Robert Coover’s 2004 novel, Stepmother, takes a popular fairy-tale villain, the wicked stepmother, and turns her into the protagonist of a postmodern fairy-tale novel. This article examines the wicked stepmother figure and explores how Coover unmakes her as “wicked” through his use of narration, characterization, and metafiction. The space left by the removal of the stepmother as a villain is filled by the fairy-tale conventions that Coover critiques. Additionally, Stepmother functions reflexively to comment on the act of retelling fairy tales and, furthermore, to challenge the conventions of the genre, leading to tension among the source, its genre, and the retelling.
Williams, Christy. "Who’s Wicked Now? The Stepmother as Fairy-Tale Heroine." Marvels & Tales 24.2 (2010). Web. <http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol24/iss2/4>.