Magical objects are a characteristic feature of the fairy-tale genre. In the fairy tales written by Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, Marie-Jeanne L’Héritier, and Henriette-Julie de Murat between 1690 and 1709, objects animated by magic empower heroines to pursue their preferred lover and reject unwanted advances. I argue that the vital, lively things imagined by d’Aulnoy, L’Héritier, and Murat function as a metaphor for the agency of seventeenth- century women. Each author uses magical objects to aid, challenge, and constrain her heroines in a different way. These differences reflect an ideological divergence about the ability of seventeenth-century women to overcome the structural limits imposed on their agency.
Reddan, Bronwyn. "Thinking Through Things: Magical Objects, Power, and Agency in French Fairy Tales." Marvels & Tales 30.2 (2017). Web. <http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol30/iss2/3>.