The seven dwarves in Snow White may seem like just minor supporting characters, but there is a lot to be learned from them. They exhibit many positive qualities throughout the story. While reading the story to your child or students, have them pay particular attention to the characters of the seven dwarves. Ask them to try to identify what good qualities the dwarves show, and what their personalities are like. Then discuss the following qualities. For added reflection, have a discussion about how the story may have turned out had the dwarves’ personalities been different. For a discussion on some negative qualities, consider the points in this blog post about the evil stepmother in Snow White.
The dwarves are very welcoming. When they find Snow White sleeping in their house, they don’t immediately turn her away but let her sleep and then insist she stay with them once they have heard her story of why she is there. They exhibit the important qualities of hospitality and being welcoming (make sure your kids understand that the dwarves, being adults, can make decisions like this, but not kids!) They also exhibit generosity in allowing her to stay and make use of their house and possessions.
Tying in with their qualities of hospitality and generosity, the dwarves also exhibit the quality of kindness. They allow Snow White to sleep as long as she needed. Instead of waking her right away to ask who she was and why she was there, they took turns watching over her so she would find someone there next to her when she awoke. They make breakfast for her and take care of her as if she is their own daughter.
They also exhibit the quality of loyalty. After Snow White fell ill as a result of the poisoned apple, and was unable to be awoken, the dwarves did not abandon her or abandon taking care of her. After they were unable to wake her, they went through the hard work of carving a special bed just for her to lay in. Even though she was unconscious, they still took heed of her comfort and cared for her. They then watched over her until she was saved by the Prince’s actions.
Finally, the dwarves are hard workers. This isn’t discussed in much detail in the story, but is alluded to by the fact that they go off to work everyday with their tools mining diamonds and rubies in the mountains. This is a hard job, and they come home after sunset, still cheery after a long day and cheery when they leave the house every morning.