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merry2e's picture

A New Perspective on Fairy Tales

Reflecting on my last forum post after reading Bettleheim’s, “The Uses of Enchantment,” made me once again think about the stories I read as a child. Fairy tales may be absurd, but I am coming to a new realization of the incredible meaning and use of them. Considering my childhood, and as we all are individuals and have different journeys, the only tale that I can recall, other than the ones learned about in school, i.e., the Disney’s tales, was the Wizard of Oz. As an adult, I still have quite an obsession with the classic and something of which I am seem to passing on to both of my daughters. I am now addicted to the musical Wicked and the character of Elphaba. As a child, every year at Halloween, I refused to dress up as anything but the wicked witch. I think even as a young child I understood the concept that the witch was just misunderstood and just wanted to be heard. After reading the article, my views of fairy tales are changing. I agree with Bettleheim when he talks about the importance of fairy tales…

 “Children no longer grow up within the security of an extended family or of a well-integrated community. Therefore, it is even more important than it was when fairy tales were invented that the child be provided with images of heroes who have to go out into the world by themselves and, although they are originally ignorant of the ultimate things, find themselves secure things, find themselves secure places by following the way that is right for them with deep inner confidence.” 

I feel that this is a very important aspect of stories for children. Not only would fairy tales that speak to the individual needs of the child, help enable them to prosper, it would allow them to know from a very young age that their place in the world is accepted, loved and that they have a voice. I feel it is our responsibility to provide an array of tales to our growing children, fostering healthy emotional development.

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