Seven s for Seven Dwarves number] January 2, 2005 Seven s for Seven Dwarves The original date of the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is under debate, though many believe it to be no older than the Middle Ages (Wickipedia.org, 1). Despite several translations and many different versions, the most popular version to date is that done by Walt Disney in 1937. It was from my recollection of this version that I was able to recall the names of the dwarves: Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, and Sneezy. The task seemed simple enough at first glance: write down on a sheet of paper the names of the Seven Dwarves. Having seen the Disney version so many times throughout my life, I thought this would be no problem. However, as I sat and stared at the blank piece of paper, I could only remember three right away–Doc, Sleepy, and Dopey. This assignment would prove to be a little harder than I had originally anticipated.
As a child, Dopey and Doc had been my two favorites. Doc because he was so smart and Dopey because he was so funny. This show of favoritism made those two easy to remember and made me laugh as I recalled some of the things Dopey would trip over. Sleepy had been my nickname for a long time because no matter how much I rested the night before, I always seemed to be tired the next day. Through association, this made that dwarf easy to remember as well.
Once I was able to recall Happy’s name, Grumpy came immediately after. I knew there were two emotions used as names that were opposite each other. all that needed to be done was to remember which two.
For the final two dwarves, I tried to recall all of the dwarves in context to the Disney movie, but this proved to be useless as the only parts I could recall at first were the parts with songs: now the song "Heigh Ho" is stuck in my head, and I’m afraid the only way to get rid of that song is to start whistling while I work. Then an image of a dwarf popped into my head: there had been a shy one hiding behind the others. Through the use of synonyms and word associations, I finally went from "Shy" to Bashful. This left just one name to figure out.
This last name proved to be the most difficult to remember. I kept going over the other dwarves’ names in my head and rewriting them on this sheet of paper hoping to trigger my memory of the last one. Names from various other shows from my childhood began creeping to mind: Brainy, Thumper, Vanity–but none of these were right. Finally something happened that triggered my memory – I sneezed all over the paper I had been writing on. While that was rather grotesque, as I was getting a tissue I remembered a dwarf having to wipe his bright red nose with a handkerchief several times. Then I remembered Sneezy’s name.
What I thought would take me five minutes to write turned into a project that took more than thirty minutes. In the large picture, remembering the names of dwarves is not that hard: the only labor involved was writing the names down and trying to not repeat myself. However, I find it hard to believe that there are so many things that I can remember without trying, such as some questions off of my final exam for advanced placement algebra 2 in high school, while having such a hard time remembering the names of some characters from a fairy tale that has been around for so long.
This assignment was very crafty. There was a pretense of ease that provides a false sense of security that anyone could do this easily. A person doesn’t even need to have ever read any of the books or translations to know the story thanks to the efforts of movie makers and animators. However, behind this faade was a truly difficult task. Making things more difficult was the fact that neither the stories nor the movie ever truly centered attention on the dwarves. The human mind can be a tricky thing with selective memories triggered by odd things. Hearing a love song can make some people remember an old boyfriend or make others remember a favorite class. Concentrating on one thing may result in a kind of blankness, and most often the answers come when a person is not even thinking about them. An old adage reads: use it or lose it. While I am still waiting for the day that knowing a particular algebraic equation may save my life, I doubt I will ever again forget the names of the Seven Dwarves who housed Snow White.
Author. (YEAR) Title. Publisher – if applicable. DATE. pages. [Retrieved December 27, 2005 from ProQuest Database – if internet sources.]
Wikipedia. (2005) Snow White. December 27, 2005. Retrieved January 2, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_White.