Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Ear of Corn

You may be familiar with this title or maybe even heard of corn of the cob being referred to as the "Ear of Corn". I've even heard that it's a common misconception to believe when someone says Ear of Corn, they think you are talking about your ear. Maybe read this first before doing anything weird with your ear?

That was a bit mean, I know, It's actually not that hard to believe.
The Ear of Corn is by the Grimm's brothers like all the blog posts, this story is interesting though because it links religion to food, and although some people treat food as a deity, corn may no be at the top of their list. This fairy tale is about a gift from God, yes you guessed it, it's corn, to help the people in the town flourish.

The title personifies the corn, as if it can hear what is going on. Not surprising as it has religious connotations. You know, God can hear everything? The story also mentions "God" (377), "fruitful-ness"(377) & "much greater" (377), these connotations all give the sense of something bigger. For the people in the fairy story, they rely on God, he is their savior but one that is on Earth. "When God himself still walked the earth" (377), so for them religion is not just a belief, its physical, seeing is believing.

The gift of the corn from God to help the people, is actually wrapped up in the leaves or "Ear" like a gift. The "ears of corn did not bear fifty or sixty, but four or five hundred-fold... the corn grew from the bottom to the very top of the stalk" (377), if you imagine the corn wrapped up in that many amount of leaves it would be very thick, and there is a whole field of corn like this.
The story begins in this way and emphasize to the reader how great and prosperous the people were, until they took it for granted.
"Men however are so made, that when they are too well off they no longer value the blessings which come from God"(377). It seems the Grimm brothers are offering up an explanation for why god isn't revealed to us: He gives us what we want and then due to our natural instincts we become complacent, perhaps there is some truth to this, this story certainly thinks so.

As "one day a woman was passing by a cornfield when her little child, who was running beside her, fell into a puddle, and dirtied her frock. On this the mother tore up a handful of the beautiful ears of corn, and cleaned the frock with them." (377)
God seeing this is angered, understandably as His gift is being treated so callously, because as it was a gift, it is therefore sacred. There is the tone that it is considered almost blasphemous that she used the "beautiful ears" to clean a frock. It was an example of how "men however are so made.. they no longer value the blessings" (377) In this case, however it was a woman who betrayed this privilidge.

It brings to mind of another woman in biblical history who had God's trust and betrayed it: Eve. Although, of course the crimes were different and one more significant than the other, this woman also took for granted what they need to survive.

A 16th Century artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, created a painting called 'Summer', with ears of corn.

Cited by the 'Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales'. 2012. Barnes & Noble Inc. 

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