Fairy Tales Essay

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Fairy Tales Paper

Once upon a time, every adult was a young reader in awe of the child underdogs that came out on top in their bedtime fairy tales. No matter the circumstance, these child protagonists managed to outsmart their matched villain to save their life, and often the lives of their loved ones. Both the Grimm Brothers in “Hansel and Gretel” and the Briffault Brothers in “The Story of Grandmother” use villains to deceive the main child characters through lies to satisfy their own various desires. The threat of consumption by the antagonists drives the children to use different tactics to escape and overcome the unpleasant situations in order to survive.

The villain in each of these tales was deceitful and cunning, but their means and motivation behind their evil was not the same. In the story of “Hansel and Gretel” there are two villains to consider; first the stepmother, then the cannibalistic witch. Following the tale’s themes of famine, abandonment and cannibalism, the stepmother first convinces her husband to leave the children in the forest so the parents would no longer have to care for and share food with them in times of famine. She persuades her husband by saying, “‘Tomorrow at the break of day we’ll take the children out to the darkest part of the forest…Then we will go about our work and leave them alone. They’ll never find their way home, and we’ll be rid of them’” (Grimm, 184). Because the family was poor and living with few resources to split between the four of them, this was the stepmother’s solution. Not only is the stepmother portrayed as evil because it was her thought and action of abandoning the children; but she is also positioned as inherently evil because she is not Hansel and Gretel’s natural mother. With seemingly no maternal connection to the children it is easy for the stepmother to trick the children by directly lying to them. She states, “We’re going to go into the forest to chop wood. In the evening, when we’re...
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