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jforde's picture

fairy tales vs. experience

Bruno Bettelheim argues that the idea that"deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life..." holds true with young children because fairy tales reveal parts of reality that a child can understand. He is correct by saying that fairy tales are constructed in such a way that children can understand them. I don't believe that learning about life through fairy tales is more beneficial than through life experiences. He believes that children are not capable of understanding real life concepts. However, such neglect will also cause a child to live in a fantasy world and not realize that the world is more dangerous than he or she thinks it to be. If the child perceives fairy tales as a reflection of reality, then he or she will think that good and evil in the world are easily distinguishable when sometimes they are not.

I agree with him that fairy tales allow children to use their imagination. I also agree with him that this is an essential part of being a child. Often in his analysis he assumes that children are absorbing each small concept that a faity tale reveals and analyzing it into one's own lilfe. I think that children only like fairy tales as a story because they're enjoyable. Children do not try to apply fairy tales into their every day life unless it's for their imagination. I remember pretending that I was part of a fairy tale when I was younger just because they are a way of escaping reality. The magical element of fairy tales causes children to only see them as stories and not apply them to life.


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