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Many fairytales omit these essential words.
In the poem “Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale” by Jane Yolen, the speaker expresses her view through parody, foreshadowing, and figurative language that a more full-figured image of a woman’s beauty will someday prevail.
But what about the adult? What value and meaning do these children's stories, as they are commonly referred to, have for people who have long surpassed their childhood? Do fairy tales have some universal appeal to people of all age groups and social classes, or are they today only for children and scholars who study them for various reasons? Why is it that cultural and literary historians, folklorists, sociologists, psychologists and others have studied and continue to investigate the deeper meaning of fairy tales? Surely not because they simply love children's literature and in a wave of nostalgia long to return to those cozy moments when a beloved family member read or perhaps even told them one of those old stand-by Grimm tales many years ago. The reason, obviously, is that scholars have long realized that these tales were originally not children's stories, but rather traditional narratives for adults, couching basic human problems and aspirations in symbolic and poetical language. Even though they present an unreal world with miraculous, magical and numinous aspects, fairy tales nevertheless contain realistic problems and concerns that are universal to humanity. They are symbolic comments on basic aspects of social life and modes of human behavior: presented are not only such rites of passage as birth, adolescence, courtship, marriage, old age and death, but also feelings and typical experiences in people's lives. Emotions such as love, hate, joy, sorrow, happiness and sadness are found again and again, and often one and the same tale deals with such phenomena in contrasting pairs; that is success versus failure, wealth versus poverty, luck versus misfortune, kindness versus meanness, compassion versus indifference, or, simply put, good versus evil. Fairy tales present the world in black and white, but in the end this conflict is resolved, and happiness, joy and contentment become the optimistic expression of hope for a world as it should be. This trust in ultimate justice and the belief in the good of humanity have to be of significance to adults today if hope is to exist for mankind at all in an age that is anything but a fairy tale. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch talks so much about the utopian function of fairy tales in his monumental work, (), which appeared from 1954-59. For him, at least some fairy tales contain emancipatory potential for mankind, liberating people from oppression and leading to more just societies.4 Read and interpreted in this vein, fairy tales clearly contain elements of social history from a time far removed from the present. They often camouflage the trials of oppressed people against malevolent rulers, the ever present conflict between the haves and the have-nots, the desire for a fairer political system and social order, etc.5 The supposedly children's storiesconceal in part the frustrations of adults, who to this day long for a better and fairer world, where people can in fact finally live happily ever after.
Fairy Tale Essay Free Essays - StudyMode
The heart's blood does sometimes run cold when, as in the story "Mr. Fox," dark deeds and evil doers may alarm and even shock the reader. No advocate of fairy tales as a rich and essential part of children's literature denies the need for a reasonable and wise selection among the large and often unwieldy mass of folk material. But such selections have been made and are readily available—selections which keep in mind the wide variety in taste and temperament between individual children.
The child who listens, or reads, has had the pleasure of suspense which heightens the satisfaction of an appropriate conclusion. He has had as well, though he may not know it, the aesthetic pleasure which pattern and form and proportion give, and the moral pleasure of seeing good overcome evil. He has heard simple words used with beauty and skill. These qualities make "Mr. Fox" more than a mere tale of brutal incident. This enlargement of life, characteristic of the fairy tale, is necessary to children, native to them, part of their apprehension of all experience. It is not an attitude created by fairy tales, but rather fairy tales set forth, in terms of art, those ideas and imaginings which already occupy the child's mind.
A Modern Teenage Fairy Tale | Teen Opinion Essay | Teen Ink
In discussing fairy tales and children in Holocaust literature, Lawrence Langer has noted "the nostalgia of the modern imagination," which only reluctantly acknowledges the reality "that fairy tales may deny but the history of the Holocaust confirms" ( 164-66). Employed by children, the psychological strategies discussed here are no more and no less than that—apparently reflexive survival strategies with which children attempt to order their new reality. In the visual and written memory work of adults discussed here, the fairy tale functions as a device to represent and interpret the landscapes of a violent childhood.15 In both cases, we see the liberating potential of the imagination at work, based on the fairy tale's utopian appeal. Whether, in these extreme circumstances, the genre's appeal and the imaginative work it generates amount to denial depends ultimately on the value we give to hope.
There is, of course, ambiguity and irony in Denes's conclusion, for her final image recalls her memoir's opening passage, where she confesses that she "believed the substance of these stories less and less. And then less yet"—a reminder of the traumatized child's lost innocence. Although Havana "looked like a fairy-tale city" and although Morro Castle evokes the fairy-tale landscape, the child imagines the castle she sees "to be on fire," an image that conflates the landscape of the war she has left behind with the landscape of the new home before her. This undermining of the concluding utopian vision is consistent with Kali Tal's observation that "[t]rauma is a transforming experience, and those who are transformed can never entirely return to a state of innocence" (229). The geographical journey from war and persecution to the gleaming city of Havana is not necessarily a return to undisturbed normalcy, where cultural and personal myths are fully restored. As Lawrence Langer has observed, "The survivor does not travel a road from the normal to the bizarre back to the normal, but from the normal to the bizarre back to a normalcy so permeated by the bizarre encounter with atrocity that it can never be purified again. The two worlds haunt each other . . ." ( 88; qtd. in Tal 229). So Denes's final image of the new home is truly an uncanny utopian vision haunted by trauma. Even as the memoirist tries to restore the long-lost child, who now overlays her destination with the positive image of the fairy tale as an act of hope and restoration, and as an affirmation of the new home, that very image is haunted by the memory of "castles burning"—precluding a return to the state of innocence.
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