grimm Brother by the front door and extended her arm in an adoring salute.
All at once Grimm Brother’s stern yet admiration-inducing expression was replaced in Snow’s eyes by the face of the man that had entered off the street seconds earlier. The handsome stranger smoothly strolled up to where Snow’s suddenly trembling legs held her shakily upright. “Bacardi and Coke,” he carnally growled in a husky tone, only owned by the most experienced gentlemen. Aware that the recuperating Cindy was perfectly capable of attending to the other customers herself, Snow was able to give her undivided attention to the supremely chiselled, sculpted visage before her own. Without breaking the gaze that she felt obligated to hold, she prepared the man’s beverage, her moist palms, wettened with withheld passion, leaving warm prints on the chilled glass. Her fingers brushed against his as he accepted the drink and she thought she saw a flicker of returned amour in his velvety chocolate eyes. He closed them as he downed the glass of dark liquid, and she closed hers at the same time in ecstasy. Her heart beat against her blouse as the glass was returned, the shape of his lips still outlined against the surrounding condensation. He turned to leave, but not before Snow had displayed her most seductive pout in a silent gesture of attraction. A flick of a coin across the bar and a manly saunter was all it took for him to exit the bar, yet Snow knew he would return: he was her muse, her aphrodisiac... her soulmate.
The rest of the day passed much as all the others Snow had spent at the Queen Rovers had, and she became fidgety. “Golly gosh,” she exclaimed to Cindy as the clock struck quarter past four, “time is not exactly flying today is it old chum?”
“I do say, I was thinking exactly the same thing,” came the chuckled reply. “You just can’t wait to get home and tell all the girls in the dormy about that man today. Do tell- you have a soft spot for him, don’t you?”
A scarlet blush rose up on Snow’s cheeks. She did feel a certain affection for the stranger; she sensed that he was a decent, reliable, moral fellow, and would make an excellent companion. Snow had not been in such spirits for a long time, and she thought the sensation splendid. It would be a marvellous surprise for the other girls she lived with if she threw an impromptu little midnight party when she returned home. Finally she knew what they meant by the phrase “on top of the world”.
The idea was presented to Cindy, who received it with whoops of glee. “Oh let’s, let’s! It’ll be simply gay! I’ll bring some of that delighiful fruit loaf Mother baked me. I’ve been saving it for a special occasion!” The two companions locked up after the last customer left; Cindy leapt upon her bike and pedalled off, leaving Snow skipping down the street, dreaming of finger sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer.
The stars shed minimal light on the alley that the barmaid strolled along. A shooting star sliced the sky- no- the universe, and a haunting smile played upon her lips. It had always been a desire of hers to have seen one of those unearthly flames of light, explicable by science yet at the same time so mysterious, before she died.
She supposed that her wish had been granted.
Pulsing waves of chill night air cruelly caressed her neck as she struggled to raise her black scarf.
The seemingly alien sound of footsteps sounded behind her, ricocheting off the walls that enclosed her and multiplying to a magnitude like that of the armies that used to battle on foot, marching constantly towards their fate. She paid no attention. These sounds had come to her often in the past days, weeks, months. The moans of excruciating pain were the hardest to bear, making the footsteps sweet music in the girl’s ears.
Icy puddles on the cobbles, works of art created by the raging storm the night before, reflected the lone figure that peered into them. The raven hair, the snowy skin, the blood-red lips, all recreated in a watery grave. Melancholy beauty. The pounding on the pavement loudened, beating away the silence. The pace was quicker, a hint of determination in the owner’s footsteps. The barmaid felt branches scraping across her skin as the surrounding trees clawed to gain possession of her. The rough bark was subtly replaced by warm skin, yet the grip remained just as firm.
With a brusque jerk the girl’s walk was halted, and she came to the realisation that there might be demons, other than those screeching inside of her, capable of doing her harm. Well, at least she had seen the star...
Maybe it wouldn’t end happily ever after at all.
Good experimentation with structure, vocabulary, grammar and a strong sense of individuality. Very controlled and assured, witty and entertaining. Very impressive parody of 1984 considering it is not a class text.
Final Grade: 39/40