Everyone knows the basic plot outline of the French fairytale, Beauty and the Beast: a young and innocent girl is captured by a monstrously deformed man/beast, who is then transformed by her love and faith back into a comely young prince. It has been made into theater productions, movies, cartoons, graphic novels, and recast in modern literary works. It’s timeless message of love’s redemptive power gives it meaning to all countries and cultures.
It's been retold and remolded time and again, most recently with Disney’s live production. There are countless retellings of books coming out this year alone. One such example is a boxed set called Fractured Beauty that features five different retellings of this classic fairy tale written by five different authors. This set is somewhat unique in that each story, while a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is a different genre, covering science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, speculative fiction, and dark comedy. It’s currently on an exclusive preorder sale for only .99 and will increase to 4.99 on its release date of June 1st.
But what is it about Beauty and the Beast that touches the hearts of millions around the globe? What about this story incites creators to want to relive and retell the same basic plotline with variations on characters and settings?
Many fairy tales feature an idea of transformation, yet Beauty and the Beast seems to be unique in the fact that a character who has made such poor choices can be redeemed. Perhaps that’s what attracts so many people to this story. That someone so dark and beastly can change into a handsome, heroic prince.
It can be symbolic to the addict who is trying to get their life back in order, or to the person who has difficulty controlling their temper. Or to everyone walking this earth who has made mistakes in their past and are desperate to rectify them.
Beauty and the Beast could be a story of hope for those who feel that they’re beyond help. Most of the cartoons, movies, and literary retellings of this classic story exhibit the same underlying theme: taking an ugly character weakness and transforming it into something strong and beautiful.