Fairytales: Fairy Tale and Existential Predicaments

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Fairy tales play different roles teaching children about morals, right v. wrong and with these teaching it impacts a child and helps them with their growth. In “Fairy Tales and the Existential Predicament” by Bruno Bettelheim he argues that fairy tales help teach children more than parents do, since parents want to shelter children and only show them the sunny side of things. Fairy tales help them understand the existential predicaments one can face in life and shows that one can overcome anything that is thrown at them. In “Aschenputtel” by the brothers Grimm there’s this young girl that is expose to existential predicaments and shows the journey on overcoming them and Bettelheim will agree that this fairy tale can help a child grow by the arguments he argues, the same could be said for “The Algonquin Cinderella” they teach the same values to help children understand more about the reality in life. The exposing of existential predicaments as well as the exposure of the characters self worth in fairytales and the characters journey in overcoming hardships according to Bettelheim, can help a child understand their unconscious mind, the fairytales qualities show in “Aschenputtel” and in “the Algonquian Cinderella” through their hard but growing experiences.

The exposure to existential predicaments are necessary for a child’s growth which are clearly seen in the predicament that Aschenputtel faces. Existential predicaments are problems that happen in real life that a child isn’t expose to but by watching or hearing fairytales they can help a child understand. Bettelheim mentions this when he states “The child needs most particularly to be given suggestions in symbolic form about how he may deal with these issues and grow safely into maturity”(216). In other words, the symbolism in fairytales plays an important role to help a child understand and In “Aschenputtel” to help her cope she doesn’t need materialistic things, she wants “The first twig, father, that strikes against your hat on the way home; that is what I should like you to bring me”(203) the twig symbolizes that all she needs is the little things to help her out and for that something beautiful comes out and that is why the twig flourishes and becomes a fine tree, since she has troubles and problems to help her cope she uses the connection she has with nature. The existential predicaments are expose to help a child understand problems in real life and the nature of how people can be. Exposing the good and evil, also helps children understand what is right and life and how they can identify with either of the characters.

Exposing children to the good and evil of life in human nature can help a child understand that they are two sides of people and in “The Algonquian Cinderella” we clearly see the good v. evil. Children don’t always see the bad in people because parents are sheltering them and teaching them they always have to be good, when in reality not everyone is good. Bettelheim argues that “In practically every fairy tale good and evil are given body in form of some figures and their actions, as good and evil are omnipresent in life and the propensities for both are present in every man”(216). What Bettelheim is trying to say, is that evil is presented in real life all the time in different ways but nonetheless it’s presented in every person. We see the evil presented in the sister in “the Algonquian Cinderella” when her actions toward the little sister are described “[...]but the wicked sister would burn her hands and feet with hot cinders”(214) she would scar her own blood sister torment her for no apparent reason and through all that Oochigeaskw not to say a word to the father shows clearly the evil sister from the good sister. The meaning of family means you have someone who always looks out for you, whenever you need someone they will always be there, that’s what we first think about when we hear family; security, love, happiness, and always having...
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