observation of a tree, like those in fairy tales

Question Description

Site-Specific Enchantment: Observe a Fairy Tale Environment

Due 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 11. Upload ONE .doc or similar file to canvas with compiled documents (each contribution should be ca. 250 typewritten words) AND a cover page. You can recycle the cover page from the first assignment. Do not worry too much about standardizing formatting this time around; we're just interested in the observations.

One grade will be assigned to entire group. Worth 5% of total grade.


This is a follow-up to the original fairy tale observation assignment. We are interested in follow-up observations: how has the site changed since your last visit and to what extent could it be seen as a fairy tale environment?


Below I attach include some of the relevant instructions from the first assignment.

Most all of the fairy tales we are going to read throughout the quarter can be characterized as “site-specific” (cf. Maitland p. 45). This means that their plot is dependent upon the environment they are set in. In the Brothers Grimm version of Red Riding Hood, for example, the little girl with the red cap meets the dangerous and mysterious wolf while she is walking through the forest to her grandmother’s house. If the fairy tale was set in a more urban environment, she would have most likely not encountered an animal but another human being that harmed her.

The individual documents should describe the environments as elaborately and detailed as possible. Attention should be paid to possible traces from fairy tales (pebbles, birdsong, peaches), ecological forces like human influence, weather, sunlight, microclimates, pollution, decay, gentrification, and the surfacings of particular histories (especially but limited to the species of animals and plants evident; you may have to learn the difference between a starling and a wren). Walk around and touch the environment, if possible. Describe how these activities feel to you.

You can think about questions such as:

What other human beings, animals, or plants do you see?

What colors dominate? How does it smell?

Are there shapes you can identify?

Does it remind you of previous experiences or memories from your childhood?

With thanks to J.J. Cohen for inspiration.

Final Answer


New Year is getting closer. Each day is colder than the day before, shorter too. Nature
prepares for the winter rest, to blossom again in the spring. By now, the twisted willow is
almost bare. Almost no leaves hang from the branches. The dead branch, the one that is
broken, still co...

Stellita (2859)
UC Berkeley

Thanks for the help.

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