Grimm Fairytales: Friend of Foe

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Taylor Duhe
Dr. James F. Smith

English 102-034

November 10, 2009

Fairytales: Friend or Foe?

For centuries, fairy tales have been used to entertain audiences of all ages, children in particular. They have been used as entertainment and learning tools in daycares and classrooms across the country for some time. But, there are some people who think that the same fairy tales, more specifically the famous Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, they grew up on are too gruesome for such a young audience. The Grimm brothers’ fairy tales have been known to contain some violent and very disturbing content within them, and were not intended for children at first. For these reasons, classrooms and parents should refrain from telling the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales to children because of the fact they contain content that is suitable for more mature audiences.

In Thomas O’Neill’s article “Guardians of the Fairy Tale: The Brothers Grimm”, he explains the early goals of the Grimm brothers’ work. “The early editions were not even aimed at children.”(O’Neill 2) This explains why the content of the original Grimms’ fairy tales seemed to fit a more mature audience. An example of the content that makes their tales unfit for children would be, “In the original “Snow White” the evil stepmother is forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she falls down dead.”(O’Neill 3)

Forcing someone to suffer like the evil stepmother in “Snow White” is cruel and unusual punishment, which the young developing minds in our society should not be exposed to. The way the evil stepmother was punished shows that torture and even death are suitable consequences for inappropriate actions. The type of punishment that the evil stepmother received is not what protective parents want their children to learn about. Instead a punishment with more lenient consequences could have been used, so that the fairy tale could be suitable for people of all ages.

Some of the Grimm brothers’...
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