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carterian's picture

i had some issues with

i had some issues with bettelheim's article. there are some points that i agree with him on, but i feel like his argument has some flaws in it. he points out that fairy tales are stories that children can digest in their mind. it is something that they can comprehend on many levels. i, however, find that fairy tales may on some level help a child learn more about themself, but can also hinder their development and view of the world. while the original fairy tales may not cut corners like their disney versions (in the sense that violence and brutality exists), but the endings match up. the world unfolds as ideally as possible. the girl gets with the boy and the bad guys arent a problem anymore. when i was a child, i certainly knew that i didnt have a fairy godmother, and that there wasnt any king with a palace down the road. but i still wanted to be like cinderella, i wanted to look like her, have her pretty ball gown, and above all, i wanted a prince to sweep me off my feet. even at the age of 5. so, is bettelheim arguing that this is healthy? that this is the way a child should begin their path of learning through life? because let me tell you, fairy tales just raised my expectations and made me sad later in life when the world didn't live up to them.

now, i do agree that we can't have children's stories with all the bad elements erased, but we also shouldnt just make it seem like the world ends as it should. or that the child has some sort of power to make it better. according to my mom, when my brother was a young kid, he saw on 60 minutes a segment about women being burned in china, my brother was 6 years old. he felt that he had the power to change it. he felt that if he went over to china, and just told the people who were burning the women to stop, then the world would be all right. that they would stop. some may look at this as being endearing and sweet of my brother. but part of me believes that some of the fairy tales he heard of and watched in movies as he grew up maybe had to do with that. he wanted to be the hero.

so, i guess, i would like some sort of children's story that just tells it like it is. but as i keep thinking about it, that probably wouldnt be good for any child. but then again...what is?


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