ABSTRACT. Wheel-spinning is one of the oldest chores related to the domestic sphere, having as a central element the woman in possession of the spinning instrument. The American theorist Jack Zipes argues that men possess power over the wheel, a symbol of the universal balance, but only women can manipulate its potential. Whether the wheel represents a form of punishment or the absence of free will, it is either controlled or influenced by the female counterpart. Although the process depicts a safe space, spinning also represents a threat to female creativity, embodied by males as inventors and debt collectors. Associating the motif of the spinning wheel in Grimm Brothers’ Rumpelstiltskin with the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution, the article provides an analysis of the consequences of Industrialization upon female identity.

Keywords: mythology; wheel-spinning; gender roles; debt; naming; industrialization

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Ovidius University,
Constanța, Romania

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