Story of Golden Locks
Guy made a career of painting popular sentimental narratives with preadolescent girls as the protagonists. In this canvas, a girl reads the titular story to two little boys, presumably her brothers. Her menacing shadow on the attic bedroom's wall and the boys' wide eyes suggest that she is recounting the story's most frightening moment. Fairy tales were appreciated for their moral content at this time, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears was valued as warning children not to wander off on their own. Later interpreters of the tale, including the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, have read in it a girl's fraught search for identity as she makes the transition from girlhood to womanhood. Guy's girl presents this very paradox—she creates a foreboding mood as she exudes calm and purity, which foretells her future success as a mother. Her doll is tucked into the box on the chair, which implies that she is ready to put away childhood games and assume an adult role. Seymour Joseph Guy (1824–1910), was an American romance painter.