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Original Fairy Tales > Fairy Tales- Good or Bad

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
I'm wondering what everyone thinks about whether fairy tales are good for children. There have been several articles lately about this issue, most recently because Tim Burton refused to send his son to a school because the head of school banned fairy tales. There was also a UK Guardian article last year. (The paper ran a wonderful series on fairy tales, including an essay by A.S. Byatt).

message 2: by Mawgojzeta (last edited Mar 08, 2010 10:07AM) (new)

Mawgojzeta | 240 comments I think fairy tales are very good for children. They often provide a way to teach children lessons in a manner they will not only remember, but also take to heart.

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (Aesop) teaches the consequences of lying to people.
"The Tortoise and the Hare" (Aesop) teaches the folly of rushing.
"The Months" (Basile) teaches the consequences of being a rude person verses a polite person.

Childhood has always been, and despite our best efforts, will always be, a dangerous time. Some fairy tales reflect that.

"Hansel & Gretel" (Grimm) not only addresses the issue of step-parents (who may be offended by their use in stories, but surviving both my step-father and my step-mother growing up, I have some understanding of why they are such a popular subject), but also of strangers who may seem nice.

"The Sick Lion" (Aesop) makes clear the importance of paying good attention to what is going on in a situation.

Some fairy tales teach children that they can succeed in life.

"The Boy who Drew Cats" (Hearn) would be one example.
"The Four Skillful Brothers" (Grimm) shows how study and working together brings success.

Some comment on society, giving children "food for thought".

"The Enchanted Snake" (Italian folklore) is said to be a comment on arranged marriage.
"The Shadow" (Andersen) makes clear that sometimes the bad guys will win over the good guys.

message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
I always liked Hansel and Gretel because it was one of the few tales where siblings work together. Considering that the step-mother was originally the mother, do you think that writers like Bruno Bettelheim and Sheldon Cashdan have a point when they say that such tales teach about getting rid of or controling traditional human flaws, like greed?

message 4: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 71 comments Chris wrote: "I always liked Hansel and Gretel because it was one of the few tales where siblings work together. Considering that the step-mother was originally the mother, do you think that writers like [autho..."

Oh I've no doubt, Chris that all those elements of oral cultures, like tales and songs, developed as our way of teaching about the world around us and our inner worlds, our human nature, if you will.

'And the moral of the story is....'

message 5: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) We live in a society that wants to give children the illusion that nothing bad can happen to them. It's a pretty recent development. The thing is, no matter how hard we try to protect children, it's always possible that bad things will happen. Just watch the news. Children do pick up on this and they have fears. Fairy tales are usually about children and young adults in scary, horrible situations. When the characters overcome their challenges, children learn that they too can overcome bad situations.

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Cheesy can be right.

message 7: by Elley (new)

Elley Murray (elleyotter) DRAT, I wrote a long ol' response and it didn't post for some reason! Here we go again...

I think that fairy tales are great for kids - and adults! - because they do teach valuable lessons. They also spark the imagination, and are often told with beautiful prose and illustrations.

True, many of the original tales are gruesome and don't end "happily-ever-after." Take, for example, The Little Mermaid, where every step on her human legs is like walking on knives, and in the end she DOESN'T get the Prince and live happily-ever-after but DIES.

More than just teaching pat "and the moral of this story is..." lessons, I feel that fairy tales reveal deeper underlying messages about concepts like compassion, faith and hope, perseverence..

message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Elley wrote: "DRAT, I wrote a long ol' response and it didn't post for some reason! Here we go again...

I think that fairy tales are great for kids - and adults! - because they do teach valuable lessons. They..."

Actually, what has really bugged me about the Little Mermaid when I re-read it as an adult, is the fact that she sleeps on the foot of the prince's bed, and there is a line that almost suggests hanky panky of some sort.

message 9: by Elley (new)

Elley Murray (elleyotter) REALLY? Hmm, I think it must be time to reread that. I remember the sleeping on the foot of the bed part, and I remember thinking that she was treated like a dog...

message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Arabian Nights might be banned.

From CBC

Arabian Nights sparks book row in Egypt
Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010 | 11:20 AM ET Comments14Recommend24.
CBC News
A battle over Arabian Nights has emerged in Egypt, with a group of lawyers calling for a ban of the centuries-old story collection and the country's writers blasting the campaign.

A group of Islamist attorneys who call themselves Lawyers without Borders have filed a complaint with Egypt's Prosecutor General over the book, also known as 1,001 Nights.

Calling for the withdrawal of a recently released edition of Arabian Nights and a ban on the classic title altogether, the group described its tales as lewd and said the tales encouraged "vice and sin."

"I was shocked at the offensive phrases it contains," Ayman Abdul Hakim, a member of the group, told TV station Al Arabiya.

The recently released Arabic-language edition, spearheaded by Egypt's state-run agency General Organisation for Cultural Palaces, was "a waste of public money," the group said.

The agency's chair defended the classic, saying that the new edition had been so popular that its first print run had sold out.

"Egyptians are avid readers and they will not be influenced by a bunch of people who take advantage of Islam in order to suppress freedom," COCP chair Ahmed Megahed told Al Arabiya.

Writers blast ban
Egyptian writers and intellectuals also condemned the complaint this week and called for the prosecutor general to dismiss it.

"Those who want to destroy our heritage are taking the same path as the Taliban when they destroyed Buddha's statutes," Mohammed Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Writers' Union, told Agence France-Presse.

If the complaint is not dismissed, Salmawy vowed to file a counter-complaint against the lawyers.

Believed to date from medieval times, Arabian Nights concerns a ruler who marries and promptly executes a succession of virgins after he discovers his first wife had been unfaithful.

His vizier's daughter, Scheherazade, decides to offer herself up as the king's next bride. On the night of their wedding, she begins to recount an enthralling tale, stopping just before the conclusion so her captivated new husband must postpone her execution.

Scheherazade continues in the same storytelling fashion for 1,001 nights, until the king finally decides to spare her life.

The fables and folk tales recounted by Scheherazade typically hail from the Middle East and South Asia, with Aladdin and Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves two of the better-known titles in Western editions.

Read more:

message 11: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 71 comments There's a noise Trinidadians make when we hear something ridiculous. It's written 'steups!!' and I wish I could share the audio with you.

Anyway, ridiculous! And this from the woman who called the book racist and misogynist.

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