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Introduction To Fairy Tales

History and Interpretation of Fairy Tales

Margaret Chapman

on 15 January 2013

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Transcript of Introduction To Fairy Tales

Introduction to Fairy Tales What are fairy tales? Psychology of Fairy Tales LIFE is bewildering to children, and they need to be given the tools to understand life, as well as the opportunity to experiment with different psychological mediums to attain that understanding. This is why we see classic archetypes in fairytales, such as wise old men, young brave princes, vulnerable princesses, predatory animals, hags and witches, innocent children and ostracized youths. folk tales
oral tradition - stories that are told generation after generation - long before they were written down
related to other oral traditions such as myths, legends and fables
culturally based, although some tales are told by multiple cultures
contain "magic" in some way, often small, including talking animals, non-human characters, and archetypes Fairy Tales Versus Myths myths are invented stories
oral tradition
usually about some sort of creation
were (or are) sincere religious belief
myths are about a series of named entities, whose relations reveal important information about the nature of the universe (Persephone myth)
Euro-centric understanding of both names and myth (example: Greek: Demeter (de=corn. meter=mother), Zeus (=Deus Pater= Sky Father) Lakota: Maka (Earth Mother), Skan (Sky Spirit) fairy tales are invented stories
oral tradition
almost always about relationships to power and authority
often contain transformation
characters rarely named - if so, by characteristic. (exceptions - Jack, Tom, Molly & Barbara Allen in European traditions)
Kate Bernheimer says they are both "Flat" and "Mysterious"
Bruno Bettleheim believes they contain "animistic" logic what is the point of fairy tales? many different theories on why fairy tales are so popular and prevalent
many people believe that the stories were told to children to impart some sort of wisdom/understanding of the world (Bruno Bettleheim)
some disagree that they were intended for children in particular (Jack Zipes)
my theory: common stories provide sense of community - probably used by children and adults Bruno Bettleheim fairy tales use logic child can understand
help psychological development of child
allow certainty in uncertain world (ordinary people can prevail, goodness triumphs in the end, etc.)
allows children to explore natural feelings of jealousy, greed, anger, abandonment, confusion etc. 1903-1990, child psychologist One reason that contemporary scholars believe fairy tales were intended for children is because the stories contain actions and events that seem illogical and unbelievable to modern adults, but not to children. how we learn fairy tales now usually read to us as children from collections
movies & TV
Disney-fication of fairy tales important fairy tale collections there are many, including The Golden Ass (Roman) 1001 Nights (Persian), Baital Pachisi, (Indian) etc.
we'll focus on a few European collectors/writers:
Charles Perrault
Brothers Grimm
Hans Christian Andersen
other important contemporary collectors include
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (French, 17th C, Beauty and the Beast)
Alexander Nikolayevich Afanasyev (Russian, 19th C, Baba Yaga)
Joseph Jacobs (English, 19th C., Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs)
Yei Theodora Ozaki (Japanese, 20th C, The Japanese Fairy Book) Charles Perrault (French)

Born in Paris -
was a lawyer, and administrator at Versailles -
the pleasure palace of France -
wrote his tales to amuse adults Brothers Grimm (German)
Jacob (1785 – 1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786 – 1859)

Childrens and House Tales (86-211 stories)
first edition claimed all stories were word-for-word from bavarian house wife
Nationalist intentions. (1000 + German states) Aschenputtel
Hansel and Gretel
Snow White
Snow White & Rose Red
Little Red Cap
The Frog Prince
The King of the Golden Mountain Hans Christian Andersen (Danish)
1805 – 1875

Poor background.
Mother illiterate.
Left school at 11.
Wanted to be famous and to become an actor
Combination of invented and recorded tales Little Mermaid
Little Match Girl
Steadfast Tin Soldier
The Tinder-box
The Princess and the Pea
The Ugly Duckling Donkeyskin,
Sleeping Beauty
La Petite Chaperon Rouge
Puss in Boots Why Do Some Stories Get
Told Over and Over? Arne/Thompson Classification System Cinderella Stories: what do these stories have in common? shoes
step siblings
helpful creature/mother/godmother
absent father?
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