Children’s Literature(ENG232) Prof. Keith Walters
Commentary to Bettelheim’s chapter on “Cinderella”
Let me start off with saying that Bettelheim completely ruined my fantasy on fairy-tales. His contorted mind really made it hard to remember all the beautiful tales from childhood.Of course he is entitled to his own opinions and I won’t argue with that but I certainly don’t agree with a bunch of points he is trying to make.
“...if the child could only believe that it is the infirmities of his age which account for his lowly position, he would not have to suffer so wretchedly from sibling rivalry, because he could trust the future to right matters. When he thinks that his degradation is deserved, he feels his plight is utterly hopeless. Djuna Barnes’s perceptive statement about fairy tales-- that the child knows something about them which he cannot tell (such as that he likes the idea of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf being in bed together)-- could be extended by dividing fairy tales into two groups: one group the child responds only unconsciously to the inherent truth of the story and thus cannot tell about it; and another large number of tales where the child preconsciously or even consciously knows what the ‘truth’ of the story consists of and thus could tell about it,but does not want to let on that he knows.” (The Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim, chapter 29: Cinderella, pg. 239.)
I feel like Bettelheim is seriously either over exaggerating here or if that is the way he feels then I really have not met any child who feels he or she has to suffer so ‘wretchedly’. That is a harsh word. Of course, I see that Cinderella shows sibling rivalry and I am sure that children see that but lets also not forget that