First Advisor

Amanda Smith Byron

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors




Fairy tales -- Indonesia -- Cross-cultural studies, Fairy tales -- Europe -- Cross-cultural studies, Feminist literary criticism, Folklore -- Psychological aspects




Folklore was one of the earliest developed forms of story telling, and fairy tales especially remain influentially pervasive in society today. In this paper, I seek to deconstruct five versions of the Indonesian folktale "Bawang Merah, Bawang Putih," through comparisons with the European fairy tales "One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes," "The Fairies," and "Mother Holle," using an interdisciplinary approach incorporating psychoanalytic and feminist theories in a close reading of the tales. Through tracking the transfer of money in the tales, I establish that heroines rarely keep their money as young, marriageable girls are considered commodities themselves within the fairy tale world. While scholars acknowledge the existence of "Bawang Merah, Bawang Putih," no definitive research has been conducted on the tale. Thus, through this paper I attempt to introduce the tale into the folkloric academic discussion, providing an additional avenue for the study of Indonesian folklore.


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