This article examines nineteenth- and twentieth-century illustrations of "Hansel and Gretel” in order to discover how childhood was and is visualized. The concept of childhood should not be understood as a monolithic category, but as an ongoing conversation between many different ideas, for even within the same illustration, contradictory notions coexist. In the nineteenth century, illustrations of "Hansel and Gretel" reinterpret the tale by eliding issues of violence against children and using the text as a vehicle for disseminating the values of the bourgeoisie. Some pictures promote the ideal of the Romantic child, who is care-free and far removed from the problems of the adult world. However, this was by no means the only image of childhood to be illustrated. Artists also incorporated pedagogical messages, such as proper gender roles within the patriarchy and dietary instructions, into their work. Additionally, illustrations representing other class perspectives take issue with the notion of the Romantic child.
Freudenburg, Rachel. "Illustrating Childhood-"Hansel and Gretel" ." Marvels & Tales 12.2 (1998). Web. <http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol12/iss2/2>.