Battle without Honor or Humanity #7

Optics

There’s a scene in Snow White & the Seven Dwarves (1937), near the beginning, where the Queen orders a huntsman to kill the femme nature. The huntsman doesn’t want to do it, but he’s scared of the Queen, so he goes into the woods. Snow White is singing songs with birds. The hunstman takes out a knife and sneaks up behind her. He steps on a twig. Startled, she glances over her shoulder and we see the reflection of her widening eyes in the blade ...

“My daughter consistently misreads the scene,” I explain, “thinking the huntsman’s intent is not to murder her, but rather to measure her eyes. She neither cares nor knows what for. The knife thus emerges as an instrument of optical calculation intended either to improve or disprove Snow White’s quality of life.”

A voice the likes of the Magic Mirror, cavernous and dreamy, replies to me from the rafters, the sewers: “You don’t have a daughter. You never have. Additionally, that’s not how it happens. The huntsman doesn’t step on a twig. As he creeps towards her, his shadow grows and swallows Snow White, and she gets wise to the darkness behind her. Something else. We don’t see her reflection in the blade. And her eyes barely crack a smile, in a manner of speaking. It is the huntman’s eyes that inflate like kamikaze moon rocks and burn brightly with fear and self-loathing for being a coward and not standing up to the Queen.”

“The Queen?” cries Snow White ...