Evolution of Fairy Tales and Their Changing Influences on Children

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  • Topic: Fairy tale, Brothers Grimm, Folklore
  • Pages : 15 (5710 words )
  • Download(s) : 873
  • Published : August 16, 2012
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‘Seas of story’ is how Marina Warner refers to the world of fairy tales. The fairy tales world is a vast field of study which many scholars have tried to exhaust with minimum success. Scholars have spent a lifetime trying to understand the history of fairy tales only to realize they have only dipped their toes in the vast sea.

Fairy tales origin dates back to thousands of years ago. Fairy tales have fantasy creatures like fey, goblins, talking animals, trolls, elves, faeries, witches and giants. As the word fairy means in Latin, enchantments and events that are usually farfetched comprise the story. They are not always realistic and are mostly unrealistic. The art of storytelling began long ago and has been passed on since then. As one generation disappears another one appear and retells the fairy tales once told to the previous generations not exactly like they were but versions which have been changed a bit. Fairy tales since their origin have been passed to different generations. In the western civilizations they are almost a rite of passage that every kid/children has to pass. Whether it was during the ancient times where the stories had to be narrated or the modern times where the fairy tales are in Disney versions, not forgetting the Grimm Brothers (Grimm, 1963).

In the eighteenth century investigators argued that the fairy tales were derived from India and distributed to Europe. Others claim the source was Babylonia but Greek scholars ruled those arguments out arguing that there was no way all the fairy tales would have come from a single place. Speculation never ended there but with time and the efforts coincided with interests in Aryan culture that was studied at those times. Arguments arise from the fact that many tales appear from areas far beyond Europe. Cinderella seems to have originated from India and China. Scholars tried to decode the original language of Cinderella discovering some latin and greek origin. Thus nobody can rule out that many of the stories we are experiencing today originated way before the Babylonian times.

Ludwig Lainster developed a theory that explained that fairy tales are derived from dreams and claimed that human beings have elementary thoughts stored in archetypal images which come out in dreams developing into fairy tales. This theory helps explain two dimensional ideals that everybody works so hard and strives to achieve. Thus all women would strive to be docile and men saving the day without any presence of personality in them. Another scholar Marie Franz supports this theory by saying one cannot study plants without studying the soil where soil is used a symbolic motif. Human beings are the soil. Dreams tell us what we desire and what our goals are and that our minds influence the tales symbolic motifs.

In the modern society, everything has to have its purpose. However simple something might look there are people in the society who spend sleepless nights in finding out what the effects are and how they affect the society. Therefore, the question arises whether the stories told are merely for entertainment or something else.

In every fairy tale there are morals learnt that the children should embrace as part of growing up and been responsible people in the society. The morals of each fairy tale vary depending on the story. Some teach the children about responsibility, honor, greed and being kind to other people and animals. However detailed and diverse the stories can be they cannot simply be able to exhaust all the morals. They also have lasting effect on the children psyche which goes beyond the lessons simply learned.

This paper focuses on the evolution of fairy tales, influence of the fairy tales to children and the gender stereotypes expressed in the stories. Fairy tales evolution is rich and huge. It runs from periods of oral transmission literally...
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