Although not specifically mentioned in Flowers in the Attic unlike other fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty or obvious allusions to them such as Rapunzel or even Hansel and Gretal – there is one other fairy tale FITA borrows heavily from and that is Snow White.
The story of Snow White has strong parallels to the dolls tale – having to flee after the death of her father and go into hiding.
Snow whites fleeing , like the Dollanganger s, from unknown danger – Cathy mentions the “mysterious they who could take away everything” which leaves the reader with a feeling of unease and dread if they were to stay.
Only to find refuge in a safe place – the attic was safe for them according to Corrine until she gained her fortune. Snow had to flee into the deep dark woods into the unknown …..
An old hag appears , the wicked queen in disguise resembling the Grandmother they truly feared and believed was the danger yet , and here I go deep, little do they realise the real danger is their beautiful queen, their own mother.
In the original fairytale s it was interestingly enough always the real mother who was the villian of the tale – many people found this uncomfortable and hence the switch to the more palatable step-mother , to quell the horror of the thought of a mother harming her child. In Fita Virginia has actually bought back that original horror and used it to give the gothic horror element to her tale.
The Queen, like Corrine,s beauty was only skin deep , in reality she could become the hag which I believe showed her evil side. Corrine too had this evil ugly side which she disguised through her own mother who she used in her scheme.
The old hag proffers a poisoned apple just as Corrine proffered gifts and promises of riches in order to get the children to stay. The Grandmother bought them doughnuts which were poisoned. A sweet irresistable treat…..
They were designed to remove the womens threats to their being – the Queen for being the fairest of them all – Corrine for her inheritance.
However, the apple was only poisoned with a sleeping draught in order to trick people into believing snow white was dead – could this confirm corrines claims ” she only wished to poison them a little “?
To trick her father into thinking she had killed her children ?
The significance of the apple being offered and the link to FITA is very obvious. The apple being a religious icon of the Ultimate forbidden fruit. One bite into the apple and exclusion from the garden of Eden.
This ties in with the theory that the children being put in the attic., especially at the age where they would be approaching puberty, was part of the masterplan to tempt the children into committing the ultimate sin and to punish and shame Corrine further.
Once the children take that bite of the apple , commit the sin, the poison takes effect and Cory dies…..
This awakens the children to the danger they are in , like the Princes true loves kiss for Snow White which awaken s her from her sleeping death , and they realise the need to escape.
However, their fleeing does have the religious connotations of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. Whilst Snow White lived happily ever after, the children are forced into an unrecognizable world in which their sins are laid bare and they have to find a way to survive.