(7/20/00 6:08:30 pm)
|The Significance of Fairy Tales|
I am interested in your views on the significance of fairy tales. I am writing a paper for an English class and one aspect that I must address is the significance of fairy tales. Unfortunately, I am lost on this question. If I had to take a stab at it, I would guess that fairy tales are often used to show the battle between good and evil. Good choices and bad choices, good people and bad people seem to be the central factor that I see. Authors use fantasy and legendary creatures, such as fairies or unicorns, to open the child's mind to broader concepts than the daily toil, so that the child will be interested in what is happening and hopefully learn a moral lesson. Would anyone like to expound on this idea? If I am missing the depth of fairy tales, please show me how and why? Thank you. Kim
(7/20/00 11:37:28 pm)
|Re: The Significance of Fairy Tales|
If it helps there is a good resource for teachers at:
(7/21/00 3:46:09 am)
That is a huge question! But let me make a couple of suggestions. Fairy Tales are often written about times of extreme social conflict for a community--the transformation of adolescents into adults, the movement into marriage (and many of its uncertainities and fears, as well as its potential creativity and power) and traditionally, birth or barrenness. These rites of passage have been fertile ground for artists and performers and the fairy tales have always found them a useful source of emotionally charged and interesting stories to the communities that listened to them.
Here are some books whose introductions might help: Vladmir Propp, "The Morphology of the Folktale". It's an older book that talks about the function of different images in the fairy tale--and how they generate meaning. And Harold Scheub "Story"--which is a book about African storytelling but has a great and very readable introduction about how stories "mean". One last little book might be also useful Van Gennep, "Rites of PAssage"--which is an old study about all those conflicts that seem to be so interesting to the fairy tales.
Good luck with the paper
(7/21/00 8:08:10 am)
|Re: The Significance of Fairy Tales|
Hermes and Midori, Thanks for the help. Kim
(7/27/00 1:16:50 am)
|the meaning of fairy tales|
I'm a french student writing a work on fairy tales, more specifically about the violence in fairy tales. If you want to know something about the psychological interpretation read
Bruno BETTELHEIM: Psychanalyse des contes de fées, (I'm sure it has also been transleted in English)
Bettelheim analyses the fairy tale from a psychological point of view. If I dare resume his book in a few words I would say it like this: He says that they help the child to fight his Oedipus-complex, and become a mature grown-up, and that the fairy tales give the child a message of hope, because even if the hero of the story finds himself in incredibly difficult situations, he always manages to get out well of them. (Sorry for my awful English)
In response of that book you might read:
Pierre PEJU: La petite fille de la forêt, pour une poétique du conte: en réponse aux interprétations psychanalytiques et formalistes (collection Réponses / Robert Laffont).
Péju says that may be Bettelheim exageretes to resume everything to the Oedipus-complex. There is more in fairy tales, there is a way of communicating with nature as only poesy can do it. The metamorphoses are a link to the mineral and the animal world. They are a way to escape from the real and nevrotic world (towns are too tiny, overcrowded, sick) to a great healty space (untouched woods, never ending valleys...).Well, you have to read it to understand what I mean. Nevertheless, good luck!
(7/28/00 6:42:24 pm)
|Response to Gini|
Thank you for your response, it is insightful and I am sure it will be very helpful. Kim
(7/28/00 7:33:13 pm)
|Re: Response to Gini|
If Myths count as "Fairy Tales", you might also consider that they reflect the people's outlook on life. Take for instance, the danes. their whole deity structure was built arround the fact that they beleived that life was only temporary, and that the only point was to die a good death so you could go to Valhalla, where you would have the honor of fighting beside the gods when they met their match, and lost.
Also, they didnot even believe their gods were immortal.
To me, this shows a society that is suicidal and dosen't care about overwelming odds.
This is just my opinion, of course.
Never lick a steak knife.
Visit The Green Inn and share a tale or two.
(7/30/00 7:24:06 pm)
|Response to Cygnwolf|
I will keep your points in mind. Thanks, Kim