(10/24/01 5:50:23 pm)
| fairytales and their effect on our daily life|
I am new here and not sure how to go about this.
Of course I am extremely interested in fairytales - from many perspectives and I have just come across your fantastic site.
My current research project involves matters as fairytales and their effect on our daily life, do they influence our actions and choices, do we live by them etc (consciously or not) There's of course more to it but I'd just like to start up a discussion with above as "the issue"
Does anyone feel tempted to respond, please do and I'll probably come up with some more specs as well.
(10/26/01 7:49:43 am)
| Re: fairytales and their effect on our daily life|
Freya, I know that fairy tales certainly have effected my world view -- particularly when I was growing up. I wrote an essay about it (published in the anthology The Armless Maiden), so I won't repeat the same ideas here. One thing that interests me on this topic, however, is a point Midori made a while back -- that the fairy tales we identify most strongly with, and/or the characters within them, change as we grow older. As a child, Donkeyskin and The Seven Swans were my favorite fairy tales, full of personal meaning. These days, it's the animal bride/bridegroom tales that fascinate me the most, from "The FoxWife" to "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" to "Beauty & the Beast." Perhaps that's because these days, as an adult, the challenges in my life involve my own personal transformations and adventures, as opposed to fleeing from dangerous external situations.
(10/26/01 1:55:07 pm)
| a view from the slipper|
I have to agree with Terri's observations about how my own emotional interest in the tales has changed so much as I've gotten older. I have been rereading all my old favorites (especially the gold hoard of Russian tales) and finding myself emotionally lighting up at more moments..I know what it is to be the heroine...I can remember that and read it in the stories with a certain bittersweetness, especially as it is my 16 year old who has eclipsed me in that role. Now I look with new eyes at the witch wives, fairy godmothers and especially Baba Yaga. But more than that, I read the stories now as complete journeys, not just of one stage or rite of passage of one life, but a community of lives at different ages. Parents, (good or bad) witch wives (good or evil) barren wives who mother fantastic children, surrogate fathers who turned to iron, ogre parents, animal helpers, stalwart heroes, committed heroines...they all move together in a certain relationship in a story and that's what fascinates me.
In another direction altogether...have a look at the old thread on fairy tales and advertising especially on T.V. It may be one of the few ways the stories are kept alive and culturally relevant in the popular form. (...I hope the good storytellers of the board don't throw fish bones at me...they keep the true tradition alive--I'm really just thinking about how the public at large experiences the broad outlines of the stories contained with the ads...which in turn depend entirely on the knowledge of older story telling tradition for their contrastive meanings.)
(10/26/01 2:34:33 pm)
| In conjunction with Halloween|
It is hard for me to answer this question as an "average" person since fairy tales obviously have influenced my life a great deal--from the standards of reference and symbolism in my life to my usual choice in reading materials.
However, when people learn that fairy tales are my interest, most are fascinated, some are "amused" and others are just plain bored--until I start talking about Cinderella variants or something to prove that there is more to it than just children's literature. Sometimes I am offered stories of how the fairy tales influenced them, but just as often I realize they really only vaguely remember Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood. Even Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty and the Beast are unfamiliar to them, despite Disney's version. I think part of the reason is that Belle and the Beast were not around for the older generations in childhood since it was a 1991 release. Snow White, on the other hand, has been taken over by the dwarfs and that is all many remember. I know I am tired of e-mails asking me for their names!
As a children's librarian, I do see the influence of fairy tales on Halloween. However, I wonder how much of it is influenced by the Disney movies. All month I have been asking the kids what they want to be for Halloween. Inevitably, I get the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty responses. Today I was told Jasmine from Aladdin. I know most of the girls are going to show up at the library in the store-bought Disney concoctions of net and cheap satin. They will feel beautiful and like princesses, so I don't want to be harsh on the costumes. Still, I would love to see some come in homemade costumes reflecting more of the original tales. I was particularly impressed with the mother a few weeks ago on the board who wanted pictures of Thumbelina for creating a costume.
On that note, I am reluctant to have a costume contest because the boys usually win these days with their unique interpretations of Harry Potter characters.
And, as a reminder since it is a favorite recommendation on the board, don't forget to pick up Kate Bernheimer's "Mirror, Mirror On the Wall" with the essays by authors explaining the influence of fairy tales in their lives and writing.
Wouldn't it be fun to have one of those superfluous surveys of the masses asking them what they know about the fairy tales they grew up with? Like the history tests students are giving and only an appallingly small percentage end up knowing the answer? What fun to see the results! Wasn't it Rumpelstiltskin who woke up Sleeping Beauty by putting a slipper on her foot?