Jack the Giant Slayer? An Alternative Take on the Old Tale

Jack the Giant Slayer, a film directed by Bryan Singer, was released by New Line Cinema this month, to mixed reviews.  It is (very) loosely based on two distinct folk-tale traditions, “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” (the Wikipedia entries for each are informative, but don’t address their possible relationship in oral and literary evolution).
Whenever Hollywood takes up traditional tales—as it so often does in the absence of compelling contemporary narrative—such movies function to stir up (even as they obliterate) our remnant cultural curiosity about these old, archetypal stories.  I note that Singer admits that “fairytales are often borne of socio-political commentary and translated into stories for children.  But what if they were based on something that really happened?”  I haven’t seen the movie—though I probably will—but thought I’d take the opportunity to offer a little riff of my own on the Beanstalk tale, in hopes of tapping into the aforementioned curiosity.
Attached here is a talk I gave to the “Practicing Resurrection” Conference at Russet House Farm near Cameron, ON in summer 2010, entitled “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Political Reading of an Old, Wise Folktale,” which explores how the classic children’s story can be read as a warning tale about Sabbath Economics.  Enjoy.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Political Reading of an Old, Wise Folktale